MatchDay Preview: Portland prepares for a Real Salt Lake team still adjusting to their tough CCL loss
After finishing their CONCACAF Champions League odyssey at midweek, Real Salt Lake return to MLS league play when they take on the Portland Timbers for the first time (Apr. 30, 7:30 p.m. PT, ROOT SPORTS / 95.5 The Game, La Pantera 940 AM (ESP) and MLS MatchDay Live). It’s the first league game for RSL in nearly three weeks; with four wins in four games, they are the only MLS team left with a perfect record. The Timbers have won twice in two outings in their Portland home, but are coming off a 3-0 loss at the LA Galaxy last weekend.
The Portland Timbers went back out on the road and saw their two-game winning streak come to an end, falling 3-0 to the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Timbers have 7 points from 6 games, now in a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference.
PORTLAND TIMBERS - LAST MATCH
- Just four minutes into the match against the Galaxy, Chad Barrett had put LA ahead. Landon Donovan found Barrett near the top of the penalty area, and he controlled the ball with his shoulder, knocked it down in front of him and ripped a shot from just outside the area past Timbers GK Troy Perkins.
- Four minutes later, LA doubled their lead. Portland’s Rodney Wallace grabbed Donovan inside the area and the Galaxy were awarded a penalty kick. Donovan easily converted, notching his first goal of the season.
- The Galaxy finished off the match in the 67th minute. Juan Pablo Ángel skirted past a Timbers defender, raced towards the end line and pulled back a ball to the center of the box where Donovan hammered a header into the back of the net for his second on the night.
- Timbers head coach John Spencer made one change to the team that held on for a 3-2 win against FC Dallas at JELD-WEN Field. Troy Perkins made his first start of 2011, coming in between the posts for Jake Gleeson.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-3-2): Troy Perkins - Steve Purdy, Eric Brunner, Mamadou Danso, Rodney Wallace - James Marcelin (Diego Chara 46) - Jeremy Hall (Darlington Nagbe 59), Jack Jewsbury, Kalif Alhassan (Sal Zizzo 73) - Jorge Perlaza, Kenny Cooper.
PORTLAND TIMBERS - TEAM NEWS
- The Timbers have allowed 13 goals – the most in MLS this season, one more than four other teams. Seven goals have come in the opening half-hour of the contest – including a league-high four in the first 15 minutes.
- “I know that we’re starting to get a reputation as a team that’s soft and concedes goals,” John Spencer. “And that’s something that’s a bitter pill to swallow for me because I’ve never been known as that type of player, or never been involved with teams that were known as soft teams that get rolled over and concede very easily.
- After missing the first five matches of the 2011 season due to a right knee injury, goalkeeper Troy Perkins made his Portland Timbers debut – in what was his 100th career MLS appearance. Perkins had played with D.C. United from 2004-07 and 2010.
- The Timbers allowed a season-high three goals in the loss to LA. They have allowed two or more goals in five of their six matches in their inaugural MLS season.
- “We probably lost the game in the first 10 minutes, going 2-0 down," Spencer said. "I was disappointed that we conceded two goals in quick succession, it’s something that we are going to have to address, obviously. When you go down a goal, you can’t break down mentally. For the next five, 10 minutes, keep it tight. We’ve done it too many times now.”
- Portland’s first Designated Player, midfielder Diego Chará, made his MLS debut on Saturday, coming on as a second-half substitute for James Marcelin.
- “I thought I played well. Despite the result I am very happy because this was my first game,” Chará said. “I still have to get accustomed to the team and the playing style and my teammates have to get accustomed to me as well.”
- The match against Real Salt Lake is again the first of back-to-back matches in Portland for the Timbers, after recording wins in the first two.
- “You can get a little bit too high on your horse and think what a fantastic team you have and forget why you’re winning games," Spencer said. "We are winning games at home because we compete from the first whistle. We’ve done extremely well, but [against LA] we got beat by a better team.”
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake return to league action for the first time since April 13, their last MLS match coming in a dramatic win against the Colorado Rapids, 1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL are second in the Western Conference with 12 points from 4 matches.
REAL SALT LAKE - LAST MATCH
- Once again, late dramatics settled a Rocky Mountain Cup match against the Colorado Rapids on April 13. Three minutes into stoppage time, RSL's Javier Morales lined up a free kick from 25 yards out. His attempt at goal hit the right post and rebounded to teammate Paulo Jr. The Brazilian was able only to push it forward, but Fabian Espindola swung out his leg to drive the ball into the back of the net for the game winner.
