Matchday Preview: Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers at Dick's Sporting Goods Park

Timbers head to Rocky Mountain country to take on the Rapids

Matchday preview, Timbers @ Rapids, 3.29.13

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

COLORADO RAPIDS vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
March 30, 2013 (WEEK 5, MLS Game #38)
3 p.m. PT (ROOT SPORTS, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940) 

A pair of teams looking for a first victory on the young season meet when the Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers face off Saturday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The injury-hit Rapids are winless in four games on the year, following their 1-0 loss at the LA Galaxy last weekend. The Timbers are also looking for a first win for new coach Caleb Porter, a round off last weekend after their thrilling 1-1 draw with arch-rival Seattle the Saturday before.

PORTLAND TIMBERS 
The Portland Timbers return to action following a weekend off, their last match a thrilling late 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders on March 16 at CenturyLink Field. The Timbers are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 2 points from 3 matches.

LAST MATCH 

TEAM NEWS 

  • While the Timbers are still looking for a first victory on the season, they did come back to secure a second draw in three games. They have allowed the opening goal in all three games this season.
     
  • “Not only did we get a point, but they lost two points. It gives us a lot of belief moving forward. This team has a lot of mettle,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “I'm most proud of our effort defensively. We dug deep. We gave up a goal and obviously it was a counter again and we got punished for it. But overall, for 90 minutes, we defended very well against that team.”
     
  • Rodney Wallace has scored a goal in each one of his three seasons with the Timbers. Three of Portland’s five goals this season have come after the 80th minute.
     
  • “We've been down in games and we have a lot of belief. We've come back in games. Even in the Montreal match, we were pushing the game and had chances to tie the game,” said Porter. “This team, they have that ability to come back so I think we were all very composed. We knew we had at least 45 minutes to score a goal and at least get a point out of it.”
     
  • Jack Jewsbury was inserted into the Timbers lineup into the holding role in central midfield, behind Will Johnson and Diego Chara in more driving positions.
     
  • “I honestly think it’s the ideal role for him at this point in his career where he can kind of act as a pivot where he can sit in front of the center backs,” Porter said. “ … More than anything our players know how we’re attacking and how we’re defending. I think that tweak with Jack in there allowed us to play through Jack more, it allowed us to protect our center backs.”
     
  • Ben Zemanski, who played for Porter at the University of Akron, made his first start of the season, at right back. Zemanski was primarily a midfielder in his first three professional seasons with Chivas USA.
     
  • “We wanted a couple more guys on the field that bring a little bit of fight and bite and grit. Those two guys certainly bring that. I thought they both had good games,” said Porter.
     
  • The addition of Jewsbury also Diego Valeri into a more forward attacking position just off central striker Ryan Johnson. “The thing I’m most encouraged by was the balance,” Porter said. “I thought the tweaks we made, especially for that game, gave us better balance defensively. And that’s going to be important to winning games.”

COLORADO RAPIDS 
The Colorado Rapids saw their season-opening winless streak reach four games, dropping a 1-0 decision to the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Rapids are in a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference with 1 point from 4 matches.

LAST MATCH 

  • The turning point came early in the second half, after Colorado defender Drew Moor was ejected for an off-the-ball backhand to Marcelo Sarvas' face inside the penalty area. Mike Magee converted from the spot in the 50th minute for the eventual match-winner.
     
  • Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin was credited with seven saves in his first professional start as the Galaxy held a 21-5 edge in attempts at goal. Galaxy 'keeper Carlo Cudicini made three saves.
     
  • Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made two changes to the team that came away with a 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Clint Irwin came in between the posts for the injured Matt Pickens, and Pablo Mastroeni returned to the side in place of Tony Cascio.
     
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-3-3): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor (sent off 48), Diego Calderon (Christopher Klute 34), Brian Mullan - Pablo Mastroeni (Tony Cascio 27), Dillon Powers, Hendry Thomas - Atiba Harris, Deshorn Brown, Kevin Harbottle (Shane O'Neill 52).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Rapids have matched their worst start in club history after their first four matches with three losses and a draw, equaling the 2001 and 2003 seasons. In 2003, they started the season winless in six matches (0-5-1).
     
  • “Not many things went wrong today, obviously, but a lot of things went well,” said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja. “That's all from our players, especially in the last 35 minutes after the red card. I thought it was a test to the young guys fighting and good on everything on the field.”
     
  • With Matt Pickens sidelined 4-6 weeks after suffering a broken arm in the Real Salt Lake match, goalkeeper Clint Irwin made his first MLS start against the Galaxy.
     
  • “I'm just trying to get better every game and just trying to learn on the fly and it’s a tough league,” said Irwin. “It’s physical and I'm just trying to pick up something new every time I step out there and being on the road you learn quickly, especially nights like tonight.”
     
  • For the second time in three matches, Pablo Mastroeni was forced to leave the game before the half-hour mark, after suffering a quadriceps strain in his left leg.
     
  • Defender Diego Calderón was also forced to leave the game before halftime after he suffered a right thigh contusion.
     
  • “It’s difficult when you have to move the team all over the place very early in the game,” Pareja said. “Losing Pablo again that early is a challenge, and with Diego as well. It is difficult. But no excuses, and that’s why we’re here and the players need to deal with adversity and the challenges the game gives and try to make things happen and find a way to resolve it. And I thought that for more than a third of the game the players adjusted.”
     
  • When Calderón had to come off, right back Marvell Wynne had to shift to center back and substitute Chris Klute came in at left back.
     
  • “We’ve got a deep squad and I think we showed that tonight,” said defender Drew Moor. “We had some guys step up, come onto the field, some guys were playing out of position but we showed that we got a deep squad and we shouldn't miss a beat next Saturday at home against Portland and look to get our first win of the year then.” 

REFEREE: Drew Fischer. SAR (bench): Corey Rockwell; JAR (opposite): Eric Proctor; 4th: Chris Penso MLS Career: 8 games; FC/gm: 27.4; Y/gm: 2.5; R: 0; pens: 1 

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: COL: Drew Moor (through April 7) 
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none  

HEAD-TO-HEAD ALL-TIME (5 meetings): Rapids 4 wins, 10 goals … Timbers 1 win, 2 goals … Ties 0
AT COLORADO (3 meetings): Rapids 3 wins, 9 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0
RETURN MATCHES: 6/23: Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids, 4 p.m. PT (NBCSN); 9/20: Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids, 7 p.m. PT (NBCSN) 
LAST YEAR (MLS):
6/30: COL 3, POR 0 (Castrillon 18; Casey 22; Smith 89)
8/31: POR 1, COL 0 (Dike 45)
9/5: COL 3, POR 0 (Akpan 6; Cascio 27; Castrillon 86)

  • The Rapids have won all three meetings with Portland at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, including a pair of 3-0 decisions last season.
  • Portland’s only win in the all-time series came last Aug. 31, a 1-0 home victory.
  • Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. POR: P3 W2 L1 D0 … Caleb Porter vs. COL: first game