Less than 72 hours removed from a magical opening night, the Portland Timbers return to action with a major challenge, taking on MLS Cup finalists FC Dallas on Sunday afternoon at JELD-WEN Field (3:00 p.m. PT, ROOT SPORTS; 95.5 The Game and La Pantera 940 AM (Spanish); MLS Matchday Live). The Timbers opened their MLS home history in style, rolling to a 4-2 victory against the Chicago Fire in front of a sold-out crowd. FC Dallas is coming off their first win of the year, gaining a touch of revenge for last year’s MLS Cup loss with a 3-0 home win against Colorado.
The Portland Timbers made their MLS home debut a night to remember, exploding for three first-half goals on their way to a 4-2 win against the Chicago Fire on Thursday night at JELD-WEN Field. The Timbers have 4 points from 4 games, sitting in a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference.
- Colombian striker Jorge Perlaza scored the first goal at JELD-WEN Field in the 29th minute. He ran onto a pass from Kalif Alhassan, cut back against a defender and onrushing Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson, and fired into an empty net.
- The Timbers doubled their lead nine minutes later. A Jack Jewsbury free kick from the right flank was weakly cleared and Rodney Wallace raced forward and pounded the loose ball into the net from 20 yards.
- After the break, the Timbers made it 3-0 when Wallace's cross bounced away from Johnson and Perlaza pounced on on the loose ball and tapped it into the net.
- The Fire pulled a goal back in the 66th minute. Marco Pappa tried to cut through the Timbers back line and Eric Brunner slid in to tackle it away, but succeeded only in driving the ball into his own goal.
- The visitors then close the lead to one in the 81st minute, when Pappa took a pass in the right side of the area, turned, and curled a terrific shot over goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and off the underside of the bar in the left corner.
- But the Timbers sealed their historic win three minutes later, when a scrum off a corner kick saw Dasan Robinson bounce the ball into his own goal with Futty Danso also trying to prod it home.
- Timbers coach John Spencer made one change to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Mamadou Danso came in for David Horst in central defense.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Jake Gleeson – Steve Purdy, Mamadou Danso, Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace – Jeremy Hall (Sal Zizzo 68), Jack Jewsbury, James Marcelin, Kalif Alhassan (Darlington Nagbe 83) – Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Eddie Johnson 77).
- Jorge Perlaza finally opened his Timbers account with a pair of goals – matching the club’s output in its first three games combined.
- “I think he’s been threatening to do it (score goals). The last week in practice, his finishing has been fantastic and he’s got electrifying pace,” Spencer said. “I’ve said it time and time again that this is a difficult league for foreign players to come and do well in. I think he’s clicking on to it, his pace in the first half at times was magnificent and he showed tremendous composure.”
- After starting the season with two losses, the Timbers have now put together back-to-back results, following the draw in New England.
- “I think we’ve been threatening that for the last couple of weeks,” Spencer said. “I just thought the two forwards were excellent, I thought our energy in midfield — our desire to track (back) and win tackles — I felt that we were there tonight.”
- Still chasing his second goal of the season—after scoring the first in the club’s MLS history – Kenny Cooper will take on his former club in FC Dallas.
- “I had a great time before in MLS and I just feel very blessed and privileged and lucky to have landed here in Portland,” Cooper said. “It’s just a magical atmosphere, these fans are something special. ... I think the league is certainly better now than it was when I left it.”
- If there was a down part of the night, it was the two goals conceded in 15 minutes in the second half that cut the margin to one goal. The Timbers have allowed two or more goals in three of four games.
- “Don’t give goals up. If you win 3-0 or you win 4-0 and walk away it’s a complete game. But to give two goals up in the manner that we did, I think you’ve got to keep clean sheets and win games,” Spencer said.
- Perlaza will have a running mate coming in the club’s first designated player, Diego Chará, who was also purchased from Colombian club Deportes Tolima.
- “I’m very happy because I know what kind of player he is,” Perlaza said. “He’s a great player and I have known him on many teams. I know he will be a valuable asset on this team.”
