Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids | MLS Match Preview

PORTLAND TIMBERS vs COLORADO RAPIDS
JELD-WEN FIELD, Portland, Ore.
June 23, 2013 (WEEK 17, MLS Game #151) 4 p.m. PT (NBC SN; TSN2)

The Portland Timbers will be looking continue their long undefeated run when they entertain the Colorado Rapids in a key Western Conference matchup on Sunday afternoon at Jeld-Wen Field before an NBC Sports Network audience. The Timbers stretched their unbeaten run to 14 games, one of the longest in MLS history, with a scoreless draw with the LA Galaxy at midweek. The Rapids continue their road swing off a second consecutive defeat, falling 2-1 to the Chicago Fire also at midweek.

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REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. AR1 (bench): Kevin Duliba; AR2 (opposite): Marco Arruda; 4th: Jesus Cisneros
MLS Career: 66 games; FC/gm: 27.4; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 8; pens: 7

DISABLED LIST: COL: Jaime Castrillon, Diego Calderón, Matt Pickens
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL: Hendry Thomas
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Will Johnson, Ben Zemanski, Diego Chara … COL: Shane O’Neill, Dillon Powers
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: COL: Shane O’Neill, Dillon Serna (both USA U-20)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 4 goals … Rapids 4 wins, 12 goals … Ties 1
AT PORTLAND (2 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 1 goal … Rapids 1 win, 1 goal … Ties 0
FUTURE MATCH: 9/20: Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids, 7 p.m. PT (NBCSN)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. A pair of goals from Will Johnson in the second half, the second from a penalty kick, overcame a two-goal Rapids lead to leave the teams in a 2-2 draw, March 30 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • Portland’s only win in the all-time series came last Aug. 31, a 1-0 home victory. The Rapids have won four of the six meetings all-time, with one draw.
  • Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. COL: P1 W0 L0 D1 … Oscar Pareja vs. POR: P4 W2 L1 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS)
3/30: COL 2, POR 2 (Powers 18; Thomas 48 – W. Johnson 55, 71)

  • The hosts broke through after a quarter-hour in stunning fashion. Cutting inside after a pass from defender Chris Klute, Dillon Powers unleashed a rocket of a shot from 20 yards out and found the far side of the goal past a helpless Donovan Ricketts.
  • The Rapids then doubled their lead three minutes after the second-half restart. Striker Tony Cascio drew a penalty as he faked a shot and was tripped by Diego Chará, and Hendry Thomas finished cleanly from the spot.
  • But the Timbers pulled a goal back in the 55th minute. After a corner kick was cleared, Ryan Johnson’s cross back into the box found an unmarked Will Johnson, and he easily headed home from short distance.
  • Portland completed the comeback in the 71st minute through an unlikely source. Colorado's Atiba Harris tried to clear a ball out of his own penalty area, but he clipped Portland’s David Horst in the chest in the process, and referee Drew Fischer pointed to the spot. Will Johnson finished from the mark, the Timbers' first penalty kick in more than a year, to leave the teams tied.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-1-3-2): Clint Irwin - Brian Mullan, Shane O'Neill, Marvell Wynne, Christopher Klute - Hendry Thomas - Nick LaBrocca (Kamani Hill 82), Dillon Powers, Tony Cascio (Danny Mwanga 72) - Deshorn Brown, Edson Buddle (Atiba Harris 61).
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-2-3): Donovan Ricketts - Ben Zemanski, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, David Horst, Michael Harrington - Jack Jewsbury (Rodney Wallace 64) – Diego Chara, Will Johnson - Diego Valeri, Ryan Johnson (Kalif Alhassan 88), Darlington Nagbe (Frederic Piquionne 46).

