Montreal Impact vs. Portland Timbers | MLS Match Preview

MONTREAL IMPACT vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
STADE SAPUTO, Montreal, Que.
July 27, 2014 (WEEK 20, MLS Game #188)
8 p.m. ET (UDN; TVA; ROOT-NW)

A pair of clubs looking to make second-half charges up the table meet in an interconference clash when the Montreal Impact return home to take on the Portland Timbers on Sunday evening at Stade Saputo. The Impact are coming off a fourth consecutive defeat, a 3-1 loss at Real Salt Lake at midweek, that kept them at the foot of the Eastern Conference. The Timbers find themselves just three points out of the final playoff position in the Western Conference, following their 2-1 home win against the Colorado Rapids last week that put an end to a four-game winless run.

REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. AR1 (bench): Philippe Briere; AR2 (opposite): Jason White; 4th: Ted Unkel; Petrescu MLS Career: 84 games; FC/gm: 27.5; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 10; pens: 14

SUSPENDED: MTL: Issey Nakajima-Farran (through July 27); Frank Klopas (head coach; through July 27)

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: MTL: Karl Ouimette … POR: Pa Modou Kah
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: MTL: Matteo Ferrari, Hernan Bernardello, Felipe Martins, Andres Romero, Hassoun Camara … POR: Norbetto Paparetto, Will Johnson

DISABLED LIST: none

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Impact 2 wins, 4 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0
AT MONTREAL (1 meeting): Impact 2 wins, 2 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS):

3/9: POR 1, MTL 2 (R. Johnson 80 - Camara 30; Martins 60)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The Impact have won both meetings all-time between the teams. They won 2-0 at Olympic Stadium in Montreal in 2012, then claimed a 2-1 victory last year in Portland.
  • Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. MTL: P1 W0 L1 D0 … Frank Klopas vs. POR: P3 W0 L2 D1

MONTREAL IMPACT

The Montreal Impact saw their losing run stretched to four matches, going a man down then falling 3-1 to Real Salt Lake on Thursday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Impact are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points from 18 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Real took the lead after just three minutes. Chris Schuler kept a corner kick alive after it wasn't cleared, and the ball landed at the feet of midfielder Luke Mulholland, who blasted it past Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush from the heart of the box.
  • But the Impact pulled level in the 31st minute. Defender Hassoun Camara took a layoff from midfielder Calum Mallace, coming through into the right of the area, and slid it past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando with a first-time shot.
  • The match then turned in the 65th minute, when referee Drew Fischer showed a red card to Impact midfielder Issey Nakajima-Farran for a studs-up challenge on Schuler.
  • It took RSL just five minutes to take advantage, as Olmes Garcia flicked a pinpoint header off a cross from Javier Morales from the right flank into the far corner of the goal.
  • Garcia and Morales then again teamed to ice the game in stoppage time, Morales sending Garcia clean through into the area before he netted his second with a rifled finish from the right side inside the far post.
  • Impact head coach Frank Klopas made two changes to the team that suffered a 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Calum Mallace and Issey Nakajima-Farran came into the side, in place of Justin Mapp and Jack McInerney.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Evan Bush - Hassoun Camara, Heath Pearce, Matteo Ferrari, Krzysztof Krol -  Calum Mallace (Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare 62), Patrice Bernier - Andres Romero, Felipe Martins (Justin Mapp 62), Issey Nakajima-Farran (ejected 65) - Marco Di Vaio (Jack McInerney 77).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Impact saw their losing streak extended to four games, matching the clubís longest since coming into MLS, and the longest for the team within a single season (previously: Oct. 26, 2013 - March 23, 2014).
  • "I thought we had the game in control. We had better chances the first half. We gave up a fast goal; obviously we came back and scored a nice goal. [We had] some other very good opportunities. We didn't [score], but I thought we were managing the game and could have gotten a result out of it," said Impact head coach Frenk Klopas. "The red card changed everything."
  • Hassoun Camara scored his first goal in more than a year in MLS play, since netting last July 3 vs. Toronto FC. He has five goals for his three-year MLS career.
  • Evan Bush made a second consecutive start in goal for the Impact, his first two league appearances this season. Bush started all four games and played every minutes between the posts for the Impact in their Canadian Championship run.
  • "I think Troy's very good, but maybe with the amount of games, he's not as sharp; maybe he's a little bit tired," Klopas said. "[Bush] has been looking really good and sharp in training sessions and in the game he's played. It's a position where, obviously, you need rhythm and you need to be a little more patient. But I think he deserved the opportunity to be there, and I think he had a good game against Columbus."
  • Issey Nakajima-Farran made his first start since June 25, coming in on the left side of the midfield. But he will miss out on the Portland after being sent off midway through the second half at Real Salt Lake.
  • "It's a short turnaround for us. We have to play on the West Coast Thursday night, and then we have to play Sunday at home against a team that's just waiting and resting," said Klopas. "It's about getting guys in the right moment. Right now the mentality is going to be to do whatever we have to do to get a result - that's the mentality we have to go in with. We have to assess how guys are feeling. We're playing another good team that has a lot of quality in the final third."
  • Calum Mallace made just his second start of the league campaign, his first since April 19, coming into a deep-lying central midfield position.
  • "They're a good team in this league, so it was difficult coming here. Most of the guys played in the game last week as well, so there are some tired legs," Mallace said. "[We had] an early flight in, and [we have] a long one back, so it was definitely a tough game. They're a good team and we know how good they are in possession. It's tough."
  • Jack McInerney had his string of 11 consecutive league starts put to an end, coming on as a 77th-minute substitute in place of Marco Di Vaio as Klopas ran out a lone striker.
  • "It was good, but I also had to think about the game Sunday. We try to manage certain guys. We knew that they were a team that was good in possession, and then we had opportunities to push the game. We wanted to make sure that we could save at least one of the forwards, with Jack [McInerney] and Marco [Di Vaio]. We enforced the midfield. Obviously we have to rest some guys and some guys we put in there," said Klopas.

