Timbers prepare for Chivas USA and U.S. Open Cup

Spencer readies the team for Chivas USA

John Spencer Training - 3.28.11

Photo Credit: 
Portland Timbers

With this past Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Toronto FC now behind them, the Portland Timbers returned to training on Monday preparing for two games this week:  a U.S. Open play-in game against Chivas USA on Tuesday at Merlo Field on the campus of the University of Portland at 7 p.m. (Live webstream at www.portlandtimbers.com and on 95.5 The Game) and an MLS regular-season match on Saturday versus New England Revolution in Boston (FOX 12, estrellaTV 8.3 on TV; 95.5 The Game & La Pantera 940 AM on radio).

The feeling at practice was positive with head coach John Spencer generally pleased with his team’s effort against Toronto despite the end result.

“I think we out-competed [Toronto FC] on Saturday. We out-fought them. We out-ran them. There were just moments in the game where we just lacked a little bit of quality in the final third on the delivery and crosses into the box. There’s positives there,” said Spencer.

Those positives will be carried over into their game against Chivas USA and New England. With two games though, the focus is still about taking one game at a time.

“I think we look at every game as it comes—you know, that old cliché,” said Spencer.
 


TICKETS:  Timbers v. Chivas USA @ Merlo Field



While the Chivas USA game doesn’t count in the MLS standings, given Seattle Sounders FC’s success with winning the U.S. Open Cup the past two seasons—the first in their inaugural season—there is a definite importance in the approach to the game.

“Seattle approached it in the right manner year-in, year-out and that’s why they’ve won it twice,” he said.

Some teams may not approach it maybe as serious as [Seattle] has done but we’re going to out there to win the game, that’s for sure.”

With injuries having altered much of the lineup for the first two regular-season games, the starting XI for Tuesday’s match will pretty much mirror Saturday’s starting lineup with one key change: Jake Gleeson at goalkeeper.

“Jake’s going to start,” said Spencer unequivocally.

This kid has the ability to go play at the highest level. We have the utmost confidence in him.”

Gleeson made his MLS debut on Saturday becoming one of the youngest goalkeepers in MLS history. He was tested early and made a spectacular save though ended up conceding the team’s second goal on a world-class strike from the Reds’ Javier Martina. Despite this, he’s ready to take the reigns on Tuesday.

“It’s been a pretty surreal last two days and tomorrow’s going to be pretty surreal again so I’m just going to go out there and play the best that I can and just thrive in the moment,” said Gleeson.

Notes:

  • Midfielder Rodrigo Lopez played the early portion of his professional career with Chivas USA from 2005-07.
  • Midfielder Sal Zizzo played the second half of the 2010 season with Chivas USA and was acquired by the Timbers from the club in a February trade.
  • Three of Darlington Nagbe’s former college teammates play on Chivas USA – Blair Gavin, Ben Zemanski and Zarek Valentin.
  • Chivas USA GK Dan Kennedy was a draft pick of the Timbers’ second-division club back in 2005 out of UC Santa Barbara.
  • Chivas USA defender Heath Pearce returns to Merlo Field on Tuesday, where he played his collegiate career at UP.