MatchDay Preview: Timbers, Chivas meet with positioning at stake
The Portland Timbers and Chivas USA meet in a vital match for both clubs' playoff hopes on Wednesday evening at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers are coming off a 2-1 victory in the first match with fellow expansion side Vancouver Whitecaps FC, that has left them just three points from the final wild card spot. Chivas are just one point out of the top 10, after their come-from-behind 2-2 draw at Colorado.
The Portland Timbers ended their losing streak at two games, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-1 in the first meeting of the new teams, Saturday evening at JELD-WEN Field. The Timbers have 29 points from 25 games, sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference.
- The Timbers opened the scoring with the earliest goal in their MLS history. From a turnover in midfield, Jack Jewsbury played forward to Jorge Perlaza, who then slipped it to Diego Chara in the area. He then fired a shot into the top corner of the goal past a diving Joe Cannon.
- Portland then doubled their lead just after the half-hour. A Jewsbury free kick found defender Mamadou Danso in the area. His header deflected off a Vancouver defender -- but fell perfectly for Perlaza, who chipped home neatly from the spot.
- Whitecaps FC pulled a goal back in the 88th minute on a wonderful effort from Camilo. Receiving a pass from Jordan Harvey in the area, he cut back away from his marker and curled a sublime right-footed shot inside the far right post.
- Timbers coach John Spencer made three changes to the team that lost 3-1 to Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Lovel Palmer and Mamadou Danso came into the back four for Eric Brunner and Rodney Wallace, and Kalif Alhassan started in midfield for Darlington Nagbe.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Lovel Palmer, David Horst, Mamadou Danso (Eric Brunner 76), Mike Chabala - Sal Zizzo, Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Kalif Alhassan - Jorge Perlaza (Bright Dike 69), Kenny Cooper (James Marcelin 83).
The victory came in the first game back from a three-game road swing where Portland twice once and lost twice. The Timbers are three points behind the final wild card spot with nine games still to play.
"Two losses is two losses and it does take a dent out of the guys confidence-wise," said Timbers head coach John Spencer. "We all want to make the playoffs. It's not just the fans, it's not just the owner, the players really have the desire, the coaching staff has the desire to make the playoffs."
Diego Chara's goal was the first in MLS for the Timbers' designated player. "I thought Diego Chara was fantastic. He looked, no disrespect, like a man amongst boys tonight. In my humble opinion, he looked like a Premier League player tonight," said Spencer.
Jack Jewsbury extended his streak to three games with either a goal or an assist—all since returning to the lineup after missing two games with a hamstring injury—in the Timbers' 2-1 win against Vancouver.
After 12 consecutive matches in the first XI, Darlington Nagbe did not figure at all in the Vancouver match.
"I just felt that Darlington was getting a little heavy legged. We just felt that after the two games it was time to bring Kalif (Alhassan) back in," Spencer said. "Young players struggle to find consistency. There's not many young players around the world that come in in their first year and play every single game. We just felt that it was time to freshen up the group a little bit."
Mamadou Danso returned to the starting lineup after a five-game absence (playing just one minute in that time), but his return was cut short when he suffered a hamstring injury.
- "I thought Futty (Danso) did well until he got his injury and then Eric Brunner comes in and performs well," Spencer said. "I'm very proud of the group. It was a great team effort."
Chivas USA extended their unbeaten streak to three games on their road swing, twice coming back before settling for a 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Chivas USA have 31 points from 25 games on the season, in sixth place in the Western Conference.
- The home side took the lead after 13 minutes. Kosuke Kimura sent a precise pass down the right touchline for Pablo Mastroeni, and his cross met Caleb Folan at the far post for a powerful header to the back of the net.
- But in the 36th minute, Juan Pablo Angel opened his Chivas USA account in style. Running onto a perfectly flicked through ball from Nick LaBrocca, Angel poked it low past Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens from outside the box for the leveler.
- Colorado again nosed in front in the 69th minute, when Jeff Larentowicz directed a Sanna Nyassi corner kick home with a downward header.
- But Chivas again found the equalizer, this time four minutes from the end, as substitute Laurent Courtois finished off a flowing move from their own end by running onto a through ball from a defense-opening run by Michael Lahoud and slipping it past Pickens from center of the area.
- Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made one change to the team that played to a scoreless draw with Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Juan Pablo Angel made his Chivas debut, coming in for Marcos Mondaini.
- CHIVAS USA (4-3-1-2): Dan Kennedy - Zarek Valentin (Michael Lahoud 16), Michael Umana, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic - Blair Gavin (Laurent Courtois 60), Simon Elliott, Jorge Flores (Marcos Mondaini 75) - Nick LaBrocca - Juan Pablo Angel, Alejandro Moreno.
