Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers | MLS Match Preview

COLvPOR 3-22-2014

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COLORADO RAPIDS vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
March 22, 2014 (WEEK 3, MLS Game #22)
4 p.m. MT (Altitude; ROOT-NW)

The Colorado Rapids make their home bow for 2014 in a Western Conference clash when they entertain the Portland Timbers on Saturday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids started their season a week ago, coming away from the New York Red Bulls with a 1-1 draw. The Timbers hit the road for the first time, off a pair of 1-1 draws at home, coming back last weekend for the result against the Chicago Fire.

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REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Sean Hurd; JAR (opposite): Matthew Nelson; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 117 games; FC/gm: 26.6; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 28; pens: 38

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Rapids 4 wins, 12 goals … Timbers 3 wins, 8 goals … Ties 1
AT COLORADO (4 meetings): Rapids 3 wins, 11 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 3 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 7/18: Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids, 8 p.m. PT; 9/13: Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, 7 p.m. MT

LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/30: COL 2, POR 2 (Powers 18; Thomas 48 – W. Johnson 55, 71)
6/23: POR 3, COL 0 (Piquionne 12; W. Johnson 45; R. Johnson 84)
9/20: POR 1, COL 0 (Valeri 13)

  • The Rapids have never lost at home to Portland. They had won the first three home matchups all-time with the Timbers, before the teams played to a 2-2 draw last April 30 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The Rapids haven’t scored a goal in Portland on their last three visits, since a 1-0 win in 2011 in their first-ever game in the Rose City. The Timbers have won the last three home games in the series.
  • Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. COL: P3 W2 L0 D1 … Pablo Mastroeni vs. POR: first game

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids opened the new season with a road point in Pablo Mastroeni’s head coaching debut, coming back for a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. The Rapids are in a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference with 1 point from 1 game.

LAST MATCH

  • The Red Bulls went in front in the 57th minute. Lloyd Sam sent in a cross from the right that found an unmarked Thierry Henry floating to the back post, and he finished with a diving header that beat rookie goalkeeper John Berner from close range.
  • But the Rapids found the equalizer a quarter-hour later. Marvin Chavez was adjudged to have been fouled from behind by New York defender Jamison Olave and referee Alan Kelly pointed to the spot. Substitute Vicente Sanchez buried the resulting penalty to leave the teams level.
  • Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni gave rookie John Berner the start between the posts, while newcomer José Mari was in the team in the midfield.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-1-2-3): John Berner - Shane O'Neill, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute (Marc Burch 52) - Nick LaBrocca - Jose Mari, Dillon Powers (Vicente Sanchez 65) - Dillon Serna, Deshorn Brown, Gabriel Torres (Marvin Chavez 61).

TEAM NEWS

  • In his MLS head coaching debut, Pablo Mastroeni rang in the changes in his team. With Clint Irwin injured – who became the starter through injury early on last season – John Berner made his professional debut in goal.
  • Homegrown Player Dillon Serna, who made his MLS debut in the final game of the 2013 season, coming off the bench for the final 13 minutes, was given his first professional start on the right of midfield.
  • “We have a lot of young guys out on the field. I think for a guy like Dillon Serna, in his debut as a starter in Major League Soccer and a lot of second year players out there … and I think coming in to Red Bull Arena against some of the players that they have and what they accomplished last year it’s something to be in awe of,” Mastroeni said. “I think once they settled in they put in a decent performance.”
  • As had been throughout preseason, Shane O’Neill started at right back with Marvell Wynne returning to central defense.
  • There was an injury-forced change as Chris Klute had to come off before the hour mark. Klute is not expected to be available for the next couple of weeks.
  • “So it’s the next man up and ready to rock and to prepare for the next game without him. Klute’s one of those guys who won’t come off the field unless he’s absolutely not able to go. I’m assuming it’s a strain,” said Mastroeni.
  • Marc Burch made his Rapids debut, coming in at left back in place of Klute. Burch was picked up in the Re-Entry Draft from Seattle Sounders FC in the offseason.
  • “Every guy that’s here, whether you’re a rookie or an experienced player, is expected to go out there and do the same job, if not better than, the guy you’re replacing,” Mastroeni said. “I think Marc Burch exemplifies that in going out there on the field and not missing a beat and making a big play down there in the stretch. Those are the expectations I have for everyone, whether you’re starting the game or coming in.”
  • The goal came through a pair of substitutes, with Marvin Chávez winning the penalty that was converted by Vicente Sánchez.
  • “From an energy standpoint, young guys for the good part of three-quarters of the game, they brought a lot of good energy,” Mastroeni said. “I thought Marvin [Chávez], [Marc] Burch and Vicente did a great job, coming in and changing the game in their own unique ways.”

