KeyBank Scouting Report Matchday Preview | New York Red Bulls vs. Portland Timbers | May 24, 2014

Portland starts a two-game road trip in New York on Saturday; Watch #NYvPOR on ROOT SPORTS

NEW YORK RED BULLS VS. PORTLAND TIMBERS
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
May 24, 2014 (WEEK 12, MLS Game #106)
4 p.m. PT (ROOT SPORTS nw)

Two teams looking for a buoying victory meet in an interconference clash on Saturday evening when the New York Red Bulls play host to the Portland Timbers at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls have lost back-to-back matches, coming off a 2-0 defeat at Toronto FC last weekend. The Timbers have not lost in four games, coming back for a third draw in that time in their last outing, a wild 3-3 tie with the Columbus Crew at Providence Park last weekend.

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers stretched their undefeated streak to four games with yet more late drama, again for a late equalizer for a 3-3 draw with the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Providence Park. The Timbers are in a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference with 10 points from 11 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Timbers took the lead in just the fifth minute. Steve Zakuani played a quick ball through to Maximiliano Urruti, who beat Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark to the top netting.
     
  • But the Crew were in the lead and up a man before halftime. Federico Higuain scored on a cheeky chip shot from 25 yards out in the 14th minute to tie it, then Alvas Powell was sent off in the 34th minute for his tackle on Chad Barson.
     
  • Then in first half stoppage time, defender Futty Danso was called for a penalty by referee Jose Carlos Rivero when he pulled down Giancarlo Gonzalez on a corner kick, and Higuain easily converted the spot kick.
     
  • The Timbers had life once again in the 80th minute when Diego Valeri played a long ball into the area that fell to Will Johnson, and he fired home. But from the restart, Higuain fed Ethan Finlay for a shot that deflected off Danso and past Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts to give the Crew back the lead.
     
  • Then, in the 85th minute, a long free kick by Valeri was headed on by newcomer Fanendo Adi in the box, right to an unmarked Gastón Fernández who potted an easy tap-in for the dramatic equalizer.
     
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made three changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy at Providence Park. Alvas Powell came into the back four for Michael Harrington, Ben Zemanski started in midfield in place of Diego Chara, and Maximiliano Urruti came in up top in pace of Gastón Fernández.
     
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Alvas Powell (ejected 34), Pa Modou Kah, Mamadou Danso, Jack Jewsbury - Will Johnson, Ben Zemanski (Gastón Fernández 75) - Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri, Steve Zakuani - Maximiliano Urruti (Jorge Villafana 36 / Fanendo Adi 83).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Timbers extended their undefeated streak to four games – with a third draw in that time – with the late result against Columbus. It was the Timbers’ seventh tie already this season; they led MLS in 2013 with 15 draws. 
     
  • “It’s not where we want to be, but I guarantee there isn’t a team in the league that wants to face us,” Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. “And it’s for a good reason because even though we’ve only won one game, we’ve only lost three and I think it’s now four games in a row we haven’t been beaten and in the last seven games we’ve only lost one game. I think in terms of points it looks a lot worse than the team we are.”
     
  • The equalizer came in the 85th minute, the third consecutive game – and fifth time this season – the Timbers had scored the tying or winning goal in the final 10 minutes or stoppage time.
     
  • “A lot of teams lose that game by three, four, five goals and give up. We played 65 minutes down a man, and then went down a goal on a penalty. Most teams, they call it a day,” said Porter. “But not this team. We’re never going to. We’re always going to keep fighting and keep giving everything we have every single game.”
     
  • The Timbers have scored 6 goals from the 76th minute onward, tied for fourth-most in MLS this season. They have allowed 8 goals in the same timeframe – also leading MLS.
     
  • “We don’t give in. We fought for each other today. Everybody did their duty. One of our best attacking players playing left back at one point, doing defensive work because that’s what it means to us, trying to get the win,” said Steve Zakuani. “Unfortunately, right now we’re not picking up wins, but we’re also not losing games. Shortly here, I think around the corner, we’re going to slowly start turning those ones into three points. When you’re playing like that and work as hard as we’re working, your luck starts to change. We have a never-say-die attitude.”
     
  • Gastón Fernández scored his fifth goal of the season, three of those goals, coming as the late equalizers. Fernández has scored three goals over the last four games.
     
  • “It’s hard to enjoy those goals because they are always to tie the game,” said Fernández. “I did enjoy the one against D.C. [United] because it was the first goal [of the game]. Just for me it’s great to score, and I’m going home happy.”
     