The game completes a month-long five-game road swing for Chivas USA. They have a win, a loss and two draws thus far after coming back for the 2-2 tie with Colorado.
"I thought in the second half we came out and our energy and our attention to detail was a little bit better, and as a result we were able to turn the game a bit more in our favor," said Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser. "Obviously giving up a set-piece goal is disappointing, but I thought the team showed great character by coming back and creating a couple chances late and obviously getting one and tying the game."
Beginning with the RSL game, six of Chivas USA's final eight games are at The Home Depot Center—including a "road" game with the LA Galaxy.
"It's the amount of points that we wanted—considering the time of the year, it's all about results," said midfielder Michael Lahoud. "But we'll take this draw. Coming back twice to grind out a result in a very tough place to play against a team that's been on a hot streak. You have to take what you can get here."
In his first game after trading sides of The Home Depot Center, Juan Pablo Ángel scored his first goal for Chivas USA, against Colorado.
"I was excited." Ángel said. "It was a great feeling, a great play from a great pass and a great moment for me. I know what I can do and my challenge is to help this team in the last stretch of the season, and I'll try to play well for them."
Ángel became the ninth player to play for both Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy while both teams have been in the league.
"He added quite a bit to us," Fraser said. "It took us a while to get in sync, but as the team got better, we were able to find him with the ball quite a bit and he was very instrumental in helping us build out of the back and get into a bit more of a rhythm. Certainly, his alertness on the goal and the quality of his finish was excellent. I thought, overall, it was a great debut for him.
Also scoring his first goal for the club was recent signing Laurent Courtois, coming in his third appearance for the team, all as a substitute.
"I think no matter what team you go to if you're a new player, I think it's always good to get that pressure, whether it's pressure on yourself or pressure from outside, to kind of take it off your shoulders by getting a goal or getting an assist," said Lahoud, who set up the goal. It was a great finish by him tonight to get us the result."
Chivas USA are one point out of the final wild card spot, currently held by New York, but with a game in hand. "They know what they have to do to get into the playoffs," said Fraser. "As we get sharper and sharper, the belief gets higher and higher. We were more resilient. At the end of it, we're content with a point, but we know we can play better."
REFEREE: Edvin Jurisevic. SAR (bench): Colin Arblaster; JAR (opposite): Mike Kampmeinert; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 36 games; FC/gm: 21.9; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 4; pens: 5
Sports Medicine Oregon INJURY REPORT: PORTLAND TIMBERS -- OUT: DF Kevin Goldthwaite (L knee ACL rupture); DF Mamadou Futty Danso (R hamstring strain); FW Eddie Johnson (concussion); FW Spencer Thompson (R knee); FW Brian Umony (R knee sprain); PROBABLE: FW Bright Dike (L quad strain); DF David Horst (R hip strain); MF Jack Jewsbury (hamstring strain); GK Troy Perkins (R hip soreness); DF Rodney Wallace (hamstring strain) ... CHIVAS USA -- OUT: FW Justin Braun (abdominal strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Rodney Wallace ... CHV: Nick LaBrocca, Zarek Valentin
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Mike Chabala, James Marcelin ... CHV: Justin Braun, Simon Elliott, Michael Lahoud, Ben Zemanski
- ALL-TIME (1 meeting): Chivas USA 1 win, 1 goal ... Timbers 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
- A Marcos Mondaini goal in the 70th minute gave Chivas USA a 1-0 victory in the first meeting between the clubs, June 4 at The Home Depot Center.
- Coaches record: Robin Fraser v POR: P1 W1 L0 D0 ... John Spencer vs. CHV: P1 W0 L1 D0
6/4: CHV 1, POR 0 (Mondaini 70)
- The game's lone goal came in the 70th minute. Chivas USA's Paulo Nagamura streaked down the right touchline and played the ball across the goalmouth to a waiting Marcos Mondaini, who tapped it past Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins at the far post.
- Dan Kennedy made four saves in goal for Chivas USA in keeping the clean sheet.
- CHIVAS USA (4-1-3-2): Dan Kennedy - Michael Lahoud, Michael Umana, Heath Pearce, Zarek Valentin - Paulo Nagamura (Simon Elliott 82) - Ben Zemanski, Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Flores - Justin Braun (Chris Cortez 68), Marcos Mondaini (Blair Gavin 87).
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-3-2): Troy Perkins - Jeremy Hall, David Horst, Mamadou Danso, Rodney Wallace - Diego Chara - Sal Zizzo (James Marcelin 80), Jack Jewsbury, Kalif Alhassan (Darlington Nagbe 71) - Kenny Cooper (Eddie Johnson 75), Jorge Perlaza.