In many ways, Jack Jewsbury will certainly be happy to close the book on facing his former team.
Playing Sporting Kansas City has not been at all fruitful for the Portland Timbers or their All-Star midfielder, having now come away empty handed in both meetings after Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat at Livestrong Sporting Park. Jewsbury played eight seasons in Kansas City before being traded to Portland during the offseason and said he never expected to enjoy the opening of the Sporting’s new stadium as an outsider.
“At the beginning of last year, I thought I would have been opening the stadium,” Jewsbury said after the defeat. “But whatever, it’s part of the business that we’re in. The spot here in Portland is totally different, in that it’s an old stadium and it’s got some history to it and our supporters are unbelievable. But it’s good to see the stadium up and the support they’ve gotten in these first couple months. It’s truly an amazing stadium.”
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With the Timbers, Jewsbury is enjoying his best season with a team-high seven goals and seven assists. But that success was hard to enjoy on Wednesday, as the Timbers were seemingly little threat to Kansas City in their third loss in their last four road games. After their surprising 3-0 win against the LA Galaxy on Aug. 3, the Timbers are winless in three matches as they watch the playoffs slip farther and farther away.
“It was a tough game,” Jewsbury said. “In the first half we came out flat.”
Jewsbury, who grew up in nearby Springfield, Mo., and had family and friends in the stands, never enjoyed the centerpiece role with Sporting — formerly known as the Wizards before this season — and has been given the chance to thrive in Portland.
“[Kansas City head coach] Peter Vermes didn’t want to lose him,” Portland head coach John Spencer said. “We were delighted to get him. … It was one of the best trade pickups in the league this year.”
Unfortunately for Jewsbury, his showing against his old teammates was forgettable. His shot on goal from distance came once the match was in hand for Sporting, and it was his only real action on the goal. The Timbers managed just two shots on goal to Sporting’s six.
Despite the poor play, Jewsbury was complimentary of Sporting’s new facility.
“I was excited," he said. "It was the first time I’ve come back to play in the new stadium, so I was excited to see the final product because I’ve been here so long playing at different venues."
The Timbers now return to Jewsbury’s new home — after a two-game road trip that started this past Sunday with a loss against the Houston Dynamo — to revive the Cascadia rivalry on Saturday against fellow expansion club Vancouver at JELD-WEN Field.
“I think that the window of opportunity for us to make playoffs is closing rapidly and obviously getting two games back to back at home [will help],” Spencer said. “We’re a different team at home.”