Portland coach John Spencer is keeping the intensity up as preseason nears end.
Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers

Spencer mum on Seattle, shifts focus to Columbus

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland TV and print media turned out in force to try to pry loose more zingers from John Spencer on Thursday directed at Seattle, but the Timbers coach simply wasn't playing along.

“I think we should move on,” he said two days after blasting the Sounders.

There is more pressing business at hand with Columbus Crew visiting JELD-WEN Field on Saturday (11 pm ET, MatchDay Live). The Crew (3-2-4) are traveling to the West coast for the second straight week and trying to rebound from a 3-0 loss at San Jose last week.

“I would imagine they’re going to try to become the first team to come in and win at JELD-WEN Field,” Spencer said. “We need to keep our feet on the ground, keep an even keel, and it’s back to work.”

The Crew have scored only eight goals in nine games — the second-lowest total in MLS this season.

Spencer said he knows what it feels like to go on the road and lose handily — the Timbers got blasted 3-0 by the LA Galaxy on April 23 — and he believes the Crew are a dangerous team that will be fighting to bounce back.

“Robbie Rogers is one of the best wide midfield players in the country,” Spencer said. “[Emilio] Rentería is in good form. Eddie Gaven, at 24, has been in the league nine years, which is a tremendous, unbelievable achievement for him. For me, it’s another tough game against a coach [Robert Warzycha] that’s experienced in this league and has experience in CONCACAF [Champions League]. … They’re very well organized and disciplined.”

At stake for Portland is a chance to move to a perfect 5-0 record at home and continue to defend what has become a fortress at JELD-WEN Field.

Spencer hopes the team treats the game with the same excitement and energy as it did the home opener against Chicago, and added that the growth and improvement of the team is tied to hard work.

“We need to be honest every day,” he said. “When you step off the training field, know you’ve given everything you’ve got. If you have that mentality consistently, you’ll perform well.”

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