MatchDay Preview: Timbers, Union bring swagger to FOX Soccer
Two of the more impressive teams in recent weeks meet when the Portland Timbers play host to Philadelphia Union on the inaugural FOX Soccer “Soccer Night in America" (7:30pm PT - Fox Soccer, 95.5 The Game, La Pantera 940 (ESP), MLS MatchDay Free Online) The Timbers are still unbeaten in league play in their JELD-WEN Field home after a 1-0 win against Real Salt Lake last weekend. Union won a fourth game by a 1-0 scoreline last weekend, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes at home.
The Portland Timbers returned home and once again came away winners, defeating Real Salt Lake 1-0 on Saturday evening at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers have 10 points from 7 games, opening the week in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Western Conference. LAST MATCH
- The game's lone goal came in the 22nd minute. Freed down the left, Kalif Alhassan crossed a ball to the front of the RSL net and from a crowd Kenny Cooper knocked a short volley with his right foot past Real 'keeper Nick Rimando.
- Timbers coach John Spencer made two changes to the team that lost 3-0 to the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Darlington Nagbe and Diego Chara came into the lineup, in place of James Marcelin and Steve Purdy.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Jeremy Hall, Eric Brunner, Mamadou Danso, Rodney Wallace - Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo 82), Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Kalif Alhassan - Kenny Cooper (Ryan Pore 92+), Jorge Perlaza (James Marcelin 74).
- The RSL victory was the a third in three games at home for the Timbers. They are the only team with nine points from three games at home in MLS; RSL is the only other team not to have dropped points at home this season.
- "Other teams are going to come (to JELD-WEN Field) and know that (we) are going to fight for 90 minutes,"Portland defender Mamadou Danso said to The Oregonian.
- Perhaps more important to the club, the Timbers were able to keep a clean sheet for the first time in MLS.
- “I felt we showed a lot of character after last week, with the (three) goals that we conceded [at LA], to not concede this week and be mentally strong and mentally tough,” Timbers coach John Spencer said.
- Troy Perkins was making his second start in goal after missing the first five matches of the season recovering from injury.
- “[RSL] whipped in some good balls from the sides and obviously have guys on the end of them that were flying by,” Perkins said. “But I give credit to the guys in front of me. They dealt with it and made it easy for me.”
- Darlington Nagbe, the second overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, made his first MLS start, in a wide midfield role opposite Kalif Alhassan. Alhassan recorded his team-leading fourth assist, all coming in the last four games.“Both guys on the outside are very dynamic, very quick, great 1-v-1 players and that’s something we’re looking to do. Those guys are very dangerous on the attack,” said Spencer.
- Jeremy Hall moved from a wide midfield role to a fullback spot with the addition of Nagbe to the lineup.
- "Pretty much all we did this week was work on our defensive shape after having that (3-0 loss) in Los Angeles," Danso said. "It's kind of like we just have to take it out of our minds and keep working."
- However, the JELD-WEN Field run came on to an end on Tuesday, when the Timbers lost 1-0 in extra time to the San Jose Earthquakes in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match. The game’s lone goal was scored by Ike Opara in the 120th minute, heading home a Sam Cronin cross. · Here’s the Timbers team:Troy Perkins, Freddie Braun, Kevin Goldthwaite (Mamadou Danso 98), David Horst, Steve Purdy, Sal Zizzo (Darlington Nagbe 111), James Marcelin, Adam Moffat, Rodrigo Lopez (Jeremy Hall 110), Ryan Pore, Spencer Thompson
Philadelphia Union returned to action after a weekend off and once again came away 1-0 winners, this time defeating the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Union have 13 points from 6 matches on the year, starting the week in second place in the Eastern Conference.
- Union went a man down just before halftime when defender Jordan Harvey shown a straight red card by referee Mark Geiger after a clash with a sliding Chris Leitch.
- But the home side scored the game's lone goal from the penalty spot in the 76th minute. Union midfielder Amobi Okugo dribbled into the box and attempted a cross that appeared to hit San Jose defender Jason Hernandez in the hand, and after Geiger pointed to the spot, Sebastien Le Toux converted.
- Union manager Peter Nowak made two changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC at PPL Park. Roger Torres and Danny Mwanga came into the side, for Stefani Miglioranzi and Kyle Nakazawa.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-1-2-3): Faryd Mondragon - Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey (sent off 41) - Amobi Okugo - Roger Torres (Michael Farfan 46), Keon Daniel - Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga (Stefani Miglioranzi 46), Carlos Ruiz (Kyle Nakazawa 83)
- Union are tied for the most wins in MLS this season (4), while having scored the fewest goals (5). They won their fourth game of the season by a 1-0 scoreline in Saturday’s victory against San Jose. Their only loss this season also came in a 1-0 game.
- "I spoke to the guys at halftime," Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon said. "I said, 'Guys, this is a typical 1-nil win for warriors.' And we showed today we are warriors. We played as warriors. Today we showed everybody what we're made of and we have to continue like this."
- Mondragon leads MLS with four shutouts in six games, tied with William Hesmer of Columbus. In their inaugural season, Union had just two shutouts all year.
- “This win shows a lot about our character,” said midfielder Kyle Nakazawa. “We’ve come a long way from last year to this year as a team. I think all of our players believe in each other. We were a man down and kept fighting for each other out there. It was a great win and I think the confidence is strong when you can win a match like this down a man.”
- When Harvey was sent off just before halftime, rookie Michael Farfan came in at left back in a reshuffle following the break in his MLS debut.
- “Big praise goes to Michael Farfan,” Nowak said. “We wanted to make sure to keep our composure and have the chance to go forward with Michael’s speed. Basically we played three in the back because he was coming up and down.”
- With Harvey suspended, Farfan stands a good chance of starting at left back in the Portland match. A second- round pick out of the University of North Carolina, Farfan was a midfielder in college.
- “He did a fantastic job,” Danny Califf said. “He came in and played with a lot of confidence. He was strong in his tackles and he knew when to step up and when to stay back. I can’t say enough about the kid.”
- The goal from the penalty spot was the first of the season for Sebastien Le Toux, who led Union with 14 goals in 28 appearances last season and was selected to the MLS Best XI. He also has one assist this season.
- “This year, we’re taking advantage of our opportunities. I was really happy for the fans who have been behind us all year long. Down a man, it felt great to get this win and the three points,” Le Toux said.
REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. SAR (bench): Jason Cullum; JAR (opposite): Eric Proctor; 4th: Drew Fischer MLS Career: 29 games; FC/gm: 28.9; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 6; pens: 4
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); PROBABLE: GK Adin Brown (hamstring strain); DF David Horst (R ankle sprain); GK Jake Gleeson (L elbow sprain); MF Peter Lowry (R knee MCL strain) ... PHILADELPHIA UNION– OUT: GK Thorne Holder (concussion); PROBABLE: MF Gabriel Farfan (R toe dislocation); MF Stefani Miglioranzi (R groin strain); DF Danny Califf (illness); MF Keon Daniel (R foot contusion)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: PHI: Jordan Harvey (through May 7)
WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Rodney Wallace
ALL-TIME: First meeting. RETURN MATCH: 9/10: Philadelphia Union vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.
- Coaches record: Peter Nowak v POR: first game ... John Spencer vs. PHI: first game