MATCH PREVIEW: Timbers, Crew both seek to reverse struggles
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs COLUMBUS CREW
JELD-WEN FIELD, Portland, Ore.
May 5, 2012 (WEEK 9, MLS Game #84)
7:30 p.m. PT (Presented by The Home Depot, KPTV Fox 12 | Timbers Television Network, 750 AM The Game, La Pantera 940 AM)
The Portland Timbers return home looking to end a slump when they entertain a Columbus Crew in search of a win of their own when the clubs meet Saturday evening at JELD-WEN Field. The Timbers are coming off a 2-0 road loss to the Montreal Impact last weekend. The Crew haven't won in four matches, coming off a 1-0 home loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC last weekend.
The Portland Timbers weren't able to build on a home win, dropping a 2-0 decision to the Montreal Impact on Saturday afternoon at Olympic Stadium. The Timbers are in ninth place in the Western Conference with 7 points from 8 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: Timbers cut down at Stade Olympique
- Both goals came in the final quarter-hour. Bernardo Corradi sent the Impact into the lead in the 76th minute when he converted a penalty kick after Timbers newcomer Steven Smith was whistled for a handball in the box.
- Then in the 84th minute, an unmarked Sinisa Ubiparipovic delivered the insurance goal after finishing a Davy Arnaud cross at the far post, finishing off a quick movement by tapping the ball into an empty net.
- Impact goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was credited with four saves in delivering the club's shutout in MLS play.
- Timbers head coach John Spencer made one change to the team that claimed a 1-0 victory against Sporting Kansas City at JELD-WEN Field. Steven Smith came into the back four in place of Mike Chabala.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins (Joe Bendik 67) - Steve Purdy (Freddie Braun 20), Hanyer Mosquera, Eric Brunner, Steven Smith - Darlington Nagbe, Lovel Palmer, Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara - Jorge Perlaza (Franck Songo'o 59), Kris Boyd.
Strong Training Report: Lovel Palmer
It was a third consecutive loss away from home for the Timbers, winless in four games this year on the road after going 2-9-6 in away games in their inaugural season. Three of Portland's next four games are at home.
"I think consistency has been an issue for us on the road. We came out last week again Kansas City, at home, we were winning second balls and had a great game. It's just a matter of finding that consistency on the road now," said Jewsbury.
Added Spencer: "We need to keep a clean sheet on the road, to defend better, and to take responsibility individually and collectively and have stronger performances."
The Timbers have officially allowed six goals in the final quarter-hour of games this season, most in MLS (two more than both Chivas USA and Montreal).
"Montreal was playing at home, they've been solid, and we knew they were going to come out hard," Portland midfielder Jack Jewsbury said. "First half ended 0-0, so we wanted to at least try to get out of here with a point. We don't know if the penalty kick was deserved, if there was a hand ball or not. But at the end of the day we needed to be better and we weren't good enough tonight."
Goalkeeper Joe Bendik made his MLS debut in difficult circumstances, coming on in relief of the injured Troy Perkins in the 67th minute of the 2-0 loss in Montreal. Bendik was signed by the Timbers in the offseason after two years in Norway.
Perkins suffered a laceration to the nose after he collided with Impact forward Sanna Nyassi. Earlier in the contest, Portland made a change when defender Steve Purdy was forced off after 20 minutes with what Spencer said was a concussion.
- "Obviously we as coaches get the benefit of replay, but that's a stone cold red card for me," Spencer said. "I've played the game myself, and there's only one reason you get in a tangle on a goalkeeper like that, and I've done it myself, and that's to do the goalkeeper."
The Columbus Crew had their winless streak extended to four matches, falling 1-0 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew sit in a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 7 points from 7 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: Crew stunned at home by Vancouver
- The game's lone goal came after 74 minutes. Young-Pyo Lee lined up 25 yards out from goal on the right side and looped a free kick toward the far post. Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum misread the ball as he backpedaled and tried to deflect the shot with his left hand but the ball settled into the upper left corner.
- Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon was called upon to make two saves for the shutout, both testing efforts in the first half from Eddie Gaven and Aaron Schoenfeld.
- Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made one change to the team that reached a 2-2 draw with the Houston Dynamo at Crew Stadium. Aaron Schoenfeld came into the team in place of Emilio Renteria.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-1-3-2): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda (Kirk Urso 87), Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Nemanja Vukovic - Danny O'Rourke - Tony Tchani, Milovan Mirosevic, Eddie Gaven - Aaron Schoenfeld (Ethan Finlay 57), Olman Vargas (Emilio Renteria 71).
Black & Gold Breakdown: Portland
The Crew are winless in four games, losing three of those, after the defeat by Vancouver. The trip to Portland starts a stretch of five of the next seven games away from home.
"It was our best game during the season," midfielder Milovan Mirosevic said. "Incredibly we lose it. Of course, we're frustrated. I felt we had the ball the whole time. Football is like this. They had only one chance, if you can call it a chance. It was a bit of luck."
The loss was the second in three games by a 1-0 scoreline for the Crew. The Crew have been shutout in three of their four losses this season.
"I think, for the most part, we did what we wanted to do, we brought our players forward, especially (Nemanja) Vukovic and we possessed the ball well," said head coach Robert Warzycha. "The final pass may not have been there but I think that we were getting in the spots that we wanted. Unfortunately we had two disallowed goals ... but we created enough solid chances."
Said midfielder Eddie Gaven: "We created enough chances to score four or five goals, but we have to be much, much sharper in the final third."
The game's lone goal came from a free kick by Young-Pyo Lee that even he called "lucky". Of the 10 goals the Crew have allowed this season, two have come on crosses and another on a corner kick.
"I got caught maybe taking a step forward then couldn't get my body back and was stuck just jumping straight up," goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum said. "I don't know if he hits it a few more times if he even comes close to that. I don't think he meant to do that. My positioning was where I'd probably play it again. I don't think I can be any deeper and give up the near post. It's a difficult area."
The Crew came out of the match with injury concerns on the forward line. Aaron Schoenfeld has a plantar fascia rupture in his right heel that could sideline him for at least a month. Olman Vargas has a left hamstring contusion that Warzycha estimates could keep him off the field for two to three weeks.
- Warzycha showed what could be the new strike pair during the week when he partnered Emilio Renteria and Justin Meram for the annual Connor Senn Memorial Match vs. The Ohio State University on Tuesday. Renteria scored a goal and added an assist as the Crew posted a 4-0 victory in a game stopped after 31 minutes because of lightning. "We will practice Wednesday and Thursday and see what we will do," Warzycha said.
REFEREE: Edvin Jurisevic. SAR (bench): Mike Rottersman; JAR (opposite): Jeremy Hanson; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 42 games; FC/gm: 22.3; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 4; pens: 5
- PORTLAND TIMBERS - OUT: DF Steve Purdy (concussion); DOUBTFUL: MF Kalif Alhassan (R knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: GK Jake Gleeson (R knee IT band tightness); PROBABLE: DF David Horst (R hip surgery)
- COLUMBUS CREW -- OUT: FW Ben Speas (sports hernia rehab); DF Rich Balchan (sports hernia rehab); FW Tommy Heinemann (L knee surgery); DF Julius James (illness); GK William Hesmer (R hip surgery); FW Aaron Schoenfeld (R plantar fascia rupture); DOUBTFUL: MF Dilly Duka (L hamstring strain); DF Carlos Mendes (R hamstring strain); FW Olman Vargas (L hamstring contusion); QUESTIONABLE: MF Danny O'Rourke (L ankle sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Kris Boyd
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 1 goal ... Crew 1 win, 1 goal ... Ties 0
AT PORTLAND (1 meeting): Timbers 1 win, 1 goal ... Crew 0 wins, 0 goals ... Ties 0
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/21: POR 1, CLB 0 (Brunner 46)
7/23: CLB 1, POR 0 (Gaven 79)
- This is the only league meeting between the clubs this season.
- The teams split 1-0 decisions in Portland's first season in MLS last year, each winning at home.
- Coaches record: John Spencer vs. CLB: P2 W1 L1 D0 ... Robert Warzycha vs. POR: P2 W1 L1 D0