Preview: Portland aim to stay perfect at home vs. Crew

Preview - Portland vs. Columbus, May 21, 2011

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The Portland Timbers return home to again defend their undefeated Jeld-Wen Field record when they meet the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening. The Timbers are coming off a 1-1 draw at Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field in the resumption of their dynamic rivalry. The Crew are playing the second game of a two-game West Coast swing, coming off a 3-0 loss at San Jose that ended a seven-game unbeaten run.

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REFEREE: Edvin Jurisevic. SAR (bench): Colin Arblaster; JAR (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Tyler Ploeger
Jurisevic's MLS Career: 30 games; FC/gm: 21.7; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 3; pens: 4

INJURY REPORT: PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: FW Bright Dike (R Achilles rupture); GK Jake Gleeson (L elbow sprain); DOUBTFUL: FW Eddie Johnson (R Achilles tendinitis); DF Kevin Goldthwaite (L ankle); QUESTIONABLE: MF Adam Moffat (R gluteal contusion); PROBABLE: MF Jack Jewsbury (groin strain); MF Darlington Nagbe (groin strain); FW Brian Umony (R knee MCL sprain)

COLUMBUS CREW – OUT: MF Danny O'Rourke (L knee surgery); DF Josh Williams (R hip labral tear); FW Santiago Prim (R ankle sprain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Rodney Wallace
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Kevin Burns; Julius James

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME: First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 7/23: Columbus Crew vs. Portland Timbers, 8 p.m. ET
COACHES RECORD: John Spencer vs. CLB: first game … Robert Warzycha v POR: first game

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers made their first trip to face Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field in MLS play one to remember, coming back for a 1-1 draw Saturday evening. The Timbers have 14 points from 9 games, sitting in a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference.

PORTLAND TIMBERS - LAST MATCH
• Sounders FC took the lead in the 52nd minute. Roger Levesque lofted the ball forward to Fredy Montero, who outleaped two defenders to flick the ball on to Alvaro Fernández, who then had time to settle before lashing a left-footed shot inside Troy Perkins’ near post.
• But Portland pulled level from yet another set piece. In an almost instant replay of the goal against Philadelphia a week earlier, Jack Jewsbury lofted a free kick toward Mamadou Danso in the heart of the area, and the Gambian center nodded it into the net.
• Timbers coach John Spencer made no changes to his team for a second straight week, keeping the group that defeated Philadelphia Union 1-0 at Jeld-Wen Field.
• PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Jeremy Hall, Mamadou Danso, Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace - Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo 61), Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Kalif Alhassan - Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Ryan Pore 84).

PORTLAND TIMBERS - TEAM NEWS
• With four wins in four games, the Timbers are the only team remaining in MLS with a perfect home record. They are still looking for their first away win (0-3-2) after the tie in Seattle.
• “I’d like to think that we erased that question mark, that we can play on the road,” Timbers boss John Spencer said. “We’re a good team. … (Against Seattle), I think we proved we’re a bit of a lion.”
• For a second consecutive week, the Timbers scored their lone goal from a free kick delivery. It was the fifth goal (of 12 total) scored from a set piece by Portland; four of those have come on free kicks.
• “Talk about set pieces — I think there was 11 goals this weekend scored from set pieces in Major League Soccer,” Spencer said. “I think we’re going to call the league as soon as the training’s over and ask them to deduct David Beckham’s goal and Landon Donovan’s penalty kick and the other set pieces that were scored because it seems Seattle are not happy that teams like us can score goals from set pieces.”
• It was a third game in a row with an assist for Portland midfielder Jack Jewsbury, who has four for the season (in five games). Over the last 10 goals the Timbers have scored, Jewsbury (four assists) and Kalif Alhassan (four assists) have played a part in setting up seven of them.
• “Jack Jewsbury has been fantastic for us, that is why we brought him here and made him captain. He has lived up to everything and more,” Spencer said. “Jorge Perlaza has to be given credit. The runs he makes are on par with some of the top strikers of the world. We need to try to get him some more service throughout the match.”
• Defender Mamadou “Futty” Danso scored for a second consecutive week, getting his head onto the end of Jewsbury’s service. Four of the Timbers goals have been scored by defenders.
• “I’m very excited to get the goal. I have been here for two seasons and I understand the rivalry. We just wanted to win here and it is really an over-the-top feeling,” Danso said. We have been practicing free kicks all week. The ball was really just a 50-50 ball and I was able to make a play on it.”
• The Seattle goal snapped a 255-minute shutout streak for the Timbers, but it was also the fourth goal in a row conceded on the road by Portland.
• “We showed a lot of character,” Spencer said. “We go down a goal and I bet there’s a lot of people sitting at home thinking, ‘Here we go. Portland’s going to lose [by] three or four.’”

COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew had their undefeated streak put to an end at seven games, crashing to a 3-0 defeat by the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Crew have 13 points from 9 games on the season, starting the week in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference.

COLUMBUS CREW - LAST MATCH
• The Earthquakes took control of the match in the second half with three goals in the space of 12 minutes. San Jose opened the scoring when Ryan Johnson put in a cross from the left wing and Chris Wondolowski snuck in at the back post to volley home.
• The Quakes doubled the lead in the 59th minute when Steven Lenhart powered a header toward goal off a Joey Gjertsen corner kick that bounced off the back of Brandon McDonald and into the goal.
• Three minutes later, the lead was 3-0. Bobby Convey found Khari Stephenson through a dummy played by Lenhart as he was clattered into from behind, and Stephenson lashed home a shot from outside the box.
• Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made no changes to the team that came back for a 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC at Crew Stadium.
• COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): William Hesmer - Sebastian Miranda (Andres Mendoza 85), Chad Marshall, Julius James, Rich Balchan - Dejan Rusmir (Emmanuel Ekpo 76), Kevin Burns - Dilly Duka (Tommy Heinemann 66), Eddie Gaven, Robbie Rogers - Emilio Renteria.

COLUMBUS CREW - TEAM NEWS
• The loss in San Jose to start their two-game Western swing ended the Crew’s seven-game unbeaten streak (3-0-4).
• “It opened everybody’s eyes,” Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. “We can’t be that confident, thinking we’re that good. We have to keep working to improve.”
• The three goals scored by the Earthquakes matched the total conceded by Columbus in those seven games.
• “The goals they scored were very good,” Warzycha said. “The first was a cross we should have done better on. The second was a great run by Steven and the third was a great shot by Stephenson. Too bad they all happened in the same game.”
• It was the second time this season where the Crew had gone into halftime scoreless – then conceded three goals after the break. It happened in the season-opening 3-0 loss to D.C. United, after which Columbus went on a four-game shutout streak.
• “We just didn’t match their intensity. We had a lapse for about ten minutes and they finished their chances. It’s unfortunate. Overall, they didn’t have tons of chances, but they converted the ones that they got,” Crew defender Chad Marshall said.
• The Crew are undefeated at home, with three wins and two draws. But on the road, they have two losses and two draws in four matches, and have been outscored 7-2.
• “The most important thing on the road is not the physical side – it’s mentally,” Warzycha said. “We have to be stronger mentally to play away games. It’s a long season. To play away from home like we do at home is going to take a lot of time.”
• The Crew matched the MLS record for consecutive games failing to score in the first half from the start of a season, the nine games previously set by the Houston Dynamo in 2009. The all-time MLS record for consecutive games failing to score in the first half is 15 games, set by New England (2007-08).
• “We have to be more decisive, basically, with the last pass,” Warzycha said. “Whoever we have on the field — whether it’s two forwards, three forwards or two wingers and a forward — we’re creating chances but we’re not scoring the goals. The chances are very, very clear. We have to be sharper in front of the goal.”
• The Crew announced the signing of the club’s first Home Grown Player on Wednesday, forward Aaron Horton. A member of the Crew’s 2010 USL Super 20s national championship team, where he was named tournament MVP, Horton spent one season at the University of Louisville, in which the Cardinals advanced to the NCAA Men’s College Cup for the first time in school history and finished as the national runner-up.