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers recorded their second late draw in as many matches to begin the 2014 season, coming back for a 1-1 result with the Chicago Fire on Sunday afternoon at Providence Park. The Timbers are in sixth place in the Western Conference with 2 points from 2 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Fire took the lead in the 19th minute. Quincy Amarikwa chased down a long ball in the box and Timbers center back Norberto Paparatto took him down near the end line. After referee Marcos de Oliveira pointed to the spot, Jeff Larentowicz calmly fired home as Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts guessed wrong.
  • The Fire were reduced to 10 men when Patrick Nyarko was sent off in the 86th minute after a second caution for a reckless challenge on Darlington Nagbe.
  • But the Timbers again hit for a late equalizer at home. Nagbe's rocket from the top of the area was saved by Fire goalkeeeper Sean Johnson, but the rebound fell right to Gaston Fernandez for the easy tap-in in the 79th minute and his second goal in as many games.
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made one change to the team that got a late equalizer for a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union at Providence Park. Mamadou Danso started at center back in place of Pa Modou Kah.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-3-3): Donovan Ricketts - Jack Jewsbury, Norberto Paparatto, Mamadou Danso, Michael Harrington - Diego Chara, Diego Valeri (Frederic Piquionne 86), Will Johnson - Darlington Nagbe, Maximiliano Urruti (Steve Zakuani 61), Gaston Fernandez.

TEAM NEWS

  • It was a second consecutive home draw to start the season for the Timbers, who recorded an MLS-high 15 draws in 2013 on their way to winning the Western Conference regular season title.
  • “It reminds me a little bit of last year, and we’re even ahead of last year; we lost [the second] game last year,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. “It took us a while to get going, and we had slow starts to games, at times, last year.  … The positives are we’ve come from behind to get a point in both games. Also, in the second half, we’ve played very well both games. Both games, we dominated the game in terms of possession. We had more shots in both games. We’ve come from behind both games. That’s another positive trend.”
  • Gastón Fernández scored his second goal in as many MLS games, again potting a late equalizer to salvage a point for the Timbers.
  • “Gaston Fernandez is a quality player, and a lot of people are forgetting that he’s just been in this country for a couple months. It takes guys time to settle in and get comfortable in this league, and I thought for large periods of this game, he took the game over and was one of the better players on the field,” said Porter. “He deserved to score the goal. He’s one of these guys who gets himself into good spots. He’s not the biggest, but he’s smart. He gets himself around the goal, and with goal scorers, the ball seems to find them, and that’s twice now where the ball has found him in good spots for two tap-in goals.”
  • After conceding a goal from a corner kick in the season opener, the Timbers’ lone goal against vs. Chicago came from the penalty spot.
  • “We didn’t give up a goal on a corner or a wide free kick so I feel good about that,” said Porter. :”They had a lot of balls in the box between corners and free kicks, and we didn’t give up a goal on those. It is a positive to see an improvement in that regard.”
  • Mamadou Danso slotted into central defense with Pa Modou Kah out after suffering a hamstring strain in the season opener.
  • “I think the natural thing is to always credit the backs and the goalkeeper for that and they’re a big part for sure, but I think it’s also the defending as a team, the collective defending is the biggest reason why we don’t give up many goals, and the other reason is because we’re on the ball a lot,” said Porter. “I think this game we had 64 percent possession, so that’s 64 percent of the time you’re not defending. These are all reasons why I believe in the philosophy that we play.”