Matchday Preview: Toronto, Portland both in desperate need of points
Two teams desperately needing to put together wins meet when Toronto FC play host to the Portland Timbers on Wednesday evening at BMO Field. TFC return to action off back-to-back losses, their last match a 2-1 loss on the road to the Chicago Fire. The Timbers snapped a five-game losing streak in their last contest, a 1-1 home draw with FC Dallas.
The Portland Timbers return to league play after a weekend off, snapped a five-game losing slide in their last match with a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas at JELD-WEN Field. The Timbers are in ninth place in the Western Conference with 20 points from 22 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: POR 1, DAL 1
- The visitors took the lead in the 51st minute. Brek Shea snuck past a flat-footed Portland backline to get onto the end of David Ferreira’s perfectly weighted through ball. He then squared for Scott Sealy, who had a simple tap-in for the opener.
- Less than 60 seconds later, FCD were down to 10 men when Zach Loyd was sent off for dragging down Portland’s Franck Songo’o, his second yellow of the game from referee Ricardo Salazar.
- FCD goalkeeper Kevin Hartman made a series of highlight-reel saves, but the tying goal came after he punched out a cross in the 79th minute, Jack Jewsbury lacing a left-footed volley from the edge of the area to even the score.
- Timbers interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson made no changes to the side that fell 1-0 to Chivas USA at JELD-WEN Field.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Troy Perkins - Kosuke Kimura, Hanyer Mosquera, David Horst, Steven Smith (Kalif Alhassan 77) - Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara - Brent Richards (Danny Mwanga 61), Darlington Nagbe, Franck Songo'o - Kris Boyd (Bright Dike 61).
• The Timbers put an end to their five-game losing slide with the draw, but still saw their winless run extended to six games. Their last victory came July 3, a 2-1 triumph against the San Jose Earthquakes at JELD-WEN Field.
• The Timbers also scored their first goal since the 5-3 loss to the LA Galaxy at home on July 14. The Jewsbury goal snapped the club’s goalless streak at 369 minutes, longest in MLS this season.
• “For us, it’s building off two positive performances. Points-wise, yeah we didn’t get what we wanted out of them,” Jack Jewsbury said. “But if you look back to the games, the team as a whole fought, battled, created chances and defensively maybe we’re a little bit more organized than we were earlier in the year. So there’s definitely some positives to take, and now it’s about turning those positives into three points.”
WATCH: Ricketts trains with Timbers
• For a second consecutive match, Wilkinson started with three attackers up top. But he changed his scheme on the hour with the introduction of Danny Mwanga and Bright Dike for Kris Boyd and Brent Richards. For Dike, it was his first appearance of the season.
• “We went with two up top to try and apply a little bit more pressure and push our wide midfielders a little bit higher, trying to keep them camped in their half, and I think it worked,” said head coach Gavin Wilkinson. “If you look at the chances that we created, the movement of Danny [Mwanga] and Bright [Dike], I think was effective. The urgency from those two was very impressive, and we started to get a few more chances.”
• For Jewsbury, it was his his second goal of the season, after scoring seven a year ago in Portland’s inaugural season. His first goal came July 3, in the final of a string of starts at right back.
• “He’s taken on a new role with this team since we’ve changed a few things. He’s sitting back a little bit more to free up [midfielder] Diego Chara, and he’s done it with tremendous maturity and he’s been very productive,” said Wilkinson. “It’s not all roses and such because we’re still not getting the wins. But we’re seeing enough positives in the way we’re trying to play and the changes that are happening.”
• The Timbers set a new 2012 season-high with 21 shots against FC Dallas, besting the club’s previous mark this season of 19 achieved on two occasions.
• “I think even if you look at the number of shots that we had had when they had a man sent off, it was still double what Dallas had,” said Wilkinson. “We were controlling the game, we were creating chances, and when you don’t put the chances away, being a defender and being in that position in the past, it’s hard not to be a little bit negative in that position and start to say, ‘When are we going to score,’ because it is every mistake that we make at the moment we are getting punished. And hopefully that changes.”
• The Timbers will likely start Donovan Ricketts in goal vs. Toronto, his first after the stunning trade between Montréal and Portland that saw Troy Perkins go to the Impact in exchange for Jamaican international Ricketts.
• "You've got to learn how everyone plays, and you've got to adjust accordingly," Ricketts said. "You've got to get on the same page with everyone else, so that's the most difficult part. But when you play with good teammates and good players the transition is always easier. Sometimes it takes a few matches, sometimes a few practice sessions and sometimes an entire season. But let's hope it's not an entire season."
• Said Wilkinson: "Our opinion is that he will settle in very quickly. He looked the part in training, already starting to learn the players' names and starting to boss them about, which is a positive for a goalkeeper."
Toronto FC return to play after an off weekend, last time out dropping a second consecutive decision for the first time since Paul Mariner took over, falling 2-1 to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. TFC are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, with 19 points from 22 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: CHI 2, TOR 1
- Toronto FC struck first, as Ryan Johnson pounced on a bad back pass from midfielder Marco Pappa in the 16th minute and coolly converted past Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson in the heart of the box.
