Matchday Preview: Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids at JELD-WEN Field - September 20, 2013

Timbers host Colorado Rapids at 7pm PT on Friday; Watch it on NBC Sports Network


PORTLAND TIMBERS vs COLORADO RAPIDS
JELD-WEN FIELD, Portland, Ore.
Sept. 20, 2013 (WEEK 30, MLS Game #271)
7 p.m. PT (NBCSN; 750 AM The Game / LA Pantera 940 AM)

A crucial match within the Western Conference is ahead on Friday evening when the Portland Timbers return to JELD-WEN Field to take on the Colorado Rapids before an NBC Sports Network audience. The Timbers, who haven’t lost at home since March, currently sit in fifth place in the West and hold the final playoff position, coming off a 1-1 draw at Chivas USA last weekend. The Rapids have catapulted into third in the division, losing just once in their last 12 games after a come-from-behind 2-1 win vs. FC Dallas last Saturday.

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers saw their road winless streak continue, despite coming back for a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. The Timbers are in fifth place in the Western Conference with 43 points from 28 matches.

LAST MATCH

TEAM NEWS

  • “That first goal does determine in that point what happens and now we’re chasing the game and it’s not as easy – we’re on the road,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “I really liked our response in the second half; we came out in the second half the way I wanted them to come out for the game, and they know it; they’re going to correct it, we’re going to correct it because at this point, if we don’t correct it, we’re going to be looking back and regretting these points that we let slip away.”
     
  • The Timbers return home riding an 11-game undefeated streak at JELD-WEN Field, the third-longest in MLS during the season. Four of the next five games are at home for the Timbers.
     
  • Diego Valeri scored a goal for a second consecutive match, coming on as a substitute for a second match in a row. Since July 13, a span of 10 games, Valeri has 3 goals and 8 assists.
     
  • Jose Valencia contributed his third assist of the season – he has assisted on each of the last three Portland goals. His first two starts of the league campaign have come in the last two matches.
     
  • “The second half showed what we were capable of,” Porter said. “We just need to do that from the beginning, and if we do the result is different. It’s getting to the point now where we need to start correcting things, and one of the things we need to correct is starting games better.”
     
  • Maximiliano Urruti made his Timbers debut after being acquired in a trade with Toronto FC, coming on for the final 18 minutes.
     
  • “We have to be a little more clinical in and around the box, attacking, set pieces, we just don’t seem to have that hunger in front of goal right now and if you’re going to make mistakes at the back and give up goals, you’re going to lose points,” said midfielder Will Johnson.

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids made it two wins in a row and continued their roll, coming back for a 2-1 win against FC Dallas on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are in third place in the Western Conference with 45 points from 29 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas took the lead in the 51st minute. Jair Benitez took a pass along the left wing and crossed it across goal for David Ferreira, who slid in front of the net to turn home the close-range finish.
     
  • But the Rapids responded quickly. In the 59th minute, two Dallas defenders tried to head away Chris Klute’s cross into the box, but the ball popped right to Vicente Sanchez on the left side of the penalty box, and the Uruguayan brilliantly volleyed home the equalizer.
     
  • The winner came six minutes later, again through Sanchez's efforts. He dribbled around a defender and delivered a cross in front of goal that FCD defender Matt Hedges accidentally turned into his own net ahead of charging Colorado striker Gabriel Torres.
     
  • Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made one change to the team that defeated the LA Galaxy 1-0 at StubHub Center. Nathan Sturgis came into the midfield in place of Nick LaBrocca.
     
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Chris Klute - Hendry Thomas (Gabriel Torres 56), Nathan Sturgis (German Mera 81) - Atiba Harris, Dillon Powers, Vicente Sanchez - Edson Buddle (Deshorn Brown 75).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Rapids have won back-to-back games for the fourth time this season – they have yet to win three consecutive league games this year. They have taken points from 11 of their last 12 games (7-1-4).
     
  • Vicente Sanchez scored his first MLS goal, making a fourth consecutive start in the midfield, this time deployed on the left side. He has a goal and two assists in that span.
     
  • “Vicente gives us the versatility to go to the left, to the right, to the middle, and that precision the last two or three games, I think he has played on the right. Today we saw the opportunity to play him on the left because we knew we were going to have some space there and I wanted to attack the second post with Atiba [Harris], who normally comes and hurts [FC Dallas],” said Pareja. “But the chemistry with different backs is coming along because when he played on the right with Marvell, it was the same. They link well.”
     
