PORTLAND TIMBERS vs COLORADO RAPIDS
PROVIDENCE PARK, Portland, Ore.
July 18, 2014 (WEEK 19, MLS Game #172)
8 p.m. PT (NBCSN, live stream on NBCSports.com)
The Portland Timbers return home for a vital Western Conference clash when they play host to the Colorado Rapids on Friday evening at Providence Park in front of an NBC Sports Network audience. The Timbers are back in the Rose City following a 2-0 loss at the arch-rival Seattle Sounders that stretched Portland's winless run to four games. The Rapids remain on the road following a wild 3-3 draw at the Philadelphia Union last weekend.
The Portland Timbers saw their winless streak stretched to four games, falling 2-0 to the Seattle Sounders on Sunday evening at CenturyLink Field. The Timbers are in eighth place in the Western Conference with 21 points from 19 games.
The Sounders finally made a breakthrough in the 74th minute. Following a free kick, Clint Dempsey’s initial attempt was blocked by goakeeper Donovan Ricketts and bounced to Obafemi Martins, who was denied by Ricketts again. But Gonzalo Pineda drove the rebound back through the box toward the back post, where Dempsey turned the ball into the roof of the net from inside the six-yard box.
The home side put in the dagger in the 87th minute. Martins freed Lamar Neagle on a quick break on the left, and Neagle rolled a cross into the area for Marco Pappa, who fired a shot past a fallen Ricketts from the spot.
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made two changes to the team that drew 2-2 with the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Jack Jewsbury started in midfield in place of the suspended Diego Chara, and Steve Zakuani came into the team for Gaston Fernandez.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-2-3): Donovan Ricketts - Michael Harrington (Kalif Alhassan 83), Danny O'Rourke, Rauwshan McKenzie, Jorge Villafana - Jack Jewsbury - Diego Valeri (Gaston Fernandez 74), Will Johnson - Darlington Nagbe, Fanendo Adi, Steve Zakuani (Rodney Wallace 63).
“This is a game where if we would've gotten three points, it would've helped, but there are more important games ahead – the swing playoff teams. Those potential six-point swings against teams around us are more important than this game, although it would've been nice to get a point or more, but we've got to move on,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “Right now recovery is key. We had a very long week and gave a lot physically and emotionally, but have to recover and get back to work and get ready for Colorado. That game is going to be very critical.”
The Timbers also return home looking to overturn a five-game winless run at Providence Park – one short of the club’s MLS record set during the 2011 season.
“The seven home games (remaining), in particular, are crucial. The non-conference games you can gamble a little bit. You want to go for three (points) in those,” said Porter. “But the pivotal games are the games against the Colorado's, the Vancouver's, the Dallas', the San Jose's, the Chivas's – those are the games where you can't give up points and we need to make up ground.”
The Timbers were also shut out for a second time in the last three matches, their first attacking shutouts in more than two months.
“We know what we need to do and we've got plenty of games to do it. We've seen the table and it's a bit like Pulp Fiction – everybody is killing everybody – so I'm not sure what the line is going to be with regards to the points that get you in,” said Porter. “You can't worry about that – you just have to focus on every game trying to get three points, and if you don't, try and get the next one. We can still get to a very high target with the amount of games we have left, if you do the math. Win eight or nine games, we're right there.”
With Diego Chara suspended, Jack Jewsbury made his first MLS start since June 7, coming into a deep-lying central midfield role.
“We did a lot of things well, especially in the first half, but ultimately we wore down in the second half. Those 120 minutes on our guys' legs [in the Open Cup match] really caught up with us, and with the injuries we had on the back line, we couldn't rotate, and you could see that a little bit,”said Porter. “... We don't have depth, we couldn't rotate and we played a lot of guys who'd played 120 minutes (on Wednesday) and that caught up with us against a very good team - a team with good attackers.”
Steve Zakuani returned to the starting lineup following a two-match absence, starting in a wide role and playing 63 minutes.
- “I think we actually were the better team for the first part of the first half. It's not easy to come in here and do that in this environment, but we did. Again, it's a game where we just take the game for what it is,” said Zakuani. “We lost to a better team on the night, in the end, and we have to regroup for the game on Friday and also remember that at this point, it's about getting into the playoffs and we can still do that. We have to hold on to that hope.”
The Colorado Rapids made it three consecutive matches without defeat, coming back for a late 3-3 draw with the Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at PPL Park. The Rapids are in third place in the Western Conference with 27 points from 18 games.
The teams exchanged goals in a two-minute span to open the scoring. In the 16th minute, Union fullback Ray Gaddis picked out Conor Casey with a perfect cross to turn home, but Dillon Serna made two cuts to the inside then beat Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath with a low, driven shot just inside the post for the Rapids' equalizer.
The Union then took the lead with goals on either side of halftime. Sheanon Williams sent a glancing header off a Cristian Maidana corner kick perfectly in the side netting for a 31st minute lead, then Andrew Wenger put the Union up 3-1 in the 74th minute, tapping in through traffic after Amobi Okugo snuck a cross through the box.
But the match changed dramatically Michael Lahoud was shown a red card after a high challenge, and Dillon Powers converted the resulting penalty kick in the 79th minute.
Deshorn Brown capped the comeback seven minutes later with a terrific turn on a Gabriel Torres pass and a rocket just inside the post. Amobi Okugo was shown straight red by referee Sorin Stoica while walking off the field after the final whistle.
Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni made two changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Marc Burch came in at left back in place of Christopher Klute, and Dillon Serna entered the side in place of Vicente Sanchez.
- COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Marc Burch – Nick LaBrocca, Jared Watts (Marlon Hairston 78) – Kamani Hill (Carlos Alvarez 65), Dillon Powers, Dillon Serna (Gabriel Torres 83) – Deshorn Brown.
