Matchday Preview: Portland Timbers vs. Montreal Impact
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs MONTRÉAL IMPACT
JELD-WEN FIELD, Portland, Ore.
March 9, 2013 (WEEK 2, MLS Game #15)
7:30 p.m. PT (KPTV-FOX/Estrella; TVA)
Two teams which gave new head coaches buoying results in their season openers meet as the Portland Timbers entertain the Montréal Impact on Saturday evening at JELD-WEN Field. The Timbers came back from two goals down in their opening match to secure a 3-3 home draw with New York in Caleb Porter’s professional coaching debut. The Impact kicked off their Pacific Northwest swing with a 1-0 win in Seattle, the MLS victory for Marco Schallibaum.
The Portland Timbers once again came roaring back for a great result to open a season, getting a pair of second-half goals to secure a 3-3 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon at JELD-WEN Field.
The Timbers gave away an early lead after just nine minutes when Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was unable to control an ill-advised back pass and Fabian Espíndola was right there to pot the easy open-net goal.
But Portland responded quickly. Diego Valeri took a pass from Kalif Alhassan in the area, cleverly volleyed past Olave and slotted a perfectly placed right-footed shot past New York goalkeeper Luis Robles inside the right post in the 14th minute.
The Red Bulls opened up a two-goal lead within a five-minute span. Espíndola finished off a long pass from fullback Kosuke Kimura in the right side of the area in the 24th minute, then Jamison Olave snuck in at the back post to finish off a Heath Pearce pass across the face of goal from a corner kick.
The Timbers pulled a goal in the 56th minute. Valeri hit a screaming blast that forced Robles into a diving save which he could not hold, and Darlington Nagbe swooped in clean it up into the open net. Then the equalizer came in the 83rd minute when Jose Valencia's attempted crossing pass from the right bounced off Olave into the goal.
Diego Valeri was given the job to pull the strings in the Timbers midfield by Caleb Porter, with European veteran Mikael Silvestre making his MLS debut in central defense. New signings Will Johnson and Ryan Johnson were also installed in the first XI.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-1-3): Donovan Ricketts - Ryan Miller (Sal Zizzo 72), Mikael Silvestre, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Michael Harrington - Will Johnson, Diego Chara (Rodney Wallace 82) - Diego Valeri - Kalif Alhassan (Jose Valencia 72), Ryan Johnson, Darlington Nagbe.
WATCH: Timbers rally to tie Red Bulls in season opener
The Timbers ended the match with a 21-9 advantage in attempts at goal, 13 of those coming in the second half as they overcame the 2-goal deficit.
The first thing I told them is you can’t do anything about the mistakes,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. “But we needed to put it behind us and focus on what we’re going to do to pull the goals back and get a result and mentally they did that. It doesn’t happen very often down two goals to come back, but this group continues to show they have the mental toughness.”
“To outshoot them 21 to nine is pretty remarkable,” Ryan Johnson said. “I know we want to keep building on this draw, to go down twice and come back twice is a big thing.”
Darlington Nagbe started on the left side of the Timbers front three and netted his first goal of the season, for his former college coach at University of Akron.
“Sometimes with Darlington you have to give him a kick in the ass, in a positive way, you know, pump him up,” said Porter. “… Part of it is just telling Darlington, instead of a midfielder, he needed to play more like a striker and get at their right back and go after (right back Kosuke Kimura). We knew that was perhaps a matchup we could win. The light bulb went on. And he was a handful in that second half. I felt he was a big part of us turning the game around.”
“He’s been telling me the same thing since I was 17,” Nagbe said of Porter. “He’s a great coach, a great guy and he knows how to motivate every single player, which is what I think is great about him.”
The club’s new Designated Player, Diego Valeri, opened his MLS account in style with a 14th-minute goal.
- “He was tremendous. He is worth every penny. He’s gifted. He’s capable of pulling a rabbit out of the hat at any given moment. He’s very clever in tight spaces and he can unlock teams. He’s going to be a handful this year as well,” said Porter. Said Ryan Johnson: “He’s a pleasure to play with. All I have to do is time my runs and make sure I’m onside and he’s going to find me.”
The Montréal Impact opened their second MLS campaign with a terrific result, getting the game’s only goal for a 1-0 victory against Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field.
The only goal came after 35 minutes. Felipe chipped the ball over a pair of defenders for Davy Arnaud to run onto, and from just outside the area he floated a half-volley over Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning after he wandered a bit too far off his line.
New signing Andrea Pisanu was given the start wide on the right by Marco Schällibaum – making his own MLS debut – the only newcomer to the club to be featured in the first XI.
- MONTREAL IMPACT (4-1-4-1): Troy Perkins - Hassoun Camara (Dennis Iapichino 84), Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Jeb Brovsky - Patrice Bernier - Andrea Pisanu (Calum Mallace 69), Felipe Martins, Davy Arnaud, Justin Mapp (Sanna Nyassi 46) - Marco Di Vaio.
WATCH: Impact shock Sounders in season opener
A year ago, the Impact won just two games on their travels in their inaugural MLS season, taking just nine points total from their 17 away matches.
“You saw tonight what Troy (Perkins) brought in the goal and Alessandro (Nesta) was like a wall. They bring a lot of experience. It's nice to have no goals allowed,” said Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum.
“We’ve got a lot of guys with experience, we have a full season under our belt and our new coach insists a lot on staying mentally focused, staying strong,” midfielder Patrice Bernier said. “And the four guys we have at the back show those characteristics that allow you to play well defensively. Today, we showed that we’ve grown. That we’ve learned our lessons.”
With Marco Di Vaio lined out as the spearhead in attack, Felipe and Davy Arnaud provided the midfield thrust from the center of the park – and combined on the first Montréal goal of the season.
“I wanted the midfield to go deep and there was the perfect timing of Felipe and Davy to score the goal,” said Schällibaum.
“Scoring goals on the road is tough, and especially against them. They score a lot of goals here at home, but I think this year in preseason we've been really solid defensively,” said Arnaud. “If we can continue to score one goal and get points on the road, we're going to be OK.”
Bernier was installed into a deeper-lying role in the center of midfield, behind Felipe and Arnaud.
“It’s a position I’ve played before, and it’s not that I can’t play well there, but I know that there are other things I can bring to the table,” Bernier said. “But the coach is showing me that he’s fully confident that I can start plays there, and it went well.” Said Schällibaum: “It is important for us to have a player like him, who recovers the ball well and doesn't lose it much.”
Justin Mapp was given the start wide on the left of midfield, before giving way to Sanna Nyassi at the halftime interval.
“I don’t think that, at any point, we panicked,” Arnaud said. “We held a good shape, had our moments where we kept the ball and we created some good chances. They were pressing the game at times, but the way we handled it was very good.”
REFEREE: Edvin Jurisevic. SAR (bench): Anthony Vasoli; JAR (opposite): Eric Boria; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 53 games; FC/gm: 22.4; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 4; pens: 7
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (1 meeting): Impact 1 win, 2 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
AT PORTLAND: First meeting.
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/28: MTL 2, POR 0 (Corradi 76; Ubiparipovic 84)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- The teams met for the first time in MLS last April at Stade Olympique in Montréal.
- But the teams met 15 times in the North American second division, between 2001 and 2010, with Portland winning eight and Montreal four (with three draws).
- Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. MTL: first game… Marco Schallibaum vs. POR: first game