MatchDay Preview: Timbers, Dynamo clash in Spencer's homecoming
A long-time coaching tandem will meet for the first time on opposite benches when the Houston Dynamo take on the Portland Timbers on Sunday evening at Robertson Stadium. Dominic Kinnear will guide the Dynamo, coming off a late 1-1 draw at Philadelphia Union last weekend, against his former assistant in John Spencer, who saw his Timbers reach a 1-1 result with the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday.
PDF: Pre-Game Match Notes
The Portland Timbers extended their undefeated streak to a modest three games, reaching a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Timbers have 26 points from 22 games, sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference.
- The Timbers opened the scoring on 23 minutes. Jorge Perlaza burst down the right flank and sent in a low cross, and Kenny Cooper slipped through the Earthquakes defense to touch the ball home at the top of the six-yard box.
- But the Quakes pulled even at the game's three-quarter mark. After coming on as a substitute, Alan Gordon cut inside Portland center back Eric Brunner to reach a long, looping cross from Steven Beitashour, sending a snap header inside the back post.
- Timbers coach John Spencer made one change to the team that defeanted the LA Galaxy 3-0 at JELD-WEN Field. Jeremy Hall came into the side for the suspended Diego Chara.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Jeremy Hall (sent off 91+), David Horst, Eric Brunner, Mike Chabala - Sal Zizzo, Lovel Palmer, James Marcelin, Darlington Nagbe (Kalif Alhassan 74) - Jorge Perlaza (Bright Dike 80), Kenny Cooper (Mamadou Danso 93+).
The three games without loss is the longest undefeated run for the Timbers since they won three and drew one from April 30-May 21.
"You're going to expect that the home team is going to come out dominating at some stage. I think the midweek game took a lot out of us," said Timbers boss John Spencer. "[In San Jose] I think we showed good resilience to stay in the game after the equalizer. After they got the goal they never really troubled us at all."
Back in the starting lineup for a second consecutive match after coming off the bench for five straight games, Portland's Kenny Cooper scored his first goal since April 30 in the 1-1 draw at San Jose.
"We want to make the playoffs. We had a great result. Again after the midweek game against a top team, we showed great desire and determination in that game," Cooper said. "But I thought we played well again and to get a point away from home."
The Timbers were missing captain Jack Jewsbury for a second consecutive match, and were also missing his midfield running mate, Diego Chara, to suspension.
"I think it's unfair to comment on guys that aren't here. They had a few guys missing, too. It obviously would have made them a better team and we feel the same," said Spencer. "At the moment, I think the guys that played tonight worked hard. It's the end of a tiring week for us."
After starting his first three games with the Timbers at right back, Lovel Palmer started the match against San Jose in the midfield, pairing with James Marcelin in the center of the park.
For Spencer, it will be his first game back in Houston, after serving as an assistant to head coach Dominic Kinnear for a number of years.
- "To be honest, I still feel very strange watching the team play on the field and on television and not being a part of it," Spencer said. "They're the first result I look for every weekend — it's going to be a hard thing for me coming [back]."
The Houston Dynamo came back for another road result, getting a late goal for a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at PPL Park. The Dynamo have 28 points from 23 games on the season, sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
- Union took the lead in the 19th minute. Jack McInerney finished off a beautiful give-and-go with Sebastien Le Toux, flicking the ball past Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall with his right foot from inside the area for the opener.
- Le Toux hit the post when in on goal alone in the 84th minute, a miss that would haunt the home side seconds later, when Geoff Cameron ripped a long-range drive that sailed past Philadelphia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon for the leveler.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that defeated Seattle Sounders FC 3-1 at Robertson Stadium. Cam Weaver started in attack in place of the injured Will Bruin.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Hunter Freeman (Jermaine Taylor 69), Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Colin Clark (Je-Vaughn Watson 62), Adam Moffat, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis - Brian Ching, Cam Weaver (Carlo Costly 61).
The game in Philadelphia started a string of six out of nine games the Dynamo will play away from Robertson Stadium. Houston is still one of three teams remaining in MLS without a victory away from home (also: Toronto FC and Vancouver).
"We've been struggling and hurting ourselves but I think we put a great game together last week (and put another good game together this week on the road," Brad Davis said. "We just need to keep riding this high we're on and keep playing the way we're playing, and I think we're going to start to rattle off some wins."
Honduras international Carlo Costly, signed just before the match, came off the bench for the final half-hour for his MLS debut in the Dynamo's 1-1 draw with Philadelphia.
"He's played in some good places; he's played internationally for his country (Honduras), so it's good," said Davis. "I think it's going to take a little bit for him to get acclimated to his new teammates and his new team but on the other hand, like I said, him being a guy that's played in some good leagues I think he's going to adapt a bit quicker than someone else might."
Sometime center back, sometime holding midfielder, Geoff Cameron pulled into the Dynamo team lead with his fourth goal in the Philadelphia match, level with strikers Will Bruin and Cam Weaver.
"You have to give credit to them for the way they defended," Kinnear said. "They always defend well and in big numbers. I was a little surprised we scored from the top of the box because they were shutting that area down pretty well. We kept attacking wide and found some space; but unlike last week when the crosses were perfect, tonight we were just a pinch off. In the end you have to find the openings, and lucky for us, Geoff found one and made a good play and it hit."
The Dynamo made another international addition this week when they announced the signing of Brazilian midfielder Luiz Camargo, who was last with Parana Clube.
- "I liked the way he played when I saw him," said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. "He can play in central midfield and gives us some options and flexibility in there. He has pace and can close down space and uses the ball well. He was very good in man-to-man marking and I liked the way he played the game. He kept the ball and played very simple."
REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): Fabio Tovar; JAR (opposite): Ian Anderson; 4th: Juan Guzman
MLS Career: 116 games; FC/gm: 25.0; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 46; pens: 45
Sports Medicine Oregon INJURY REPORT: HOUSTON DYNAMO — OUT: FW Will Bruin (L knee surgery); MF Danny Cruz (R quad strain); DOUBTFUL: FW Calen Carr (concussion) ... PORTLAND TIMBERS — OUT: DF Kevin Goldthwaite (L knee ACL rupture); FW Eddie Johnson (concussion); FW Spencer Thompson (R knee); QUESTIONABLE: MF Jack Jewsbury (hamstring strain); DF Rodney Wallace (hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Jeremy Hall (groin soreness); GK Troy Perkins (R hip soreness)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: POR: Jeremy Hall (through Aug. 14)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: HOU: Brad Davis; POR: Lovel Palmer, Rodney Wallace
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Danny Cruz, Cam Weaver; POR: Jeremy Hall, James Marcelin
ALL-TIME: First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 10/14: Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:30 p.m. PT
Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v POR: first game; John Spencer vs. HOU: first game