FC Dallas won for the first time in a big way, defeating the Colorado Rapids 3-0 at Pizza Hut Park on Friday night in an MLS Cup rematch. FCD has 4 points from 4 games on the season, sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference.
- FC Dallas took a deserved lead 26 minutes into the match. Marvin Chavez hooked a partially cleared corner back into the goalmouth, and it fell for defender Ugo Ihemelu to prod home from close range.
- The home side doubled the lead in the 40th minute. Fabian Castillo threaded a pass through the Rapids backline and into the path of a streaking David Ferreira, who then finished with a cheeky chip to the right of goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
- Just 25 seconds into the second half, FCD captain Daniel Hernandez one-timed a pass through the Rapids defense to Eric Avila, who then launched a rolling cross across the six-yard box toward a wide-open Ferreira. The Colombian finished it off with a sliding tap-in for his second goal of the match.
- FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made three changes to the team that lost 2-0 to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Zach Loyd came into the back four for Jair Benitez, Andrew Jacobson replaced the suspended Jackson Goncalves in midfield, and Milton Rodriguez came back in for Ruben Luna.
- FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Kevin Hartman - Zach Loyd, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Brek Shea - Daniel Hernandez - Marvin Chavez (Eric Avila 30), David Ferreira, Andrew Jacobson (Eric Alexander 70), Fabian Castillo - Milton Rodriguez (Ruben Luna 66)
- After going the first three matches in 2011 without a goal or an assist, reigning MLS MVP David Ferreira hit for his first two goals on the campaign in the win against Colorado.
- “It was a good night and, most importantly, in the moment where we had to be calm, the team was there to do the job and we are happy for the result,” Ferreira said.
- Again this season, Ferreira is the league leader in fouls suffered, with 14 through the first four weeks of the season. Last season, while also scoring eight goals and adding 13 assists, Ferreira was fouled 84 times.
- “I really think that he is such a good player and he figures things out very quickly,” said FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman. “We talked about him getting up higher so that the defenders have to worry about him and I think you started to see a David that we have seen in the past.”
- Ferreira celebrating the first goal by pulling out a pacifier, and the second by mimicking rocking a baby. Ferreira and his wife are expecting another child.
- Ugo Ihemelu was given his first start in central defense – after starting the week before at right back – and with it came his first goal of the season, along with the first defensive clean sheet.
- “It’s real easy with George [John]," Ihemelu said. "I think we kind of have a good understanding of each other and then, with [goalkeeper Kevin] Hartman back there, you know the communication's always good.”
- It was yet a fourth back four in four games for FCD, with Jair Benitez out with a hamstring strain. Brek Shea, who had started the season in central defense, moved to left back.
- “When you look at the early games, that’s what we’ve been missing – a little bit of consistency in our backs,” said Hyndman. “Brek [Shea’s] done a fantastic job filling in, but with [George] John out and Ugo out, there just wasn’t a lot of chemistry, teamwork and communication and I thought the other night [against Colorado] was the best we’ve played as far as the defensive back four.”
REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Peter Manikowski; JAR (opposite): Claudio Badea; 4th: Landis Wiley MLS Career: 78 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 14; pens: 26
INJURY REPORT: PORTLAND TIMBERS - OUT: FW Bright Dike (R Achilles rupture); FW Brian Umony (R knee MCL sprain); GK Adin Brown (hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Peter Lowry (R knee MCL strain); DF David Horst (R ankle sprain); GK Troy Perkins (R knee sprain) ... FC DALLAS – OUT: DF Kyle Davies (L ankle surgery recovery); DF Edson Edward (R knee ACL tear); PROBABLE: MF Marvin Chavez (concussion; head laceration)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
HEAD-TO-HEAD ALL-TIME: First meeting. RETURN MATCH: 6/25: FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m. CT
▪ Coaches record: John Spencer vs. DAL: first game ... Schellas Hyndman v POR: first game