Chicago Fire vs. Portland Timbers (image)

Preview: Fire, Timbers look to return to winning ways

Their long unbeaten run put to an end last weekend, the Chicago Fire return to Toyota Park to take on the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening. The Fire lost for the first time since May 21 last time out, a 2-1 loss at the LA Galaxy. The Timbers have lost three in a row and haven’t won in seven, coming off a late 3-2 loss at home to archrival Seattle Sounders FC.


REFEREE: Elias Bazakos. SAR (bench): George Gansner; JAR (opposite): Anthony Vasoli; 4th: Terry Vaughn
MLS Career: 14 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 2.6; R: 3; pens: 0

INJURY REPORT: CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: DF Steven Kinney (R Achilles repair); MF Marko Maric (L deltoid sprain); DOUBTFUL: MF Mike Banner (L Achilles tendinitis); DF Cory Gibbs (stomach virus) … PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: FW Spencer Thompson (R knee); QUESTIONABLE: DF Rodney Wallace (L knee); DF Jeremy Hall (groin soreness); PROBABLE: DF Mamadou Danso (L shoulder); FW Bright Dike (R Achilles rupture); DF David Horst (L hip flexor); MF Adam Moffat (R ankle sprain); GK Troy Perkins (R hip soreness)

SUSPENDED: CHI: Josip Mikulic (through July 17); Diego Chaves (through July 17) … POR: Eric Brunner (through July 17)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI: Diego Chaves, Gonzalo Segares … POR: Jeremy Hall, Rodney Wallace
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Cory Gibbs, Dominic Oduro, Daniel Paladini

ALL-TIME: Timbers 1 win, 4 goals … Fire 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 0
•    Jorge Perlaza scored twice and Portland inaugurated their Jeld-Wen Field history in fine style, a 4-2 win against the Fire in the first meeting on April 14.
•    Coaches record: John Spencer vs. CHI: P1 W1 L0 D0 … Frank Klopas v POR: first game

4/14: POR 4, CHI 2 (Perlaza 29, 47; Wallace 38; own goal 84 – own goal 66; Pappa 81)
•    Colombian striker Jorge Perlaza scored the first goal at Jeld-Wen Field in the 29th minute. He ran onto a pass from Kalif Alhassan, cut back against a defender and onrushing Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson, and fired into an empty net.
•    The Timbers doubled their lead nine minutes later. A Jack Jewsbury free kick from the right flank was weakly cleared and Rodney Wallace raced forward and pounded the loose ball into the net from 20 yards.
•    After the break, the Timbers made it 3-0 when Wallace's cross bounced away from Johnson and Perlaza pounced on on the loose ball and tapped it into the net.
•    The Fire pulled a goal back in the 66th minute. Marco Pappa tried to cut through the Timbers back line and Eric Brunner slid in to tackle it away, but succeeded only in driving the ball into his own goal.
•    The visitors then close the lead to one in the 81st minute, when Pappa took a pass in the right side of the area, turned, and curled a terrific shot over goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and off the underside of the bar in the left corner.
•    But the Timbers sealed their historic win three minutes later, when a scrum off a corner kick saw Dasan Robinson bounce the ball into his own goal with Futty Danso also trying to prod it home.
•    PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Jake Gleeson – Steve Purdy, Mamadou Danso, Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace – Jeremy Hall (Sal Zizzo 68), Jack Jewsbury, James Marcelin, Kalif Alhassan (Darlington Nagbe 83) – Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Eddie Johnson 77).
•    CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson – Jalil Anibaba, Dasan Robinson, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares – Patrick Nyarko, Logan Pause, Michael Videira (Marko Maric  46 / Orr Barouch  64), Marco Pappa – Gaston Puerari (Dominic Oduro 57+), Diego Chaves.

The Chicago Fire saw their eight-game unbeaten streak come to an end, falling 2-1 to the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Fire have 18 points from 19 matches on the year, sitting in a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

•    All the goals came after the halftime break. After winning a free kick near the corner flag on the right, David Beckham swung the ball in to the far post, where Landon Donovan was able to outjump Gonzalo Segares and angle his header into the goal.
•    The Fire answered back in the 62nd minute, when Patrick Nyarko’s cross into the Galaxy box was met by Cristian Nazarit, who put a powerful header past goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
•    But only three minutes later, Beckham put the Galaxy into the lead with a remarkable, swinging a corner kick in from the left that sailed through a host of bodies and under goalkeeper Sean Johnson, nestling inside the far post.
•    Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas made two changes to the team that reached a 1-1 result with Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center. Daniel Paladini and Cristian Nazarit came into the team, in place of Baggio Husidic and Diego Chaves.
•    CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba (Diego Chaves 78), Cory Gibbs, Yamith Cuesta, Gonzalo Segares - Marco Pappa (Orr Barouch 82), Logan Pause, Daniel Paladini, Patrick Nyarko (Bratislav Ristic 95+) - Dominic Oduro, Cristian Nazarit.