  • Said Sanchez: “I had come in playing on the right, and then the middle and Oscar decided to put me out on the left. I'm happy - happy to play and happy because from the first minute the team tried to win. We couldn’t score the goal in the first half. But still, little by little the team continues getting better. These are playoff games. These are games that everyone wants to win in order to qualify.”
     
  • After playing in a deeper-lying midfield role against the LA Galaxy, Dillon Powers moved forward into central attacking midfield spot.
     
  • “[Lineups] depend on the opponent or the plan of the game, depending on what we need or what we want,” Pareja said. “I want to say that one of the best players against Los Angeles was Nick LaBrocca. And Nick wasn’t in the roster [Saturday].”
     
  • After returning from international duty with Panama, Gabriel Torres came off the bench for the final 34 minutes.
     
  • Edson Buddle made a second consecutive start after not featuring in the first team for three consecutive games, while rookie Deshorn Brown came off the substitutes’ bench for a second consecutive game.
     
  • [Gabriel Torres] came up from two games with his national team and as much as we want him and need him, we want to give him good time on the field so he can provide what we need. Also, Edson [Buddle] has done a great job from his end, so we wanted to have that energy in the second half with Gabriel,” said Pareja. “… Deshorn [Brown] came up in the point where we needed his energy as well, but also his speed in order to get in behind because … we were expecting one or two chances with Deshorn in behind that we actually had.”

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. AR1 (bench): Mike Rottersman; AR2 (opposite): Fabio Tovar; 4th: Jesus Cisneros
MLS Career: 94 games; FC/gm: 24.1; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 15; pens: 14

DISABLED LIST: POR: Mikael Silvestre (season-ending injury); Ryan Miller (season-ending injury); Brent Richards (season-ending injury) … COL: Davy Armstrong (season-ending injury); Kory Kindle (season-ending injury)
SUSPENDED: COL: Nathan Sturgis (caution accumulation; through Sept. 22)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Will Johnson, Ben Zemanski … COL: Shane O’Neill, Dillon Powers
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Diego Chara, Rodney Wallace … COL: Hendry Thomas
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Timbers 2 wins, 7 goals … Rapids 4 wins, 12 goals … Ties 1
AT PORTLAND (3 meetings): Timbers 2 wins, 4 goals … Rapids 1 win, 1 goal … Ties 0

2013 (MLS)
3/30: COL 2, POR 2 (Powers 18; Thomas 48 – W. Johnson 55, 71)
6/23: POR 3, COL 0 (Piquionne 12; W. Johnson 45; R. Johnson 84)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Fredéric Piquionne, Will Johnson and Ryan Johnson scored in a 3-0 Timbers victory at home on June 23; a pair of goals from Will Johnson in the second half overcame a two-goal Rapids lead to leave the teams in a 2-2 draw on March 30 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The win in the last meeting was only Portland’s second win in the all-time series. The Rapids have won four of the seven meetings all-time, with one draw.
  • Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. COL: P2 W1 L0 D1 … Oscar Pareja vs. POR: P5 W2 L2 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The Timbers jumped into the lead in the 12th minute. Rodney Wallace broke free down the left flank off a quickly-taken restart and fired a cross into the box for Frederic Piquionne, whose header beat Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin to the top of the goal.
  • Portland struck again just before halftime when Wallace came down with a flicked-on goal kick, held the ball at the left corner of the box and found a charging Will Johnson. The Timbers captain popped the ball up in the air to get past the Colorado defense and then launched a left-footed shot past Irwin to the far corner.
  • Portland put the game away in the 84th minute when Ryan Johnson buried a Wallace cross into an open goal after a Rapids turnover high up the field.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Ryan Miller, Pa Modou Kah, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Jack Jewsbury - Diego Chara, Will Johnson - Darlington Nagbe (Ben Zemanski 73), Diego Valeri (Kalif Alhassan 84), Rodney Wallace - Frederic Piquionne (Ryan Johnson 60).
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, German Mera, Chris Klute (Anthony Wallace 60) - Nathan Sturgis, Hendry Thomas (Tony Cascio 78) - Atiba Harris, Dillon Powers, Nick LaBrocca (Jaime Castrillon 62) - Deshorn Brown.