Preview: Portland, RSL look to rebound from tough losses
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs REAL SALT LAKE
JELD-WEN FIELD, Portland, Ore.
March 31, 2012 (WEEK 4, MLS Game #31)
7 p.m. PT (ROOT-NW: KTVX ABC-4)
A pair of clubs looking to reverse frustrating losses meet Saturday evening at Jeld-Wen Field when the Portland Timbers return home to face Real Salt Lake. The Timbers went down to defeat for the first time this season last weekend, ending a two-game road swing in a 1-0 loss at New England. Real also suffered their first reversal of the campaign, going down to a 1-0 home loss to Chivas USA.
REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Sean Hurd; JAR (opposite): Steven Taylor; 4th: Tyler Ploeger
MLS Career: 91 games; FC/gm: 26.5; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 18; pens: 31
- PORTLAND TIMBERS - OUT: DF Futty Danso (L foot fracture); FW Eddie Johnson (concussion); DF Hanyer Mosquera (concussion); DOUBTFUL: DF David Horst (R hip surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF Sal Zizzo (L ACL surgery); MF Kalif Alhassan (L groin strain); PROBABLE: MF James Marcelin (L hamstring strain)
- REAL SALT LAKE - OUT: FW Cody Arnoux (L adductor strain); PROBABLE: MF Will Johnson (R adductor strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 2 goals ... Real Salt Lake 0 wins, 1 goal ... Ties 1
AT PORTLAND (1 meeting): Timbers 1 win, 1 goal ... Real Salt Lake 0 wins, 0 goals ... Ties 0
RETURN MATCHES: 7/7: Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers, 7 p.m. MT; 9/22: Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers, 6 p.m. MT (NBC SN)
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/30: POR 1, RSL 0 (Cooper 22)
10/22: RSL 1, POR 1 (Saborio 45 - Danso 90)
- Portland went undefeated vs. Real Salt Lake in two meetings in their inaugural MLS season, winning 1-0 at Jeld-Wen Field and reaching a 1-1 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- Coaches record: John Spencer vs. NE: P2 W1 L0 D1 ... Jason Kreis vs. POR: P2 W0 L1 D1
Strong Training Report: Danso talks RSL
The Portland Timbers suffered their first loss on the new season, conceding an early goal for a 1-0 loss to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. The Timbers are tied for sixth in the Western Conference with 4 points from 3 games.
- The Revolution took the lead with their first goal of the season after just 28 seconds. Chris Tierney had ample time on the left flank and served a tempting ball into the middle of the Timbers penalty area. Saer SËne streaked through unmarked and smacked his header off the underside of the bar for the game's lone goal.
- Timbers head coach John Spencer made one change to the team that came away with a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium. Darlington Nagbe came into the side in place of Jorge Perlaza.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Lovel Palmer, Hanyer Mosquera (Andrew Jean-Baptiste 24), Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace (Jorge Perlaza 76) - Kalif Alhassan, Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, Eric Alexander (Franck Songo'o 60) - Darlington Nagbe, Kris Boyd.
- The Timbers came away from their two-game road swing with a single point. "I was disappointed," head coach John Spencer said. "I thought we got over that little hump of being on the road."
- The Timbers have now conceded the first goal in each of their three games this season.
- For whatever reason, [falling behind early has] been a theme this year that's happened, and we've got to fix it and we've got to fix it quick," said midfielder Jack Jewsbury. "It's tough. Obviously everything was good after the home game because we came back and scored three goals and got the win. And on the result, there's also a positive on the road against Dallas, because we come back against a tough team and get a result there. But the reality is setting in that if you continue to start games like this, you shoot yourself in the foot and it definitely has got to be better from us."
- The Timbers were shut out for the first time this season, after netting four goals in the opening two games.
- "I think you would expect [Kris Boyd] to at least hit the target with his goal-scoring ability and record," Spencer said. "He definitely expects to score there, but as they say, one of those games for him. One of those games for the 11, 12, 13 players on the field today."
- Midfielder Franck Songo'o made his MLS debut, coming on for the final half-hour in place of Eric Alexander on the left of midfield.
- "Once we get him fit and healthy we're looking to start him. We've missed him. He's got a lot of quality on the ball as you've seen. He can strike a great ball, and Matt Reis pulls off a wonder save.
- The Timbers will again be without center back Hanyer Mosquera, who was forced off midway through the first half after suffering what was diagnosed as a non-displaced, medial orbit fracture and a concussion.
- "A little bit of a bad one," Spencer said. "He didn't look too good flying back home [Sunday]. He looked pretty groggy."
HIGHLIGHTS: Chivas stun RSL
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake suffered their first loss of the new season, falling 1-0 to Chivas USA on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real are in a four-way tie for second place in the Western Conference with 6 points from 3 games.
- The game's lone goal came in the 72nd minute. Chivas USA fullback Ante Jazic floated a cross from the left, and as Nick Rimando went to claim it, Casey Townsend challenged and the ball slipped from the RSL goalkeeper's grasp. The rookie striker reacted quickly to get a foot to the ball and hit it into the back of the net.
- Real head coach Jason Kreis made no changes to his team for a second consecutive match, keeping the group that took a 2-0 win against the New York Red Bulls at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Sebastian Velasquez (Javier Morales 46) - Luis Gil (Jonny Steele 71) - Paulo Junior (Alvaro Saborio 46), Fabian Espindola.
- Real Salt Lake has made their Rio Tinto Stadium a fortress since its opening. But dating back to last season, the club has won just one of its last four league matches, losing twice in that span.
- "What they're not used to is being frustrated at home," head coach Jason Kreis said. "And so I think when you went one [goal] down, you got a lot of guys feeling some real anxiety because we don't lose here."
- After netting five goals in their opening two games, Real were shut out for the first time.
- "Sometimes, I think we have to expect that now with teams coming in here knowing how great we are with the ball in the midfield," said goalkeeper Nick Rimando. "They pack it in. They play one up top, and knowing that they're going to get their chance on a counterattack or a set piece. I think we're starting to learn that when teams do that we do have to be patient. I thought it wasn't too bad today."
- Kreis has maintained the same starting group for all three games - something that's been a bit of a rarity in his coaching career.
- "I think we've got some guys now that started in the first two games and have to feel good about their contribution and have a little bit of experience under their belts. That should put us in a good position for the next three matches," Kreis said.
- Midfielder Javier Morales and striker Alvaro Saborio were both given their longest run-outs of the season thus far, each coming on as halftime substitutes.
- "I think we have to relax a little bit. We were a little nervous playing the ball and I think we have to relax and take more time," said Morales. Added Saborio: "We have to stay positive and keep working. We played good today and just didn't put the ball in the back of the net."
- Both of the goals RSL have allowed this season have come from crosses. "There's no excuse," Rimando said. "Unfortunately, the ball came out of my hands and bounced right to [Townsend]. The cross is in your area - you go for it. If there's contact, there's contact. That's the sport. Next time around, you punch that and it gets cleared."
- Said Kreis: "Maybe there's a little bit of a miscommunication between [Rimando] and Schuler because I think they are going for the same ball," Kreis said, "and I think ultimately they probably caused the error themselves."