Matchday Preview: Portland heads to Colorado looking to take season series
The Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers meet in the back end of their home-and-home series over less than a week’s time when the clubs face off Wednesday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Timbers took a 1-0 win at home on Friday evening, leapfrogging over the Rapids into eighth place in the Western Conference. The Timbers have won two games in a row now, while the Rapids saw their current winless run extended to four matches.
PDF: Pregame Match Notes
Highlights: Timbers vs. Rapids
The game's lone goal came just before halftime. From a Portland counter, build-up touches from Diego Chara and Darlington Nagbe eventually found Sal Zizzo streaking down the right side. He laid a perfectly placed cross to the far post where Bright Dike directed it into the open net.
Timbers interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson made one change to the side that defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-1 at JELD-WEN Field. Diego Chara returned from suspension in place of Eric Alexander.
PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Kosuke Kimura, Hanyer Mosquera, David Horst, Steven Smith - Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara - Sal Zizzo, Darlington Nagbe (Eric Alexander 75), Franck Songo'o (Rodney Wallace 78) - Bright Dike (Kris Boyd 88).
Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made four changes to the side that dropped a 4-1 decision to the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Tyrone Marshall and Tyson Wahl came into the back four for Hunter Freeman and Luis Zapata, and Hendry Thomas and Tony Cascio started in midfield for Joseph Nane and Jaime Castrillon.
COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Matt Pickens - Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Tyson Wahl - Hendry Thomas, Jeff Larentowicz - Brian Mullan (Omar Cummings 46), Martin Rivero, Tony Cascio (Jaime Castrillon 77) - Conor Casey (Andre Akpan 67)
WATCH: Wilkinson and players ready to hit the road
- After going the opening seven games under Wilkinson without a victory, the Timbers have now won two in a row.
- “For me, it was very, very important that we kept a clean sheet tonight. For Donovan [Ricketts], for the back four to actually try to have something to build off of, and we’ve kept challenging them, but to get a win and for that to be the first time all year, it’s another box we can tick,” said Wilkinson.
- The clean sheet was also the first since Wilkinson took over. It was the first for goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts in four matches since his acquisition from the Montréal Impact.
- “[David] Horst and [Hanyer] Mosquera, I thought, were first class,” Wilkinson said. “They challenged for everything, their understanding was fantastic, they played with urgency, they played with a lot of maturity.”
- Said Ricketts: “I think we just play for each other, we cover each other, we play hard. Sometimes it’s not pretty, but we keep communicating, keep talking and we just look after each other. … To get a shutout, it’s always a good feeling. It means maybe we’re doing something right. It might not be pretty, but results are being put on the board, and that’s what we want, results.”
- Making his third consecutive start, Bright Dike netted his second goal of the season. “It’s just telling me that all this hard work to keep it going and it’s paying off. Keep moving, keep building on each performance,” said Dike.
- Sal Zizzo recorded his third assist of the season, all in the last three games, in making a fourth consecutive start.
- “Sal Zizzo got isolated on the wing, he’s really good at taking players on, so I left him alone and let him be on that side, and let him take him on. He got the early cross in; I was there on the end of it. Just redirected it into the goal,” said Dike. “It was a really good pass by Sal.”
- The Timbers will go to Colorado looking for their first road win of the season, the only team in MLS still to win on the road this season. Four teams in MLS history have gone winless on the road over a single season, last Vancouver in 2011.
- “On a side note, we hadn’t won in the red uniform, either. It was a matter of that. We hadn’t beaten Colorado yet in our MLS existence, so as a group, try to find out what we can do and what we’re about,” said Wilkinson. “ … It’s a box we need to tick, we need to show we are maturing and developing as a team and can we get the job done on the road.”
- The Rapids suffered a ninth loss in 11 games since the start of July, and fell into last place in the Western Conference for the first time this season.
- “We have said this many times this season and to get points we need to score goals. When the other team takes the opportunity that they have and that’s the way the game comes to us,” said Pareja. “ … At the moment we’re fighting for every game. It’s a quick turnaround for us and we’re looking forward to having them at home.”
- Honduras international midfielder Hendry Thomas made his Rapids and MLS debut, playing the full match in a holding central role.
- “I thought he was one of the best players on the field [tonight],” Pareja said. “Today, he showed all the experience he has. He’s going to help a lot with his tactics and his intelligence. We’re happy.”
- Said Thomas: “I was really excited because it’d been such a long time to play 90 minutes. I had a lot of emotion. I [now] really want to play in front of the stadium and our fans, and hopefully we can play a better game than we did tonight.”
- Pareja continued the change in the back four he rang in at halftime of the 4-1 loss in San Jose, keeping Tyrone Marshall in central defense and moving Drew Moor to right back with Hunter Freeman dropped.
- Tyson Wahl made his third start since coming to the Rapids, his first since July 21, at left back in favor of Luis Zapata.
- “They always make it tough here, they certainly did tonight, but I thought defensively we were very solid. Like I said other than maybe five minutes of the first half when they got their goal... and at the end of the day we had a couple pretty good opportunities to tie it up, which I think if you look at the overall game, it would have been more of a fair result,” said Moor. “But, when you don’t put the ball in the back of the net you get punished for it.”
- Conor Casey was in the starting lineup for the second consecutive match, on the field with Omar Cummings for the opening 22 minutes of the second half.
“I have said many times and I don’t want to repeat it because it’s a lesson we don’t seem to learn – opportunities come and we have to score. It looks like something is missing on that final touch, that final pass and be accurate and finish. That will change the story of the game, it will change obviously the results.,” Pareja said. “We end up again counting how many times we could have scored. But as professionals the only thing we have is to keep working and take what the game can give us.”
INJURY REPORT: COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); FW Edu (R foot contusion); QUESTIONABLE: FW Kamani Hill (L quad strain); PROBABLE: FW Omar Cummings (R ankle soreness) … PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: DF Chris Taylor (R hip surgery); PROBABLE: MF Kalif Alhassan (L patellar tendinitis); GK Jake Gleeson (R groin strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: COL: Omar Cummings (Jamaica) … POR: Lovel Palmer (Jamaica); Steve Purdy (El Salvador); Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season, in the back end of a home-and-home series over less than a week.
- Bright Dike’s goal was the difference as the Timbers won 1-0 at Jeld-Wen Field on Friday, their first victory in the all-time series.
- On June 30 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, goals from Jaime Castrillón, Conor Casey and Jamie Smith led the Rapids to a 3-0 victory,
- 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.