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Eastern Conference Championship

New England Revolution vs. Portland Timbers | MLS Match Preview

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
GILLETTE STADIUM, Foxborough, Mass.
Aug. 16, 2014 (WEEK 23, MLS Game #214)
7:30 p.m. ET (CSN-NE; KPTV-FOX/Estrella)

A pair of clubs which find themselves outside the MLS Cup Playoffs picture looking in meet when the New England Revolution take on the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution sit just one point behind fifth place in the Eastern Conference as they return to action following a 2-1 loss at the New York Red Bulls two weeks ago. The Timbers are two points outside the final postseason placing in the Western Conference after their 2-0 home win against Chivas USA last weekend.

REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Matthew Nelson; 4th: Robert Sibiga
MLS Career: 121 games; FC/gm: 26.6; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 30; pens: 42

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NE: Scott Caldwell, Lee Nguyen, Chris Tierney … POR: Pa Modou Kah
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NE: A.J. Soares … POR: Norbetto Paparetto, Will Johnson, Diego Chara, Diego Valeri
DISABLED LIST: NE: Andy Dorman
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

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

LAST YEAR (MLS)
5/2: NE 0, POR 0
• The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
• The Revolution have never lost to the Timbers in New England, with a victory and a draw in the two meetings there.
• The Timbers have never lost to the Revolution in Portland with a victory and a draw in the two meetings there, including a scoreless result last May 2 in their only meeting of the season.
• Coaches record: Jay Heaps vs. POR: P2 W1 L0 T1 … Caleb Porter vs. NE: P1 W0 L0 T1

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

The New England Revolution return to action after a ninth defeat in 10 games last time out, a 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Aug. 2 at Red Bull Arena. The Revolution are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 26 points from 22 games.

LAST MATCH

• The Revolution took the lead on 20 minutes. Teal Bunbury hit a cross from the right that was deflected by a Red Bulls defender into the path of Charlie Davies, and he headed home from close range at the back post.
• The Red Bulls went a man down just before halftime, however. Center back Matt Miazga went in late on Lee Nguyen just past the midfield stripe and referee Allen Chapman showed a straight red card.
• But the home side leveled terms just two minutes into the second half. Dax McCarty received a pass from Eric Alexander about 20 yards out from goal and proceeded to place a gorgeous chip just inside the far post past a helpless Bobby Shuttleworth in the Revolution goal.
• The Red Bulls then found the go-ahead goal in the 63rd minute. Lloyd Sam drew two defenders and played a ball into space for Bradley Wright-Phillips in the right side of the box, and he pulled off a quick cutback before curling a sublime left-footed effort off the far post and in.
• Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made one change to the team that rolled to a 3-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids at Gillette Stadium. Steve Neumann came into the team in place of Diego Fagundez.
• NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-1-4-1): Bobby Shuttleworth - Andrew Farrell, Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares (Daigo Kobayashi 77), Kevin Alston - Scott Caldwell – Teal Bunbury, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, Steve Neumann (Diego Fagundez 58) - Charlie Davies (Patrick Mullins 58).

TEAM NEWS

• The Revolution suffered their ninth loss in league play in the last 10 games, since May 31. They also lost for a fifth consecutive game away from Gillette Stadium.
• “Two completely different halves. The first half I couldn’t have been prouder of the guys and the second half was really disappointing. We didn’t react well. I thought we were going to come out flying in the second half but, unfortunately, we let a pretty easy goal in and we never recovered,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps.
• Charlie Davies scored for the Revolution, his first goal in any league, for club or country, since Sept. 10, 2011, when he had a hat trick for D.C. United at Chivas USA.
• “I’m overjoyed [and] over the moon to get my first goal in a while,” said Davies. “Now you can play a little bit more freely when you don’t have that pressure getting that first goal.”
• Teal Bunbury recorded his fourth assist of the season – leading the Revolution this season and setting a new single-season career-high – in setting up the Davies goal. It was his first assist since May 17.
• “He’s a huge reason why we’ve won a bunch a games, and he’s a reason why we’re in a lot of games,” said defender A.J. Soares said. “If we’re going to make a run into the playoffs late in the season, he’s going to be a big part of it.”
• Said Davies: “It was a great ball from Teal. I just had to make sure I put it on target. It’s a header too, [and] I’m not the best at headers. I was able to keep it on goal and it was a great start.”
• Steve Neumann returned to the starting lineup for the first time since July 19, making his second career start on the left side of midfield.
• “What was so positive about the first half and then the second half was everything we didn’t want to be,” Heaps said. “We didn’t find the ball, we got outplayed by 10 men and, sometimes when the other team loses a man, you think that you can take a play off. You preach it that you can’t.”
• In the days leading up to the Portland match, the Revolution obtained striker André Akpan from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for striker Saër Sene.
• “He’s a big strong player, fast, can hold the ball,” Heaps said. “He’s going to come in and fight right away.” Added Revolution general manager Mike Burns: “We’ve been looking to add more of a true No. 9. Andre clearly gives us more depth at that No. 9 position. He fit that bill for us.”