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers continued their long undefeated streak, now at 14 matches following a scoreless draw with the LA Galaxy on Wednesday evening at StubHub Center. The Timbers are in a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 27 points from 16 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • There were few chances to score in the contest. Galaxy fullback Sean Franklin came closest when he hit the post.
  • Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was called upon to make four saves, as was Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made two changes to the team that defeated FC Dallas 1-0 at Jeld-Wen Field. Ryan Miller came into the back four in place of Jack Jewsbury, and Ryan Johnson returned to the team in place of Frederic Piquionne.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Ryan Miller, Pa Modou Kah, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Michael Harrington - Diego Chara, Will Johnson - Kalif Alhassan (Sal Zizzo 88), Diego Valeri (Frederic Piquionne 67), Darlington Nagbe - Ryan Johnson (Ben Zemanski 81).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Timbers have kept clean sheets in back-to-back games and in four of their last six league contests. They now have seven shutouts on the season, tied for second-most in MLS with Sporting KC (New England has 10).
  • The Timbers were shut out on the attacking end for just the second time this season, the other in a scoreless draw with New England on May 2.
  • “I think what’s great is that we lead the league in goals and everybody talks about our attacking side but we’re becoming a very good defensive team. I was most pleased with how we looked, how seasoned, how experienced we looked tonight,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “We look like a team that’s been together for years but the reality is we’ve only been together for six months. This is something we’ll certainly draw on, when we get in difficult situations like tonight we know we can get a result, we know we can buckle down.”
  • Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts has now recorded shutouts in three consecutive matches, missing the 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire while on international duty. Ricketts is riding a 306-minute shutout streak, the fourth longest in MLS this season, but his second-longest (he went 312 minutes without conceding, March 30-April 21).
  • “We were solid as a back four and the midfielders helped out because we knew that Landon and Robbie try to play deep then they come late. So we chased the runners with Diego Chara and we kept them in front of Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Kah and the outside backs,“ said Ricketts.
  • Said Jean-Baptiste: “What we did was something that a lot of center backs in this league haven’t done together. This whole backline is progressively getting better and better every game and we just showed today against the two best attackers in the league that we can handle them.”
  • Ryan Miller made his first start since March 9, when he started the opening two matches of the season in the back four. He had made just one league appearance since, a stoppage-time cameo on April 14 vs. San Jose.
  • “We knew that going into this game that for us to get a good result we needed [Andrew Jean-Baptiste] and [Pa Modou] Kah and Ryan Miller as well because they’re a part of our back four and I thought the entire back four played outstanding,” said Porter.
  • After five consecutive turns in the first XI in all competitions, Frederic Piquionne returned to the substitutes’ bench against the Galaxy. When he came in the 64th minute, he assumed the role as the spearhead striker in attack, with Ryan Johnson moving to a midfield role.
  • “You have to defend and you have to worry about who’s behind you and the outside backs. It’s different but it’s a mental thing that you got to turn it around and you got to change it and put in that work for the team,” Ryan Johnson said. “The team is the number one goal here and that’s the main goal that we have to think about individually, as players you have to do the little things to help the team out.”

READ: Goal of the Week: Timbers' Darlington Nagbe wins Week 16 award

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids lost for a second consecutive match, this time starting their road swing with a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Fire on Wednesday evening at Toyota Park. The Rapids are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 20 points from 16 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids took the lead in the 16th minute. Fire center back Austin Berry took a bad touch in midfield and speedy rookie Deshorn Brown pounced, stealing the ball and racing toward goal before beating goalkeeper Sean Johnson with an assured low finish.
  • But the home side pulled level in the 25th minute. After Colorado defender Marvell Wynne was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box, Mike Magee evened the score when he confidently chipped the resulting penalty kick into the back of the net.
  • Berry almost atoned for his mistake in the 43rd minute, but his back-post header was cleared off the line by Brian Mullan. Yet two minutes into the second half, Berry did give the Fire the lead and ultimately the win, when Jeff Larentowicz found him with a well-placed cross to the back post and he put home an angled header.
  • Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made two changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Jaime Castrillon and Martin Rivero came into the team, in place of Hendry Thomas and the suspended Atiba Harris.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Clint Irwin - Brian Mullan (German Mera 72), Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute - Jaime Castrillon (Tony Cascio 78), Nathan Sturgis, Dillon Powers, Martin Rivero (Danny Mwanga 55) - Deshorn Brown, Edson Buddle.

READ: Another game, another injury for Rapids midfielder Martin Rivero

TEAM NEWS

  • The Rapids conceded a pair of goals for a third consecutive match. That followed an eight-match span, from April 6-May 25, where they allowed just three goals total.
  • “We’re concerned about it for sure,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja, who was suspended for the match. “It’s something we were showing a lot of improvement for a lot of games, and now the last three that we have conceded goals, and that’s the main concern that we have. I think it’s a bunch of little things. We can’t point out just one, because when you attack or when you defend it’s a collective effort and we attack as a unit and defend as a unit.”
  • Deshorn Brown scored his third league goal of his rookie season, his first since converting a penalty kick April 13 vs. Chivas USA. His first goal as a professional, in the 1-1 draw vs. Real Salt Lake on March 16, was quite similar to the goal against Chicago.
  • “I think I’m doing pretty good and trying to get used to the league more and understand how to play a lot better so I will keep pushing myself,” said Brown. “Hopefully as time goes on, we progress and get ready for Portland on Sunday.”
  • With Shane O’Neill with the U.S. U-20 national team for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, Marvell Wynne again slotted into central defense alongside Drew Moor. Wynne then shifted to right back for the final 18 minutes when German Mera came on as a substitute. “We’ll have to evaluate that,” Pareja said. “Marvell is always an option [at right back], so we’ll see.”
  • With Hendry Thomas out through suspension, Dillon Powers dropping into a deeper-lying central midfield spot alongside Nate Sturgis.
  • “At this point we have learned our lessons and we cannot keep saying we deserve more. We just need to make it happen on the field,” said Pareja. “We have to get the points and the points sometimes you get the points by doing the small things all the time. I thought today we mostly were good and we had initiative but we still made some mistakes and it cost us.”
  • After making his season debut as a 65th-minute substitute at the weekend, Jaime Castrillón made his first start of 2013, coming into wide of the right of midfield.
  • Martín Rivero also made a return to the starting lineup after a two-match absence because of a foot injury, coming in on the other side of the midfield. But there was a concern after he was forced to leave the contest just 10 minutes into the second half.
  • “He felt some tightness in his quad. He’s a bit confused now – he’s not sure if it’s a knock there or a pull in his muscle. We’ll be waiting for the doctors,” said Pareja.