Columbus Crew vs. Portland Timbers | MLS Match Preview

COLUMBUS CREW vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio
July 7, 2013 (WEEK 19, MLS Game #173)
5 p.m. ET (FS-OH; ROOT-NW)

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The Columbus Crew return home with a massive task ahead of them, cooling off the Portland Timbers when the two clubs meet Sunday afternoon at Crew Stadium. The Crew saw their losing streak extended to three games in a difficult loss at midweek, the LA Galaxy scoring two late penalty kicks for a 2-1 win at StubHub Center. The Timbers return to league play after a weekend off, their undefeated streak now at 15 MLS games, following a 3-0 home win against the Colorado Rapids.

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REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. AR1 (bench): Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite): Eric Proctor; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 98 games; FC/gm: 25.0; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 33; pens: 24

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Federico Higuain, Jairo Arrieta, Tyson Wahl, Kevan George ... POR: Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Will Johnson, Ben Zemanski, Diego Chara
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CLB: Jairo Arrieta (CRC) ... POR: Will Johnson (CAN), Rodney Wallace (CAN), Frederic Piquionne (MTQ)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME
(3 meetings): Crew 1 win, 1 goal ... Timbers 1 win, 1 goal ... Ties 1
AT COLUMBUS (1 meeting): Crew 1 win, 1 goal ... Timbers 0 wins, 0 goals ... Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS)
5/5: CLB 0, POR 0

  • The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
  • The teams have evenly split their three meetings all-time. Each team won 1-0 at home in Portland's inaugural MLS season, then the teams played to a scoreless draw last year in their only encounter.
  • Coaches record: Robert Warzycha vs. POR: P3 W1 L1 D1 ... Caleb Porter vs. CLB: first game

COLUMBUS CREW

The Columbus Crew went down to a third consecutive loss in bitter circumstances, the LA Galaxy scoring two late penalty kicks for a 2-1 win Thursday at StubHub Center. The Crew are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 20 points from 18 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Crew took the lead in the 78th minute. Federico Higuain put in a free kick from near midfield and Bernardo Anor, just inside the Galaxy box, got his head to it and looped it over Galaxy 'keeper Carlo Cudicini into the upper-right corner.
  • But the Galaxy took the points thanks to two penalty kicks. In the 85th minute, Jose Villarreal tumbled after taking a through ball from Marcelo Sarvas and going down after pushing it past Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. Robbie Keane fired the spot kick into the lower-right corner.
  • Then in stoppage time, referee Sorin Stoica again pointed to the spot after Anor was called for pushing down Keane as he awaited a cross from Colin Clark. Keane again finished with a low shot inside the right post for the winner.
  • Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made two changes to the team that suffered a 3-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. Matias Sanchez and Ben Speas came into the team for Tyson Wahl and Jairo Arrieta.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Josh Williams, Danny O'Rourke, Chad Marshall, Chad Barson - Bernardo Anor, Matias Sanchez (Konrad Warzycha 66), Kevan George, Ben Speas (Ethan Finlay 66) - Federico Higuain, Dominic Oduro (Tony Tchani 90).

TEAM NEWS

  • The loss was the third in a row for the Crew, their longest losing streak of the season. Since the start of May, the Crew are 2-6-2, and have fallen from fifth place in the Eastern Conference to eighth.
  • "We went up a goal so we tried to put some guys in different positions but today they stood up and then they played very well," said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. "In the end we gave up two penalties but the defense was tremendous."
  • The Crew conceded two penalty kick goals in a game for second time in club history, and the first time in 16 years. The only other occasion was a 4-2 loss at D.C. United on July 31, 1997; the Crew have conceded two penalties on two other occasions (Sept. 19, 1998 v COL; June 6, 2004 v NE), but both times their opponents converted just one.
  • "Andy [Gruenebaum] said he got a hand on the first one," Warzycha said. "Bernardo was jumping for the ball. He wasn't trying to push the guy. It was shoulder-to-shoulder. Too bad they both happened at the end of the game."
  • Said Danny O'Rourke: "When you get a lead, you have to do a better job of defending it."
  • Federico HiguaÌn collected an assist for a second consecutive game, and now has five assists on the season. Of HiguaÌnís five assists, three have come on deadball deliveries (two from free kicks, one from a corner).
  • In the starting lineup for a fourth consecutive match, his only four league starts of the season, Bernardo Anor scored his first goal of the campaign. Anor has scored one goal in each of his three MLS seasons.
  • "Higuainís been serving in good balls all year and Bernardo (Anor) found himself in a good spot with a good snap header from inside the 18 (yard box) and it was a great boost for us," said Ethan Finlay. "It's unfortunate we dropped two late penalties but itís the nature of the game."
  • Ben Speas returned to the starting lineup for the first time in two matches. He was taken off at the three-quarter mark in favor of Finlay, who had his longest shift in a league game since playing 27 minutes on March 16 vs. San Jose.
  • For the first time this season, Danny O'Rourke dropped in central defense alongside Chad Marshall, with Gla˙ber out for the remainder of the season following knee surgery. Josh Williams shifted to his more usual right back spot after three games at center back.
  • "When you sustain pressure for pretty much 90 minutes straight and to hold as long as they did itís a true testament to what we have as a team and we need to find a way to take pressure off those guys," said Finlay. "Josh [Williams] and Chad [Marshall] and Danny [O'Rourke] played really great tonight. Danny was really solid for us tonight at the back as well as [Chad] Barson, so those guys were tremendous for us and kept us in the game."

