Preview: Revs aim to bounce back against Portland

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION vs PORTLAND TIMBERS

GILLETTE STADIUM, Foxborough, Mass.

March 24, 2012 (WEEK 3, MLS Game #20)

4 p.m. ET (CSN-NE; ROOT-NW)

The New England Revolution return home for their Gillette Stadium bow for 2012, playing host to the Portland Timbers on Saturday afternoon. The Revolution went down to defeat in both games on their season-opening road swing, last a 3-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City. The Timbers are on the second game of a road swing of their own, kicking it off with a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas last Saturday.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Bill Dittmar; 4th: Daniel Fitzgerald
MLS Career: 59 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 12; pens: 9

COMPLETE GAME GUIDE (PDF)

INJURY REPORT: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION — OUT: DF Darrius Barnes (L calf strain); FW Zak Boggs (R ankle sprain); DF John Lozano (R hip flexor strain); MF Sainey Nyassi (R hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Benny Feilhaber (L peroneal strain); PROBABLE: MF Shalrie Joseph (R calf tightness); GK Matt Reis (L adductor soreness) … PORTLAND TIMBERS — OUT: DF Futty Danso (L foot fracture); DF David Horst (R hip surgery); FW Eddie Johnson (concussion); DOUBTFUL: MF Sal Zizzo (L ACL surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF James Marcelin (L hamstring strain); DF Steve Purdy (L hamstring strain); MF Franck Songoío (R knee sprain); PROBABLE: FW Jorge Perlaza (L Achilles tendinitis); DF Lovel Palmer (illness)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: POR: Jake Gleeson (NZL U-23)

SUSPENDED: NE: Stephen McCarthy (through March 25)

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Revolution 0 wins, 1 goal … Timbers 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 1

AT NEW ENGLAND (1 meeting): Revolution 0 wins, 1 goal … Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 1

LAST YEAR (MLS):

4/2: NE 1, POR 1 (McCarthy 22 ñ Jewsbury 38)

9/16: POR 3, NE 0 (Chara 9; Cooper 32; Nagbe 66)

  • This is the only league meeting of the season between the two teams.
     
  • The Timbers came away with a win and a draw in their two meetings with the Revolution in the club’s inaugural season. Portland 3-0 at Jeld-Wen Field; the teams played to a 1-1 tie, April 2 at Gillette Stadium.
     
  • Coaches record: Jay Heaps vs. POR: first game… John Spencer vs. NE: P2 W1 L0 D1

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

The New England Revolution concluded their two-game season-opening road swing with a second defeat, falling 3-0 to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. The Revolution are one of six teams in the Eastern Conference still looking for their first point.

LAST MATCH

  • The tenor of the match changed after just 14 minutes, when Revolution center back Stephen McCarthy was shown a straight red card for a foul on C.J. Sapong.
  • Graham Zusi was the first to take advantage of the man advantage, cleaning up in front of goal in the 28th minute. Kei Kamara sent in a ball from the right, and Zusi slid to shoot. New England goalkeeper Matt Reis did well to block, but the rebound fell to Zusi, who fired home while still on the ground.
  • The second goal came on another putback, this time by Kamara. Left winger Bobby Convey drove into the area and crossed to Kamara in the 39th minute. Reis blocked his first low shot, but Kamara pounced on the rebound and drove it home.
  • Sapong, starting at center forward with Teal Bunbury on U.S. U-23 national team duty, put the game away less than two minutes into the second half when he scored from point-blank range after left back Seth Sinovic pulled back a low pass from the byeline.
  • Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made three changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Chris Tierney came into the back four for John Lozano, and Lee Nguyen and Saer Sene were given their first MLS starts in place of Fernando Cardenas and Blake Brettschneider.

HIGHLIGHTS: SKC v NE

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-2-3-1): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston, A.J. Soares, Stephen McCarthy (sent off 14), Chris Tierney - Clyde Simms, Shalrie Joseph - Kelyn Rowe (Ryan Guy 46), Benny Feilhaber (Jeremiah White 61), Lee Nguyen - Saer Sene (Diego Fagundez 57).