It was yet another Rocky Mountain Cup match decided in the last minute –
and not Colorado’s way. Last year, Álvaro Saborío scored twice in
stoppage time for a 2-2 draw; Yura Movsisyan scored a 90th-minute goal
in 2008, and a late Robbie Findley goal led to an RSL win in 2007.
"It's remarkable, absolutely remarkable how many times games are being
decided against Colorado in the last minute of the matches," Kreis said.
“It’s really important that we continue our confidence, defensively. I
don’t remember Colorado having something that was really, really dangerous tonight against us. So I think we have to feel … good about
what went into things on that side of the ball.”
RSL's league unbeaten streak still sits at 18 games, one shy of the
league record, set first by Columbus (2004-05) and matched last season
by FC Dallas.
- RSL manager Jason Kreis returned to his first-choice lineup, keeping just two players – fullback Tony Beltran and midfielder Ned Grabavoy – from the group that started in the 2-0 victory against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy - Javier Morales - Fabian Espindola, Álvaro Saborío (Paulo Jr. 69).
REAL SALT LAKE - TEAM NEWS
- On Wednesday, Real Salt Lake saw their dreams of a berth in the FIFA Club World Cup dashed with a 1-0 loss to Mexico’s CF Monterrey in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Final, losing 3-2 on aggregate.
- Monterrey's Humberto Suazo scored from close range in first-half stoppage time from a neat feed by Sergio Santana for the game’s lone goal. Real had twice come back, through goals by Nat Borchers and Javier Morales, to forge a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Monterry the week before.
- "It wasn't quite our best night in the attacking third and in and around the penalty box. We needed someone to make a special play and it just didn't come off for us," said Kreis.
- RSL were missing captain Kyle Beckerman for the second leg, after he received a second yellow card during the knockout phase in the match in Monterrey, and was suspended. In his stead, Ned Grabavoy filled the holding midfield spot.
- “Kyle’s an extremely important player, not only in how many defensive plays he makes for us, but how active he is in our possession,” Kreis said. “And I felt like we were missing that little bit of energy, probably, when we had the ball. Again, just in those minutes.”
- Here’s the RSL team: Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell (Tony Beltran 46), Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Andy Williams (Arturo Alvarez 64), Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Álvaro Saborío, Fabian Espindola (Paulo Araujo Jr. 85).
- Right back Robbie Russell was forced off at halftime of the CCL second leg because of a hamstring injury, Kreis said. His prognosis was unknown. Defender Tony Beltran replaced him for the second half.
- The loss was the first for RSL at Rio Tinto in 35 matches in all competitions. They had last lost in Sandy on May 16, 2009, a 2-0 league defeat to Kansas City.
- Real Salt Lake play for the first time in league competition since their 1-0 win at Colorado on April 13. Having allowed just one goal in four games on the season, RSL is the only team in MLS still remaining with a perfect record (4-0-0).
- “We haven’t played a league game in quite some time, so our focus hasn’t been there," Salt Lake defender Nat Borchers said. "We said from the outset before this competition even started [CONCACAF Champions League] that this is a priority."
- "From my point of view, we'll see what kind of group we are now. It's a really easy task to talk about how good everyone is and how happy we are and all those sorts of things when things are going our way. Now to have this major disappointment, we'll see how we respond," said Kreis.
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Claudio Badea; 4th: Drew Fischer
Jair Marrufo's MLS Career: 111 games; FC/gm: 25.2; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 28; pens: 40
SPORTS MEDICINE OREGON INJURY REPORT: PORTLAND TIMBERS - OUT: FW Bright Dike (R Achilles rupture); FW Eddie Johnson (R Achilles tendinitis); FW Brian Umony (R knee MCL sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Peter Lowry (R knee MCL strain); MF Ryan Pore (R groin strain); PROBABLE: GK Adin Brown (hamstring strain); DF David Horst (R ankle sprain) … REAL SALT LAKE – PROBABLE: FW Paulo Jr. (L hamstring strain); FW Álvaro Saborío (R foot contusion)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: Rodney Wallace (POR)
ALL-TIME: First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 10/22: Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers, 7 p.m. MT
COACHES RECORD: Jason Kreis v POR: first game … John Spencer vs. RSL: first game