  • Fanendo Adi made his MLS and Timbers debut, coming on for the final seven minutes – and collected his first MLS assist, on the equalizing goal.
     
  • Ben Zemanski made his first start of 2014, playing 75 minutes in a central midfield role in place of Diego Chara, who underwent surgery on a fractured hand.
     
  • Alvas Powell made his first start since April 5, coming in at fullback in place of the injured Michael Harrington. But he will miss the next two matches after his suspension was extended following his sending off by a decision by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.

NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls lost their second game on the trot, falling 2-0 to Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. The Red Bulls sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points from 12 matches on the season.

LAST MATCH

  • TFC took the lead in the 12th minute. From a lightning-quick counter, Bradley Orr slid a perfectly-weighted through ball into the path of Jermain Defoe, and he cracked a rocket of a shot into the top corner of the net, beating Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.
     
  • Well into second-half stoppage time Toronto FC finished off the match thanks to a fortuitous bounce. A long clearance from Joe Bendik from his own penalty area was not claimed by Robles as he collided with a teammate at the top of the Red Bulls box, and Luke Moore walked the ball into the open goal to open his TFC account.
     
  • Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made two changes to the team that fell 5-4 to the Chicago Fire at Red Bull Arena. Bobby Convey and Jonny Steele came into the team with Roy Miller and Tim Cahill away on international duty.
     
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Kosuke Kimura (Chris Duvall 48), Armando, Jamison Olave, Bobby Convey (Ruben Bover 81) - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander, Jonny Steele - Bradley Wright-Phillips, Thierry Henry.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Red Bulls lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, and were shut out at the attacking end for the first time since the 1-0 loss at D.C. United on April 12. They had scored 12 goals over their previous five games.
     
  • “Urgency, taking better care of the ball, putting ourselves in better situations, yadda yadda,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “It’s the same thing for the last couple of weeks. First half is flat, second half is strong. That’s the way it is.”
     
  • The Red Bulls conceded the opening goal after 12 minutes, their fifth goal allowed in the opening quarter-hour of matches this season – second only to Seattle Sounders FC (6).
     
  • “We shoot ourselves in the foot again the first 10 minutes and then we’re chasing the game,” said midfielder Dax McCarty. “It’s disappointing because you always feel like you can play better, particularly in the midfield. You always want to pass the ball better, you always want to take care of the ball better, and we didn’t do that today, especially in the first half, so it’s frustrating.”
     
  • “Once again, we concede an early goal. We lost the ball and conceded a counter attack away from home,” said Thierry Henry. “Jermain Defoe took his finish very well but after that I felt we controlled the game. We had a lot of the ball but it just didn’t go our way and again on the counter attack at the end.”
     
  • With Tim Cahill have joined Australia, Jonny Steele returned to the starting lineup for the first time since April 12, after coming off the substitutes’ bench for five consecutive games.
     
  • Bobby Convey returned to the team having missed the last six matches entirely, playing the full 90 minutes at left back with Roy Miller having joined Costa Rica.
     
  • Peguy Luyindula was out of the team for the first time this season, suffering a calf strain. But he could be available for this weekend, instead of what was thought to be a long-term absence.
     
  • “I would list Peguy as day-to-day,” Petke said. “As soon as he feels up to it and ready to go, we’re going to get him on the field and move on from there. As of now, I list him as day-to-day.”

REFEREE: Drew Fischer. AR1 (bench): Brian Dunn; AR2 (opposite): Claudio Badea; 4th: Mark Geiger MLS Career: 29 games; FC/gm: 26.2; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 2; pens: 8

SUSPENDED: POR: Alvas Powell (through May 28) WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Armando, Lloyd Sam, Thierry Henry, Jamison Olave ... POR: Norbetto Paparetto, Diego Chara

DISABLED LIST: none INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: NY: Tim Cahill (AUS); Roy Miller (CRC)

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Red Bulls 2 wins, 11 goals ... Timbers 0 wins, 8 goals ... Ties 2 AT NEW YORK (2 meetings): Red Bulls 2 wins, 5 goals ... Timbers 0 wins, 2 goals ... Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS): 3/3: POR 3, NY 3 (Valeri 14; Nagbe 56; own goal 83 – Espindola 9, 24; Olave 28)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The Red Bulls have won both meetings all-time at Red Bull Arena, including a 3-2 victory in the Timbers’ last visit to Harrison, Aug. 19, 2012.
  • The teams have met twice in Portland and played to 3-3 draws on both occasions, including in the lone meeting between the clubs last season on March 3.
  • Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. NY: P1 W0 L0 D1 ... Mike Petke vs. POR: P1 W0 L0 D1