TEAM NEWS

  • With injuries to Darrius Barnes and John Lozano heading into the Kansas City match, the red card to Stephen McCarthy ñ deputizing in a central defense role ñ was the turning point to the defeat.
  • “Going into the game, we knew we didn't have many options at center back,” Heaps said. “If you could have picked the one guy you didn't want to get red carded at that point, it was [McCarthy or A.J. Soares]. We just knew we had to have those guys play the entire game.”
  • With the expulsion, Shalrie Joseph moved from the center of midfield to partner Soares in central defense.
  • “The game was over from there, from when the referee made that decision and gave that red card,” Joseph said. “It changed the whole game, our whole game plan, our system and what we wanted to do. After that, we were just defending for our life and trying to hang on. We just couldn't do it tonight with 10 men.” Said Heaps: “You could put Shalrie in a lot of different places and he would do all right.”
  • The situation could be dire this weekend. Barnes and Lozano are still out, and McCarthy will sit his suspension. Newly signed center back Florian Lechner is also still awaiting receipt of his P-1 visa.
  • “We’re working on that and we’re looking at it,” Heaps said. “We just don’t want to rush and jump into conclusions but we’ll see how the injuries shake out and we’ll see how the week kind of unfolds. We have some ideas and we’re going to test them out throughout the week.”
  • Heaps could play with three in the back, or Chris Tierney could inside from left back. Tierney played centrally in U.S. Open Cup ties and a friendly vs. Manchester United.
  • “A.J. is very important,” said Heaps of Soares, who moved centrally after playing left back in the season opener. “He’s important not only for this game, but this entire season. He just continually has to be a vocal leader back there and someone who leads by example.”
  • The Revs will also likely be without midfielder Benny Feilhaber, who came off after an hour and is doubtful for the weekend with an ankle injury.
  • “We have to address the center back situation, but when you're talking about our midfield, that's one area where we feel we have some depth,” Heaps said. “Obviously, Benny's a classy player and someone that we lean on, but we don't want to get him out there and get him more injured. We have to be smart and pull him back a little bit.”
  • Saer Sene made his MLS debut in starting and playing the first 57 minutes. He missed out on the season opener with swelling in his knee.

PORTLAND TIMBERS

The Portland Timbers went on the road for the first time in their second season, coming away with a point in a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday evening at FC Dallas Stadium. The Timbers are tied for fourth in the Western Conference with 4 points from 2 games.

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. Carlos Rodriguez found FCD Academy product Bryan Levya on the right side of the Timbers area. Leyva fired a hard shot that was brushed away by Timbers 'keeper Troy Perkins, only to bounce to a wide-open Blas Perez waiting to put in the rebound.
  • Portland answered six minutes after the break. Darlington Nagbe, who came in for Jorge Perlaza to start the second half, collected a Daniel Hernandez turnover outside the penalty area and quickly slid it past FCD 'keeper Kevin Hartman for his first goal of the season.
  • Timbers head coach John Spencer made one change to the team that kicked off the season with a 3-1 win against Philadelphia Union at Jeld-Wen Field. Hanyer Mosquera made his MLS debut, coming into the back four in place of rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste.

HIGHLIGHTS: DAL v POR

PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Lovel Palmer, Hanyer Mosquera, Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace - Kalif Alhassan, Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, Eric Alexander (James Marcelin 77) - Jorge Perlaza (Darlington Nagbe 46), Kris Boyd.

TEAM NEWS

  • For the second time in as many matches, the Timbers overcame a deficit to come away with a result. In the season opener, Portland fell behind five minutes into the second half; they trailed at halftime to FC Dallas. A year ago, the Timbers took just one point out of eight games when trailing at halftime.
  • “Everyone came out with a lot of energy,” Darlington Nagbe said. “It’s as simple as that. The first half, we didn’t have as much energy. When we play with energy, we play well as a team. We had more energy the second half. Guys were buzzing around a little bit more after the first 30 minutes. We just came out there with more energy with them and we controlled the game.”
  • Nagbe was a halftime substitute and scored his first goal of the season. A year ago, he scored the MLS Goal of the Year ñ one of two league goals he scored in his rookie season.
  • “I just tried to stay calm and try not get tackled from behind and make sure I got a shot off,” Nagbe said. “It feels good. Hopefully I can keep it going. It’s a long season, and I have to keep remembering that.”
  • Said Spencer: “It’s a problem that every coach wants to have. You want all your forwards playing well and champing at the bit to get on the field and score goals. [Nagbe’s] no different. I think [the goal] was great for his confidence because he did start well the first couple weeks of preseason and then got the ankle sprain that set him back a little bit. I think he’s feeling a little bit down because his performances in training were so good. Now getting on the field and scoring that goal so early always gives you a lift as a forward. So that was good for him.”
  • Continuing from the end of their inaugural MLS season, the Timbers have come away with points now in their last four games away from Jeld-Wen Field.
  • “It has been a good start to the season,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said. “We played two quality teams, and if our guys believe in themselves as much as me and my coaches do, we’ll make it to playoffs.” Said midfielder Eric Alexander: “We took four points from teams that made the playoffs last year, so we’re pretty happy. It would have been nice to win. It’s a good result for being on the road.”
  • After receiving his ITC during the week heading into the match, Hanyer Mosquera was put into the center of the back four, alongside Eric Brunner.