PORTLAND TIMBERS

The Portland Timbers returned to their recent winning form, defeating Chivas USA 2-0 on Saturday evening at Providence Park. The Timbers are in a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference with 30 points from 23 games.

LAST MATCH

• The Timbers struck first in the 10th minute. Diego Valeri picked up the ball in midfield and made a long run right up the spine of the Chivas USA defense, before cutting back at the edge of the box and unleashing a right-footed curler that whistled past a diving Dan Kennedy in goal.
• The lead was then doubled in the 39th minute. Valeri crossed to Fanendo Adi in the box, and the forward shielded off a defender before flicking the ball to an awaiting Rodney Wallace, who slotted home easily from the left side of the box.
• Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was called upon to make only one save for the match, in the 83rd minute when substitute Leandro Barrera got free at the top of the box and sent in a left-footed shot that Ricketts turned aside with a diving stop.
• Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made two changes to the team that suffered a 3-1 loss to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Norberto Paparatto came into the back four for Jack Jewsbury, and Fanendo Adi started up top in place of Maximiliano Urruti.
• PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-2-3): Donovan Ricketts - Danny O'Rourke, Norberto Paparatto, Liam Ridgewell, Michael Harrington - Will Johnson - Gaston Fernandez (Steve Zakuani 78), Diego Chara - Diego Valeri (Ben Zemanski 86), Fanendo Adi (Maximiliano Urruti 68), Rodney Wallace.

TEAM NEWS

• The Timbers won their third game out of the last four after a four-game winless run. It was also a second consecutive win at Providence Park following a five-game home winless run from May 11-June 27.
• “If you look at performance wise our body of work, we’ve really played well almost every game all year. We fell short early in the year because we didn’t find goals. We fell short at times because we gave up goals. Right now, we are getting the balance right,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “ … Early in the year when we were scoring goals then we started to overdo it by not having the right balance. I thought today we looked very balanced as a team. The outside backs got forward. We felt if they stayed connected, we would get a clean sheet. Their goal is to get a clean sheet first and foremost, defend well, and that we would find goals.”
• Diego Valeri scored for a fourth consecutive game, and now has seven goals on the season. Valeri has five of his goals over the last six games; he also assisted on the game-winning goal for the MLS All-Stars in their win against Bayern Munich in between.
• “I’m confident because I know that my team trusts in me. The coach trusts in me and I’m trying to give the team all I can. I’m working and I was lucky about that [goal], but I’m happy too because we won at home and that’s important,” said Valeri. “ … It was a special week. Obviously, what was most important was this win because we needed that. The All-Star Game, at home, that was special for me and we won, too.”
• The Timbers kept a clean sheet for just the second time this season, the first also coming against Chivas USA, in a 2-0 win on May 28.
• “We talked about that all week,” Porter said. “… We’ve been scoring goals, we haven’t been defending well enough. And when I say defending well enough, that’s as a team. And I thought in the first half especially, and in the second half the way we kind of shut things down, it was our most complete defensive performance.”
• Said Liam Ridgewell: “We’ve been working really hard since I’ve been here, and I think the boys have been doing it all season before I got here. So I think it’s just getting it together. Over the past month and month and a half we’ve just gotten stronger.”
• Norberto Paparetto made his first start since June 7, after having missed seven consecutive league matches. He partnered Ridgewell for the first time – who was making his fourth MLS start.
• “Felt very comfortable, as it has with Danny [O’Rourke] when I’ve played with him. I think we showed how comfortable it looked,” said Ridgewell. “We just tried to keep it solid and quite tight. We were looking to keep it a clean sheet as we did and we shut them out really well.”
• Rodney Wallace scored his first goal of the season, after missing the early part of the campaign following offseason knee surgery. It was Wallace’s first goal since the final game of last season, when he also scored vs. Chivas USA.
• “It was something special, for sure. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. Been putting in the work, day in, day out, so it’s a true testament to the hard work I’ve been putting in,” Wallace said. “But at the end of the day we got the three points and that’s what matters.”