- But the Fire took advantage in the 64th minute, when Pappa latched onto an errant touch by Toronto defender Logan Emory, getting past an oncoming Milos Kocic and slotting a shot past defender Richard Eckersley and into the open net.
- TFC played the last 11 minutes a man down after Emory received a second yellow card from referee Michael Kennedy.
- Then in the 84th minute, rookie defender Austin Berry completed the Fire's comeback, heading home the winner off a Pável Pardo free kick from the left.
- TFC head coach Paul Mariner made one change to the team that fell 2-0 to the Houston Dynamo at BMO Field. Eric Hassli came into the team in place of Quincy Amarikwa.
- TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Milos Kocic - Doneil Henry (Aaron Maund 78), Logan Emory (sent off 79), Richard Eckersley, Ashtone Morgan - Reggie Lambe (Jeremy Hall 46), Torsten Frings, Terry Dunfield, Luis Silva - Ryan Johnson, Eric Hassli (Andrew Wiedeman 61).
• Toronto FC return to action after last weekend’s scheduled match vs. Columbus was postponed following the death of rookie Crew midfielder Kirk Urso.
• While TFC had gone winless over three games twice since Paul Mariner took over as head coach, the losses to Houston and Chicago marked their first consecutive losses in league play since May 5-19.
• “You’ve got to hold your hand up and say that you can’t give decent teams opportunities like we gave them,” said Mariner. “Other than that, we’re fine. I genuinely thought we were going to win the game tonight. I was very confident at halftime.”
WATCH: Mariner discusses Portland match
• Eric Hassli made his TFC debut, starting and playing 61 minutes alongside Ryan Johnson in attack. It was his first action since he was injured July 14 while playing for Vancouver.
• “The ankle held up pretty good,” Hassli said. “I need to work on my fitness because I have not played in a long time. … Everybody is working hard and communicating. It’s easy for me. I feel great in this system.”
• Said Mariner: “His holdup play was terrific. He’s going to be great for us. People can’t handle him – he’s too strong. I took Eric off because we couldn’t get any more out of him. He hadn’t played for a while.”
• With Hassli’s move into the starting lineup, Luis Silva remained in his midfield role. Quincy Amarikwa had started alongside Ryan Johnson for the Houston match.
• After having maintained the same back four for four consecutive matches, there will be a change after Logan Emory was sent off for a second time this season. “You can’t really legislate for Logan deciding to get himself sent off,” Mariner said. “The play was going nowhere – just ridiculous.”
• Jeremy Hall, who came on at halftime for his second consecutive substitute appearance after missing two games entirely, could slot into the right back spot. But he suffered a hamstring injury that could keep him out.
• “What you don’t want to do with Jeremy [Hall] is that he just came back from a hamstring [injury] so you don’t want to leave him out there and really damage himself. It was the most sensible thing to do,” said Mariner.
• Goalkeeper Milos Kocic also suffered an injury in a collision – but finished out the match. “Milos probably broke his nose but said he was fine. He’s a tough kid,” said Mariner. Said Kocic: “Yeah, I think it was broken in the first half. We set it up though so now I think it is OK.”
• “He’s the leader that we need,” Mariner said. “As soon as we blew the whistle to start practice, you could hear his booming voice, and that’s exactly what we need.” Said O’Dea: “My adrenaline might get me through – I’m desperate to start playing. [I'm not sure] whether I’m 100 percent match fit. I’ve not trained since the end of the European Championship in the middle of June.”
REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. SAR (bench): Claudio Badea; JAR (opposite): Kevin Klinger; 4th: Abbey Okulaja
MLS Career: 16 games; FC/gm: 23.6; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 2; pens: 9
- TORONTO FC – OUT: GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); FW Danny Koevermans (L knee ACL tear); DF Matt Stinson (R quadriceps strain); DF Jeremy Hall (L ankle sprain)
- PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: DF Chris Taylor (R hip surgery)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: TOR: Terry Dunfield, Doniel Henry (Canada); Dicoy Williams, Ryan Johnson (Jamaica) … POR: Lovel Palmer (Jamaica); Steve Purdy (El Salvador)
SUSPENDED: TOR: Logan Emory (through Aug. 15) … POR: Franck Songo’o (caution accumulation; through Aug. 15)
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: TOR: Richard Eckersley … POR: Diego Chara, Lovel Palmer
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Ryan Johnson, Torsten Frings. Reggie Lambe, Terry Dunfield, Ashtone Morgan, Doneil Henry … POR: Kris Boyd, Jack Jewsbury, Steven Smith, Kosuke Kimura
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Toronto FC 1 win, 4 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 1
AT TORONTO (1 meeting): Toronto FC 1 win, 2 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
LAST YEAR (MLS)
3/26: TOR 2, POR 0 (Martina 14, 70)
7/30: POR 2, TOR 2 (Johnson 23; Jewsbury 57 – Marosevic 71; Koevermans 81)
• This is the only meeting between the clubs this season.
• Toronto FC won 2-0 in the first meeting ever between the teams, March 26 of last year at BMO Field. The teams also played to a 2-2 draw in Portland.
• Coaches record: Paul Mariner vs. POR: first game … Gavin Wilkinson vs. TOR: first game