PORTLAND TIMBERS

The Portland Timbers are reaching rarefied air with their undefeated streak, now at 15 games after their last league match, a 3-0 win against the Colorado Rapids on June 22 at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers are in a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 30 points from 17 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Timbers jumped into the lead in the 12th minute. Rodney Wallace broke free down the left flank off a quickly-taken restart and fired a cross into the box for Frederic Piquionne, whose header beat Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin to the top of the goal.
  • Portland struck again just before halftime when Wallace came down with a flicked-on goal kick, held the ball at the left corner of the box and found a charging Will Johnson. The Timbers captain popped the ball up in the air to get past the Colorado defense and then launched a left-footed shot past Irwin to the far corner.
  • Portland put the game away in the 84th minute when Ryan Johnson buried a Wallace cross into an open goal after a Rapids turnover high up the field.
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made three changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Jack Jewsbury came into the back four for Michael Harrington, and Rodney Wallace and Frederic Piquionne came into the side in place of Kalif Alhassan and Ryan Johnson.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Ryan Miller, Pa Modou Kah, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Jack Jewsbury - Diego Chara, Will Johnson - Darlington Nagbe (Ben Zemanski 73), Diego Valeri (Kalif Alhassan 84), Rodney Wallace - Frederic Piquionne (Ryan Johnson 60).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Timbers extended their undefeated streak to 15 games with the victory against Colorado. The streak is tied for the fourth-longest in MLS history, and it's the second-longest within a single season (FC Dallas, 19 games, 2010).
  • "I think this team believes that theyíre one of the best teams in the league," Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. "When I looked in their eyes after the [Colorado game], theyíre happy but it looked like they expected it. I think that shows that we have a realistic belief in this club that we can be a realistic contender to compete for trophies here. I donít know about benchmarks, but weíre moving in the right direction and the biggest thing is that locker room believes that we can be one of the better teams in the league."
  • Frederic Piquionne scored his first MLS goal in Portlandís 3-0 victory against Colorado. Piquionne has a goal and four assists in the last five MLS games; in his last eight games in all competitions, he has six goals and five assists.
  • Rodney Wallace recorded three assists in the Colorado and took over the team lead, with five assists in league play to go along with his four goals.
  • "[Wallace is] having a breakout year; humble kid," Timbers captain Will Johnson said. "He found a position there on the left and has taken advantage of every opportunity. I think it goes without saying that weíre a better team when Rodney is on the field."
  • Said Wallace: "I think itís just confidence and feeding off the guys around you. I think we have a great team with a bunch of players, who make it easy for you to go out there and play a good game. I think that everybody on the team is playing on cue right now and just feeding off each other."
  • Will Johnson scored his team-leading sixth league goal, while also added a third assist on the season. It was the third time this season where heís been involved in multiple goals in a game.ìItís good. It gets even tougher now. No more flying under the radar, we've made too many statements. People know we're a good team and we're going to get everybodyís best shot now. We've got to be ready for it," Johnson said.
  • Following the league match, the Timbers reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup for the first time and extended their unbeaten streak to 18 games in all competitions, coming back for a 3-2 win against FC Dallas in a fourth-round match in Frisco. The Timbers came back from a one-goal deficit as Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri and Frederic Piquionne scored within a 12-minute span.
  • "I feel like it's becoming a habit, not losing," Nagbe said. "And if we continue to make it a habit, well be in great shape because we have good players and a good coach and a good organization and we just have to keep moving forward."
  • Here's the Timbers team: Donovan Ricketts, Ryan Miller, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Pa Modou Kah (Mamadou Danso 83), Jack Jewsbury, Darlington Nagbe (Ben Zemanski 74), Diego Chara, Diego Valeri, Will Johnson, Rodney Wallace, Ryan Johnson (Frederic Piquionne 57).
  • Ahead of their return to league play, the Timbers defeated Monarcas Morelia 1-0 in a friendly at midweek at JELD-WEN Field. The lone goal came from a Futty Danso penalty kick; Morelia played the second half with 10 men.
  • ï Hereís the Timbers team: Milos Kocic, Sal Zizzo, Rauwshan McKenzie, Futty Danso, Ryan Miller (Anthony Machionne*, 71), Steven Evans, Michael Nanchoff, Ben Zemanski (Foster Langsdorf*, 46), Kalif Alhassan (Anthony Hobbs^, 46), Jose Valencia (Jesse Garcia*, 72), Sebastian RincÛn