Date: Sunday, April 12, 2015
Kickoff: 2 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Providence Park (Portland, Ore.) Forecast: Scattered Showers, 58 degrees
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referees: Chris Strickland, Eduardo Mariscal Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo
National TV: ESPN2/ESPN Deportes (Spanish)
Talent: Adrian Healey (play-by-play), Taylor Twellman (analyst), Monica Gonzalez (reporter)
English Radio: 750 The Game (KXTG 750AM, 102.9FM) Talent: Keith Bleyer (play-by-play), Ross Smith (analyst)
Spanish Radio: La GranD (KGGD 93.5FM, 1150 AM)
Talent: Josue del Castillo (play-by-play), Ozkar Ramos (analyst)
Portland enters Sunday’s match unbeaten in its last seven matches at Providence Park (4-0-3), dating back to the final four home contests of the 2014 regular season. During that stretch, the Timbers have outscored their opponents 14-6, posting four shutouts, while having surrendered just three goals in their last six home matches. Kicking off the 2015 season presented by Simple, Portland has kept two clean sheets in four home matches, while holding opponents to just three goals. MLS expansion side Orlando City SC enters Sunday’s match following a stoppage-time loss against D.C. United on April 3. Head coach Adrian Heath’s side makes its first trip to Portland with a three-match winless streak following a 2-2 draw at Montreal (March 28) and a 1-0 loss against Vancouver (March 21).
LAST MATCH RECAP
The Timbers received goals from three players, topping previously unbeaten Western Conference side FC Dallas 3-1 as defender Nat Borchers, forward Maximiliano Urruti and midfielder Diego Chara all scored for the Timbers in front of a sold-out crowd of 21,144 fans on April 4 at Providence Park. Borchers vaulted Portland into an early lead with a goal in the 23rd minute, while Urruti netted a goal in the 62nd minute and Chara capped the scoring for Portland in the 87th minute. CONSECUTIVE REGULAR-SEASON HOME SELLOUTS: 71
ALL-TIME SERIES NOTES
Sunday’s match marks Portland’s first-ever meeting against MLS-expansion side Orlando City SC. Founded in 2010, Orlando City SC began play as a second-division side in USL in 2011 and won the league championship in their first season. Following a highly successful run in USL, including league championships in 2011 and 2013, Orlando City SC moved to Major League Soccer for the 2015 season along with fellow expansion side New York City FC. Portland did match up against the Orlando City U-23s in the fourth round of the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on June 17, 2014, at Providence Park. A brace from midfielder Gastón Fernández and defender Taylor Peay’s first professional goal helped lead the Timbers to a 3-0 win.
SCOUTING ORLANDO CITY
Orlando City SC enters Major League Soccer for its first season in 2015. The expansion side has earned five points (1-2-2 overall) through its first five MLS games, but enters Sunday’s match on a three-match winless streak following a stoppage-time loss against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on March 21, a 2-2 draw at Montreal on March 28 and another stoppage-time loss on April 3 against D.C. United. Head coach Adrian Heath’s roster features several standout players including FIFA World Cup-winning midfielder Kaká as well as U.S. Men’s National Team defender/midfielder Brek Shea. Entering Sunday’s match at Portland, Kaká leads Orlando City SC with two goals and one assist, while 6-foot-4 midfielder Pedro Ribeiro has logged one goal and one assist. Orlando City claimed its first-ever win in MLS with a 1-0 victory on the road against the Houston Dynamo on March 13. Before MLS, Orlando City spent the 2011-14 seasons as a second-division club. Originally called the Austin Aztex (2008-10), the franchise was relocated to Orlando after the 2010 second-division season.
BACK IN THE DAY
For the past four seasons, Orlando City was one of the top teams in the second division, winning the league on two occaisions (2011, 2013) and compiling a record of 67-12-23. But before moving to Orlando prior to the 2011 season, the club played two seasons as the Austin Aztex from 2009-10 and took on the second-division Timbers five times.
Dating back to 2009, the Timbers compiled a mark of 2-1-2 against the Aztex before the club moved to Orlando and Portland moved up to Major League Soccer ahead of the 2011 season. The clubs squared off for the first time on July 11, 2009, as the Timbers earned a 2-1 win on the road. Their final meeting came on Aug. 26, 2010, when the two clubs played to a 1-1 draw at Providence Park (then called PGE Park).
