Preview: Union back in action against rested Timbers

Philadelphia Union continue their three-game homestand when they meet the Portland Timbers for the second time this season, Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union are coming off a wild game at midweek, storming back from a three-goal deficit for a 4-4 draw with the New England Revolution in a rescheduled game. The Timbers are coming off back-to-back home wins, last a 1-0 defeat of Chivas USA.

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REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): Adam Wienckowski; JAR (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Daniel Fitzgerald
MLS Career: 9 games; FC/gm: 23.4; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 3; pens: 4

INJURY REPORT: PHILADELPHIA UNION – OUT: GK Faryd Mondragon (R finger fracture); FW Levi Houapeu (L ankle strain); PROBABLE: MF Brian Carroll (R foot contusion) …

PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: GK Adin Brown (concussion); DF Mamadou Danso (R hamstring strain); DF Kevin Goldthwaite (L knee ACL rupture); FW Eddie Johnson (concussion); FW Spencer Thompson (R knee); PROBABLE: GK Troy Perkins (R hip soreness)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Danny Califf, Brian Carroll … POR: Mike Chabala, Rodney Wallace
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Danny Mwanga, Sheanon Williams … POR: Diego Chara, James Marcelin

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME: Timbers 1 win, 1 goal …Union 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
•    In the first meeting between the teams, Futty Danso scored the game’s only goal to give the Timbers the victory at Jeld-Wen Field on May 6.
•    Coaches record: Peter Nowak v POR: P1 W0 L1 D0 … John Spencer vs. PHI: P1 W1 L0 D0

LAST MEETING (MLS)
5/6: POR 1, PHI 0 (Danso 71)
•    The game's lone goal came in the 71st minute. Jack Jewsbury curled in a free kick service for Mamadou "Futty" Danso to head home between Union ‘keeper Faryd Mondragón and the upright.
•    PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-3-2): Troy Perkins - Jeremy Hall, Eric Brunner, Mamadou Danso, Rodney Wallace – Diego Chara – Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo 57), Jack Jewsbury, Kalif Alhassan (James Marcelin 81) - Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Ryan Pore 92+).
•    PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Faryd Mondragon - Michael Farfan, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams, Gabriel Farfan (Kyle Nakazawa 64) - Justin Mapp (Roger Torres 78), Amobi Okugo (Jack McInerney 78), Brian Carroll, Sebastien Le Toux - Danny Mwanga, Carlos Ruiz.

PHILADELPHIA UNION
Philadelphia Union had their winless streak extended to seven games but still came away with a remarkable point, coming back from a three-goal deficit in the second half before concluding with a 4-4 draw with the New England Revolution on Wednesday night at PPL Park. Union have 35 points from 26 matches on the year, in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH
•    The Revolution opened the lead after just nine minutes when rookie A.J. Soares headed home a free kick from near the right corner flag from Chris Tierney. Then 12 minutes later, the lead was 2-0 when Stefani Miglioranzi was whistled for a foul on New England's Rajko Lekic just inside the penalty area, and then deposited the ensuing penalty kick.
•    The Revs made it 3-0 in the 26th minute when Tierney put in another cross, this time from the left touchline, and found the head of an unmarked Moncef Zerka to nod home with ease. But Union a goal back just two minutes later when Roger Torres made a quick cutback at the edge of the area and blasted a shot past Revs goalkeeper Matt Reis.
•    But in the 33rd minute, New England again made the lead three as Benny Feilhaber took a pass from Lekic just outside the box and drove a long-range shot past a diving Zac MacMath into his bottom right-hand corner of the net.
•    Union began their fightback in the 54th minute, when Danny Mwanga sprung Adu into the box with a well-weighted pass at the end of a long move, and the midfielder calmly took touch before netting from a tight angle on the left. Union then made it 4-3 when Le Toux was taken down in the box while going for a header, and he buried his own penalty kick.
•    The comeback was completed two minutes into stoppage time. Carlos Valdes pushed the ball back into the mixer in the area, Veljko Paunovic deflected it back, and Le Toux thumped a volley inside the right-hand post for the tying goal.
•    Union manager Peter Nowak made six changes to the team that lost 2-1 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Zac MacMath started in goal for the injured Faryd Mondragon, Gabriel Farfan came in for brother Michael at fullback, and Carlos Valdes came back from suspension while Freddy Adu, Brian Carroll and Roger Torres came into midfield in place of Amobi Okugo, Justin Mapp, Kyle Nakazawa and Danny Mwanga.
•    PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Danny Califf, Gabriel Farfan (Michael Farfan 46) - Freddy Adu, Stefani Miglioranzi (Danny Mwanga 46), Brian Carroll, Roger Torres (Justin Mapp 72) - Sebastien Le Toux, Veljko Paunovic.

