Matchday Preview: Timbers look to build on big win in trip to Colorado
COLORADO RAPIDS vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
June 30, 2012 (WEEK 17, MLS Game #154)
6 p.m. PT (KPDX, Timbers Television Network; 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940)
A crucial match for two clubs looking to pull themselves up in the Western Conference standings is ahead on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park when the Colorado Rapids entertain the Portland Timbers. Both clubs are out of the top in the West, separated by three points. The Rapids are back in action after a 2-1 home loss to San Jose 10 days ago, while the Timbers are coming off a thrilling 2-1 home win against arch-rivals Seattle Sounders FC.
The Portland Timbers won a pitched Cascadia Cup battle, defeating arch-rival Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at JELD-WEN Field. The Timbers are in a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference with 16 points from 14 games.
Highlights: Portland grind out Cascadia win
- Portland took the lead in the 16th minute. Kris Boyd snuck a run behind the Seattle back line perfectly timed with a Steven Smith cross, and coolly tapped home to beat Seattle goalkeeper Andrew Weber.
- The Timbers added to their lead nine minutes later when David Horst headed home a Franck Songo’o corner kick for his first MLS goal.
- Seattle came back into the match, pulling a goal back in the 58th minute. Eddie Johnson ran past a defender onto a ball played over the top on the right, pulled up at the corner of the box and fired a left-footed blast to the top far corner.
- The rivalry boiled over in the 90th minute. Forward Fredy Montero saw red for sending Horst sprawling to the turf off the ball after the Portland defender exchanged heated words with Johnson. Portland defender Lovel Palmer was also shown red when he elbowed Johnson during the ensuing scuffle.
- Timbers head coach John Spencer made three changes to the side that lost 1-0 to the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Mamadou Danso and Steven Smith came into the back four for Mike Chabala and the suspended Hanyer Mosquera, and Mike Fucito started in attack in place of Danny Mwanga.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-3-2): Troy Perkins - Jack Jewsbury, David Horst, Mamadou Danso, Steven Smith - Diego Chara - Kalif Alhassan (Sal Zizzo 54), Darlington Nagbe, Franck Songo'o (Lovel Palmer 78; sent off 89) - Kris Boyd, Mike Fucito (Danny Mwanga 66).
Preview: Jewsbury, Spencer & Songo'o on Rapids
While the Timbers have yet to win back-to-back games this season, they have lost just once in their last six league contests.
“I think that when you go through a little bit of a barren spell that we did. Let’s not forget, we’re not getting pummeled 4-0 every week, and battled and embarrassed,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said. “We’ve created a lot of chances in the last few weeks and the last few games, and just not managed to put the ball in the back of the net for whatever reason. Today, we get two opportunities and we go 2-0 up.”
Said striker Kris Boyd: “We came into the game knowing that we needed to get the three points. That was the most important thing. To get the fans back on our side, to get everybody off our backs and prove to people that we can play.”
The Timbers suffered a season-high 23 fouls in the contest. Lovel Palmer, who was making his first appearance since May 20, will miss the Colorado match through suspension after being sent off.
“To be honest, I thought we showed an unbelievable amount of character,” Spencer said. “There were a lot of things wrote this week, a lot of things said. And for me actions speak louder than words. And you tell me that players are not playing for me, well I didn’t see anybody not playing for me today. I took my hat off to them in the locker room, it was not good tactics, it wasn’t coaching, it was just sheer hard work, determination, and we got just rewards today.”
Making his second consecutive start, David Horst scored the eventual game-winner – his first goal in MLS. Horst’s first league appearance had come May 26 vs. Vancouver.
I’ll never forget it,” Horst said. “It’s got to be one of the great moments of my life. To score against Seattle in front of all these people, especially with the way we’ve been playing lately, it’s great to get a win for the organization. I couldn’t be more proud of the team today.”
Boyd scored the opening goal vs. Seattle, the fifth consecutive goal scored by Portland he had been a part of (four goals, one assist). The Timbers had also received two own goals in that stretch, dating to April 7 – in which Boyd also played a part.
“That’s what Kris Boyd does. I’ve seen him do it 150, 170 times in his career at the top level. And I’ve said time and time again if you give him chances, he puts the ball in the back of the net,” said Spencer. “There’s been a lot of harsh criticism directed toward all of us here. You could see a little bit of change in his mentality this week about wanting to score, and really wanting to put the ball at the back of the net.”
The Timbers could be without midfielder Kalif Alhassan, who was forced off after 54 minutes when suffering a hamstring strain, an injury that cost him five games earlier this season.
Mike Fucito became the first player to have played on both sides of the Portland-Seattle rivalry in each clubs’ MLS era, starting for the first time this season vs. Seattle. “It was good. It was a little weird, but I like the dark green uniform. I like the city, so it’s been good so far. I like it,” said Fucito.
- Portland defender Futty Danso earned his first start since May 15, having missed time due to a suspension, injury and international duty.
The Colorado Rapids return to action off a loss for the second time in as many games, a 2-1 defeat by the San Jose Earthquakes on June 20 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are in a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference with 19 points from 15 games.