While no players who played in those matches remain on the active roster of either team, there are several connections that still stand between the clubs. Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson served as the Portland’s head coach (and GM) during all five meetings against Austin. Former Timbers defender and current assistant coach Cameron Knowles appeared in the first meeting in 2009, while Timbers broadcast analyst Ross Smith played in two matches for Portland against Austin during the 2010 season. For Austin, head coach Adrian Heath coached all five matches against the Timbers. Heath has remained with the organization and returns to Portland with Orlando City SC on Sunday.
Orlando City SC features a familiar face in goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. The 37-year-old goalkeeper made 73 regular-season appearances for the Timbers from 2012-14. Orlando City SC selected Ricketts with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft on Dec. 10, 2014.
SPREAD THE LOVE
In 2015, the Timbers have had an array of contributors on the offensive end with nine different players having either a goal or an assist for the club. No other team in MLS has as many, with Toronto FC having the second most with eight. Leading the way is forward Fanendo Adi, who has three goals and one assist for the Timbers.
FIRST FIVE GAMES
Portland’s record of 1-1-3 (6pts) through the season’s first five games is identical to its 2013 record through the first five games, when the Timbers finished with the best record in the Western Conference and reached the Western Conference Finals against Real Salt Lake. In 2014, Portland started 0-2-3 (3pts) through its first five matches.
Entering the week, Timbers defender Alvas Powell leads all players in MLS with 21 tackles. A Jamaican international, Powell has played all 90 minutes in each of Portland’s first five matches.
The Timbers have had six players play every minute of the club’s matches so far this season. No other team in MLS has had as many players play every minute of their team’s matches in 2015. Liam Ridgewell, Adam Kwarasey, Nat Borchers, Jorge Villafaña, Alvas Powell and Darlington Nagbe have each gone the full 90 in Portland’s five matches.
YARTEY ACQUIRED ON LOAN
On March 26, the Timbers acquired Ghanaian winger Ishmael Yartey on loan with a transfer option from Swiss Super League club FC Sion. Yartey, 25, has made 27 league appearances while on loan with Swiss Super League side FC Sion since the 2013-14 season. Prior to joining FC Sion on loan, Yartey made 15 appearances for French Ligue 1 side FC Sochaux-Montbéliard, with whom he signed for in 2012. Yartey has joined the team and trained this week.
Darlington Nagbe will make his 132nd career MLS appearance for the Timbers should he see action on Saturday. The Timbers MLS career-leader in games played, Nagbe will tie USL Timbers midfielder Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar (2002-06) for fifth place on the team’s all-time list across all eras.
With a shot on goal Sunday, Nagbe will reclaim the Timbers MLS career lead in shots on goal. He is currently tied with midfielder Diego Valeri, each with 68 career shots on goal for the Timbers in the MLS era.
Midfielder/forward Rodney Wallace is moving closer to the 10,000 minutes played milestone for his MLS career. The 26-year-old enters Saturday’s match with 9,828 minutes played, including 6,639 of those minutes with the Timbers since 2011. Wallace needs just 172 more minutes - or nearly two more full games - to reach the milestone.
Sunday’s match features two of the top passing teams in Major League Soccer. Entering the week, Portland ranks fifth in MLS with 1,955 passes attempted (average of 391 per match) and 1,501 passes completed. Orlando City SC leads the league with 2,305 passes attempted (461 per match) and 1,891 passes completed. In the final third, Portland ranks fifth with 399 successful passes, while Orlando City is third overall (424).
PUSHING THROUGH THE FOULS
Portland ranks second overall in the league in dribbles completed (53), according to Opta. The stat tracks moments when an individual player successfully dribbles around an opponent while retaining possession. Defender Alvas Powell (15) and midfielder Darlington Nagbe (15) are tied for second in the league behind FC Dallas’ Fabian Castillo (21). Highlighting the stat is the fact that the Timbers are the second-most fouled team in MLS (82). Only Orlando City (84) has suffered more fouls more than the Timbers this season. Nagbe has been fouled 18 times (second-most in MLS), while forward Fanendo Adi ranks fifth in the league, suffering 13 fouls.
Showcasing the team’s ability to get forward during games, the Timbers rank first in MLS with 30 corner kicks, while also placing second among all teams with 24 shots on goal. Portland also ranks fourth among league leaders in total shots (60).
ON THE NATIONAL STAGE
The Timbers know how to put on a show for national television - combining with opponents for an average of 3.2 goals per game on national broadcasts since the 2011 season.