TEAM NEWS
•    It was the fifth time in MLS history a club overcame a deficit of three goals to gain a point, matching the largest in MLS history – and the second this season (also: Vancouver 4, Kansas City 4, April 2). All five matches ended in draws, though the first – a May 4, 1996 meeting between the MetroStars and Tampa Bay, concluded with a shootout win for the Mutiny.
•    “I am not upset about the chances our team had. I was upset about how easy we gave up the goals rather than not scoring. We created some good chances and that’s all it was. We gave up some chances and they scored. It is not only the good looks but it is not closing out or focus,” said Union manager Peter Nowak. “But there is nothing we could do. We should have beaten them in the first place. It is mixed emotions from being three down to scoring all those goals and tying the game and still giving ourselves a chance to win the game.”
•    Sebastien Le Toux has scored five goals in the last four games. He has three in the last two games – all from run of play, after his first three goals this season came from the penalty spot. “We need him to score goals,” Danny Califf said. “We need that steady presence, the guy we can count on to score goals. It’s nice he’s able to be that and hopefully he can continue that scoring streak.”
•    “I think it’s good for me,” Le Toux said. “My teammates joke around with me, especially Stefani Miglioranzi, that in the last 10 games I’m going to score every game and help the team the best I can like I didn’t do at the beginning of the season. I hope this is the case.”
•    For the first time since coming to Philadelphia Union, Freddy Adu played the full 90 minutes, making his second start in four MLS appearances since his return.
•    “I was pleased with his movement all game. He had a big goal to get us back in the game,” said Nowak. “It was a good day for Freddy. As you saw at the end of game he was cramping but as I told you guys he is still not physically there yet. But we will watch him each day and monitor him and get him stronger and make sure he will recover fully before we throw him back out there.”
•    Adu’s goal was his first in MLS since May 20, 2007, when he scored for Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas.
•    Making his first MLS start, Zac MacMath allowed four goals in the first half. He kept a clean sheet in his full professional debut, coming on at halftime in the 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake.
•    “It was tough. He let four pieces behind him in the first half but not all were completely on him. But, he came out strong in the second half and played well,” Nowak said.
•    While Carlos Valdes came back from suspension and played 90 minutes, Michael Farfan – who started vs. RSL – came in for Gabriel at halftime, after the two had again changed roles.
•    “I was very happy with all of our fullbacks. We shuffled the defensive line in the second half to push some players forward,” Nowak said. “Califf has been a rock back there and has been playing strong for weeks. Valdes is very stable and great back there. Our defenders are playing great and they just had a couple mistakes tonight.”

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers won for a second consecutive match at their home ground, defeating Chivas USA 1-0 on Wednesday evening at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers have 32 points from 26 games, now in sixth place in the Western Conference.
LAST MATCH
•    The game's lone goal came a minute before the halftime break. Eric Brunner rose above Chivas defender Heath Pearce to meet a Mike Chabala corner kick perfectly at the near post, driving his header past Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy inside the back stick.
•    Timbers coach John Spencer made one change to the team that defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-1 at Jeld-Wen Field. Eric Brunner returned to central defense, in place of Mamadou Danso.
•    PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Lovel Palmer, David Horst, Eric Brunner, Mike Chabala - Sal Zizzo (Darlington Nagbe 80), Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Kalif Alhassan (Rodney Wallace 84) - Jorge Perlaza, Kenny Cooper (Eric Alexander 71).

TEAM NEWS
•    The Timbers return to action after having their game at D.C. United, scheduled for Aug. 27, postponed because of Hurricane Irene. The game has been rescheduled for Wed., Oct. 19 at RFK Stadium.
•    The Timbers have won back-to-back games for the third time in league play since coming to MLS. They have yet to win three in a row.
•    “We're just learning what is required to be successful in this league,” said Timbers head coach John Spencer. “I think we've grown up quickly this year. I think we grew up after we had that slump and I think we came out at the (other) end of the tunnel and I think we've grown up a little bit."
•    The Timbers now face back-to-back road games, and have four of their next six games away from Jeld-Wen Field.
•    "I think that we're formidable at home at times. We need to, now, after the last two performances, get on the road to D.C. and try and put in a good performance there so that we stay in this position,” said Spencer. “We've got as good a chance as anybody for the eighth, ninth, and 10th positions. I don't think we're hanging on for the 10th spot. We've got a couple of good games coming up here at home and if we perform the way we did in the first half tonight we'll give teams a good run for their money."
•    Officially, the Timbers have scored 12 goals from set pieces – three from corner kicks, one directly from a free kick, and eight from free kick services. Another three goals have come from penalty kicks. In addition, two own goals scored by Portland opponents have started with deadball situations.
•    "I watched their game and they gave up two goals on crosses against Colorado. I just felt that we had a slight advantage height-wise in the box and decided to have two in-swinging corners into the six to see how they dealt with it," Spencer said.
•    Eric Brunner scored his third league goal this season, and fourth in all competitions, and all have come on set-piece opportunities. In games when Brunner has scored, the Timbers have won all four and not allowed a goal.
•    The Timbers have scored 26 goals at Jeld-Wen Field, tied with Houston for the most goals scored at home this season. But on the road, they’ve scored just seven times – tied with Real Salt Lake for fewest in MLS.
•    "The road is tough. I think you can see it with all the teams, their home records are better. It could be the travel, it could be a lot of things, but we've just got to focus on putting that all behind us and get a good result," said midfielder Sal Zizzo.
•    Since coming into the starting lineup onJuly 30, David Horst has seen the Timbers concede just seven goals while posting a 3-2-2 record.
•    “I just think I bring something different than some of the other guys bring,” Horst said. “I’m a little bit bigger than the other center backs. I bring a toughness to the defense back there. And when we play against bigger forwards like a [Eric] Hassli or [Juan Pablo] Ángel or those guys from Colorado, I think that’s what I bring to the table.”
•    Rodney Wallace scored his international goal, the margin of victory as Costa Rica defeated the USA 1-0 on Sept. 2 at The Home Depot Center. He then played 55 minutes in a 4-0 loss to Ecuador on Tuesday.
•    James Marcelin netted a goal for Haiti in a 6-0 World Cup qualifying rout of the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sept. 2, then scored again in the 4-2 win over Curaçao on Tuesday, also a CONCACAF qualifier.