The Rapids have converted seven of eight penalty kicks this season, and scored goals from each spot kick (one goal came from a rebound from a saved penalty). The MLS record for penalty kick goals in a season is nine, set four times previously, last by the Montréal Impact in 2012.
“I think overall the most important thing is the character that the guys showed to come back,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said. “That’s the overwhelming feeling I’ve got from this game. Obviously, we have a long ways to go … but the ability and the mindset to overcome all of those things and find your way into a result is tremendous for this team moving forward.”
Dillon Powers had a goal and an assist in the same time for the fourth time in 46 career MLS matches in the draw with Philadelphia. It was the third time this season he had been involved in two goals in the same match.
“I think that the guys in the midfield did a good job of getting him the ball in Powers and Nicky [LaBrocca]. The guys that came on the field should be attributed and did a tremendous job of making an impact and we’re definitely catalysts for the game,” Mastroeni said.
Gabriel Torres made just his second substitute appearance in the last nine matches, totaling just nine minutes overall, and contributed his first assist of the season.
“I think it’s a really tight group and we’ve had a ton of games so it’s about how to get the guys the field to contribute and I think Gabi did a great job,” said Mastroeni. “He was focused and unlocked their defense with a couple of good passes, I think it’s a good confidence builder for Gabi. So we’ll sit down and look at our options moving forward but I’m really happy for him to come in and contribute the way he did.”
Deshorn Brown scored his sixth goal of the season, his first in four matches this season. He has 16 goals in 48 league matches in his two seasons in MLS.
“I think that Deshorn is one of the more dangerous forwards in the league, you’re going to have moments where things aren’t going your way,” said Mastroeni. “But the mindset to be able to make good on one opportunity and really make a difference in the game says a lot about who he is as a person, he doesn’t give up, he keeps working hard and that’s the mentality that I think all the guys who stepped on the field had.”
Carlos Alvarez made his Rapids debut after his acquisition from Chivas USA, coming off the substitutes’ bench for the final 25 minutes.
“I think he did a good job of coming in and finding the game. It’s tough to come into that kind of game where it’s heated and feisty, he found a way to get the ball and slow it down. He really made some good passes and was a threat going forward,” said Mastroeni. “So I think Carlos did a great job, I think Gabi did a great job, and I think Marlon coming in up front and really getting forward also did a really nice job.”
The Rapids will be without center back Shane O’Neill for the Portland match after he was given a one-match ban in a ruling by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
- “I think that set pieces should be the easiest thing to defend, because the ball is static when you’re defending it, so that’s a concentration issue," Mastroeni said. "I think what we’re discovering is that we are our most dangerous opponents when we have the ball. When we have good possession and we’re pushing teams back, we can’t be loose with our touches, [because] everyone is going to be pulled out of position. So like I said, it’s a bit naïve from us, and it’s going to be a part of our development, and we have to get better at it.”
REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Corey Rockwell; 4th: Ted Unkel
Elfath MLS Career: 32 games; FC/gm: 25.2; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 9; pens: 11
SUSPENDED: COL: Vicente Sanchez (through July 20); Nick LaBrocca (caution accumulation; through July 20); Shane O’Neill (through July 20)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Pa Modou Kah
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Norbetto Paparetto, Will Johnson … COL: Shane O’Neill
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Timbers 3 wins, 8 goals … Rapids 5 wins, 14 goals … Ties 1
AT PORTLAND (4 meetings): Timbers 3 wins, 5 goals … Rapids 1 win, 1 goal … Ties 0
FUTURE MATCH: 9/13: Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, 7 p.m. MT
3/22: COL 2, POR 0 (Sanchez 73; Brown 75)
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Vicente Sánchez converted a penalty kick and Deshorn Brown knocked home a rebound from a saved penalty just two minutes apart late in the second half when the Rapids took a 2-0 victory March 22 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
- The Rapids haven’t scored a goal in Portland on their last three visits, since a 1-0 win in 2011 in their first-ever game in the Rose City. The Timbers have won their last three home games in the series.
- The Rapids have never lost at home to Portland. They have won four of the five encounters all-time in Commerce City following the win this season.
- Coaches' records: Caleb Porter vs. COL: P4 W2 L1 D1 … Pablo Mastroeni vs. POR: P1 W1 L0 D0
LAST MEETING (MLS)
- The Rapids took the lead midway through the second half. A ball played over the top ball from Dillon Powers drew Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts off his line, and after he caught Deshorn Brown with his tackle in the area, he was shown a red card. Vicente Sanchez coolly converted for his second penalty-kick goal in the 73rd minute.
- Barely a minute later, substitute goalkeeper Andrew Weber clipped Sanchez in the area as he raced onto another Powers feed, and referee Mark Geiger again pointed to the spot. Deshorn Brown took the resulting penalty kick and saw it saved by Weber, but Brown was able to bang in the rebound.
- Rapids midfielder Jose Mari saw a second yellow in the 90th minute, evening the sides at 10 men apiece, but Portland was unable to work its way back into the match.
- COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): John Berner - Shane O'Neill, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Marc Burch - Jose Mari (ejected 90), Nick LaBrocca - Deshorn Brown, Dillon Powers (Kamani Hill 86), Vicente Sanchez (Marvin Chavez 80) - Edson Buddle (Gabriel Torres 79).
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-2-3): Donovan Ricketts (ejected 71) - Jack Jewsbury (Alvas Powell 79), Pa Modou Kah, Mamadou Danso, Michael Harrington - Diego Chara - Will Johnson, Diego Valeri - Darlington Nagbe, Gaston Fernandez, Steve Zakuani (Maximiliano Urruti 65).