PORTLAND TIMBERS

The Portland Timbers put an end to their winless run after four games, coming back for a 2-1 win against the Colorado Rapids on Friday evening at Providence Park. The Timbers are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 24 points from 20 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids took the lead in the 16th minute. From a corner kick, a Drew Moor header was first saved by Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. A rebound was driven right back into the hands of the 'keeper, but not secured and eventually bundled over the line by Deshorn Brown despite a last-ditch clearance attempt.
  • The Timbers pulled level in the 72nd minute through substitute Maximiliano Urruri. Capping off a beautiful team move, Jack Jewsbury was played in down the right by Will Johnson and sent in a cross for a charging Urruti to chip in at the near post.
  • Then, five minutes later, Diego Chara set up Diego Valeri in space from approximately 30 yards out for a fading blast that a diving Clint Irwin in the Colorado goal had no chance at saving.
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made two changes to the team that fell 2-0 to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Liam Ridgewell and Diego Chara came into the team in place of Rauwshan McKenzie and Jorge Villafana.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-2-3): Donovan Ricketts - Michael Harrington, Danny O'Rourke, Liam Ridgewell, Jack Jewsbury - Will Johnson - Diego Valeri, Diego Chara - Darlington Nagbe (Rodney Wallace 92+), Fanendo Adi (Maximiliano Urruti 61), Steve Zakuani (Gaston Fernandez 61).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Timbers put an end to their four-game winless run with the win against Colorado. It was just their second home victory this season and put an end to a five-game winless run at home, one short of the clubís MLS record set during the 2011 season.
  • "What we've done is what good teams do. They've grown stronger, they've gotten better and they've become unbreakable. And this team, because of what we've been through, we're better, we're stronger, we're hungrier, and thatís how we were able to pull that out in the second half because of what we've been through," said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter.
  • Maximiliano Urruti came off the substitutes' bench for the final 29 minutes - his longest shift since making his last start, June 1 vs. Vancouver - and scored his first goal since that same game.
  • Gaston Fernandez also came on as a substitute in the 61st minute, playing in a central midfield role as Diego Valeri moved to a wide spot on the left. Valeri then scored his fourth goal of the season, his second in the last three matches.
  • "No matter who comes off the bench, we need them to make an impact, but those two guys especially, Maxi finding a way to get a goal, and Gaston, he's so good at finding those holes between the back four and the midfield," said Johnson. "And I think we had a little bit of a problem with that, especially in the first 45. Those four guys, they were flying. They could have scored a couple more."
  • Said Porter: "What was interesting, for some reason, and I think it's his ability to feel a game and smell where the spaces are, he floated a lot to that left. And so we felt that was the right move to shift him over there. And in the end, he was able to come inside on that right foot and smack a ball and score the winner."
  • Liam Ridgewell made his Timbers and MLS debut, coming into central defense and playing the full 90 minutes.
  • "I thought his passing was awesome, the way he split the lines, itís just awesome having a guy like that back there who can play those through balls," Will Johnson said. "His leadership, his class, his quality, thatís why we brought him here to make everyone else better. We know he's a good player, anybody can tell you he's a good player, but great players make the other three guys on the backline better as well, and thatís what he did."
  • After featuring as a holding midfielder against Seattle, Jack Jewsbury returned to play fullback, his first start at that position since June 7. He recorded his second assist of the season.
  • "We were planning to start Jorge Villafaña but he was a late game scratch. He pulled up with a little bit of a niggle. We evaluated it more and he wasn't going to be able to go. So I didn't want to disrupt the preparation in all the other spots," said Porter. "Jack has played left back. I thought that he would control the space a little bit more next to Ridgewell, knowing that he wasn't completely 90 minutes fit and also with [Steve] Zakuani playing more as a true winger we felt weíd get the width there. But I didnít like the way it was going so I felt with Mikey there on the left he's going to get forward a little bit more."