Highlights: Rapids fall 2-1 to late Quakes rally
- The home side took the lead after 18 minutes. After surging down the wing, right back Hunter Freeman crossed to an open Brian Mullan at the far post, and he made no mistake with the pinpoint service, heading inside the back post.
- But the Quakes yet again had some late heroics in their bag. In the 83rd minute, after Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens denied Steven Lenhart's point-blank chance, San Jose's Alan Gordon and Freeman came crashing in at the far post, and the rebound caromed off the Rapids defender into the net.
- Then in stoppage time, Gordon drew a penalty after Pickens’ flailing dive at the ball, where the 'keeper appeared to catch Gordon’s boot. Chris Wondolowski stepped to the spot and buried the resulting penalty for the match-winner.
- Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made three changes to the side that went down to a 1-0 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Luis Zapata and Marvell Wynne came into the back four for Kosuke Kimura and Scott Palguta, and Conor Casey started up top in place of Tony Cascio.
- COLORADO RAPIDS (4-3-3): Matt Pickens - Hunter Freeman, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Luis Zapata - Jaime Castrillon (Wells Thompson 90), Martin Rivero, Jeff Larentowicz - Brian Mullan, Conor Casey (Omar Cummings 67), Edu (Kamani Hill 73).
For the second time in as many games, the Rapids saw the winning goal scored in the final 10 minutes, after Sebastien Le Toux scored the only goal in the loss in Vancouver.
“This is a moment when we have to see the personality of the group. We want to see the personality of the players that we have,” said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja. “It’s a long season. Sure, at this moment we are disappointed at the result, and getting two loses in a row is not easy especially this one when you’re at home and you were leading 1-0. We all feel like something is not coming along.”
The loss to San Jose ended a three-game home unbeaten streak and started a three-game homestand, that will end with the annual July 4 extragavanza when Vancouver Whitecaps FC make a visit.
Said defender Drew Moor: “I’ve been here for a little bit now, and this one stings as much as any loss I’ve ever had. It has nothing to do with coaching, tactics, formations, it’s just guys digging deep on the field and grinding out results. That’s not a game [we lose], 10 minutes to go here and we’re up 1-0. I don’t think that’s happened since I’ve been here to lose a game like that. We close games like that out, and you know I think everybody that’s been on the field the last two games, every single one’s got to look in the mirror tonight, and decide whether they’re – myself included – and decide whether they’re putting everything into this that they need.”
Marvell Wynne made his first start since April 28 in league play, missing six games with a hamstring injury.
"My performance wasn’t as good as I hoped. It was a lot harder [to come back from injury] than I would think. You think you’d just go back out there, and like riding a bicycle you get back on it, but there were definitely some things that I needed to realize once I’m out there and to regain my focus,” Wynne said. “ … (Y)ou do have to realize that our full team hasn’t been out there for a while now and we haven’t had a very consistent lineup. So it takes some adapting, some getting used to.”
Luis Zapata returned to the starting lineup after spending three matches on the substitutes’ bench, playing just one minute in that time.
“We are all competing for our spot, including coaches, everybody. It’s a day by day thing,” said Pareja. “This about us all respecting this club and this franchise and the fans and everyone. I think this is a message for everyone, it’s not just Luis who is competing for one spot, this is soccer, this is business and we all have to do our job well because that’s what it is.”
Omar Cummings made his first appearance since May 6, when he suffered an ankle injury vs. FC Dallas, coming off the substitutes’ bench for the final quarter of the match. Cummings came on for Conor Casey, who was making his first start since May 19.
- “We're 15 games into the season," Moor said. "We're getting guys back from injuries, some important key members of this squad, who are able to adapt as soon as they step in. So there are no excuses as far as system or formations. Everybody has been integrated in and everybody is ready to go.”
REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): Ian Anderson; JAR (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
MLS Career: 21 games; FC/gm: 22.2; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 5; pens: 10
- COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); PROBABLE: DF Kosuke Kimura (L foot contusion); MF Jamie Smith (R ACL tear); FW Conor Casey (R hamstring strain); DF Marvell Wynne (R hamstring strain); FW Omar Cummings (L ankle sprain)
- PORTLAND TIMBERS -- OUT: DF Eric Brunner (concussion); DOUBTFUL: MF Kalif Alhassan (L hamstring soreness)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: POR: Lovel Palmer (through June 30); Hanyer Mosquera (through July 3)
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Diego Chara
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Jaime Castrillon, Jeff Larentowicz, Tyrone Marshall … POR: Kris Boyd, Lovel Palmer, Jack Jewsbury
- ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Rapids 2 wins, 4 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0
- AT COLORADO (1 meetings): Rapids 1 win, 3 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0
- RETURN MATCHES: 8/31: Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m. PT (NBC SN); 9/5: Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, 7 p.m. MT (NBC SN)
LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/19: COL 3, POR 1 (Larentowicz 8; Cummings 29; Smith 30 – Cooper 80)
6/11: POR 0, COL 1 (Moor 90)
- The Rapids won both meetings in Portland’s inaugural season, winning 3-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and taking a 1-0 triumph in Oregon.
- Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. POR: first game … John Spencer v COL: P2 W0 L2 D0