•    It was the first loss for the Fire since May 21, a 2-1 defeat at Philadelphia. They had won just one of the eight games in between, with seven draws.
•    “I am very happy with the guys. We didn’t deserve to lose this game. I thought we outplayed them and outshot them,” Fire interim coach Frank Klopas said. “ … I think we gave way too many fouls throughout the game and those were there dangerous moments. In the run of play they didn’t create anything.”
•    The Fire allowed both goals on set pieces. Since Frank Klopas took over, the Fire had not allowed any goals from standard situations; before Klopas took the coaching reins, the Fire had allowed six goals from a dead ball, with an own goal for a seventh coming from a corner kick.
•    “We didn’t put the game away and when you give opportunities from set pieces to probably the player that is the best in the world at that we put ourselves in risk,” Klopas said. “But we should have done better with the marking.”
•    Since returning to the starting lineup on June 12 after missing nearly two months, Patrick Nyarko has recorded three assists, setting up Cristian Nazarit’s second goal in four games in the loss at LA.
•    “It’s one positive thing that can be taken from this game but we didn’t get the win. We have been playing well but we haven’t been able to get the win,” Marco Pappa said. “We’ve showed good characteristics but we haven’t been able to win. We’ll have to wait to get the win that we have been searching for but for now we just have to keep working game to game.”
•    On Tuesday, the Fire advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a dominant 4-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls at Toyota Park. Dominic Oduro put the Fire ahead after just seven minutes, defender Yamith Cuesta doubled it shortly after the start of the second half, then Orr Barouch scored twice (51, 69) to put the game away.
•    Here’s the Fire team: Sean Johnson – Jalil Anibaba, Josip Mikulic, Yamith Cuesta, Gonzalo Segares, Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause, Patrick Nyarko (Baggio Husidic 66), Marco Pappa (Diego Chaves 66), Dominic Oduro, Cristian Nazarit (Orr Barouch 46)
•    “It’s always a positive when you’re winning, especially at home. When you create opportunities, it’s good for some guys to score goals, but more than anything it’s good to finish games and not give much away,” Klopas said.
•    The Fire will now take on the USL PRO Richmond Kickers in the semifinals, with a sixth trip to a U.S. Open Cup final on the line for the club.

The Portland Timbers had their home and winless streaks lengthened yet again, this time with a late 3-2 loss to arch-rival Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday afternoon at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers have 18 points from 15 games, sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference.

•    All the goals came in the second half. The Timbers took the lead in the first minute after the break when Kalif Alhassan went wide of Seattle’s defense and aimed a pass for Jorge Perlaza, but defender Jeff Parke deflected it into his own goal.
•    Sounders FC pulled even in the 57th minute when Fredy Montero slammed a free kick low past the outside of the wall and inside Troy Perkins' right-hand post.
•    The Timbers regained the lead in the 69th minute when Perlaza, freed by a brilliant through ball from Diego Chara, saw his shot glance off Seattle defender Tyson Wahl and past a diving Kasey Keller. But Seattle leveled the score again just five minutes later when Mauro Rosales knocked down a Lamar Neagle cross from the left side and Montero tapped in from close range.
•    The winning goal came in the 83rd minute after Neagle was tackled in the box by Portland defender Eric Brunner, and sent off by referee Jorge Gonzalez. Osvaldo Alonso converted from the spot to seal the victory.
•    Timbers coach John Spencer made one change to the team that fell 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City at Jeld-Wen Field. James Marcelin came into the side in place of Eddie Johnson.
•    PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-3-1-1): Troy Perkins - Steve Purdy, Mamadou Danso, Eric Brunner (sent off 81), Rodney Wallace - James Marcelin - Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo 64), Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury - Kalif Alhassan - Jorge Perlaza (Kenny Cooper 75).

•    The Timbers lost for the sixth time in seven games. Their last victory came May 21, a 1-0 win against the Columbus Crew.
•    "I think it proved today that if you can't defend, you're not going to win games. I think offensively we did enough, but defensively if we keep leaking goals we're not going to win games," said Timbers head coach John Spencer.
•    The Timbers have allowed 12 goals over their last four games, conceding multiple goals in each contest. That follows a stretch of seven games where they allowed multiple goals in a game just once, and conceded just six goals total in that span.
•    "I think lack of confidence is the habit right now. You can't hang the back four (defenders) out to dry and say they've got to defend better, we've got to defend better as a team — as 11 guys,” Spencer said. “We've got to try and stem the tide and get back to winning ways."
•    The Timbers changed up their system from the tried-and-true 4-4-2 scheme Spencer has employed from the start of the season. James Marcelin returned to the first XI for the first time since the April 23 match at the LA Galaxy.
•    For a second consecutive match, Kenny Cooper came off the bench, as Jorge Perlaza started as the only out-and-out striker.
•    After winning their first five games at Jeld-Wen Field, the Timbers have now gone five home games without a victory, losing for a fourth time in that stretch in the loss to arch-rival Seattle.
•    "I think any time at home when you get the lead twice, you should be able to hold on for the three points. I think it's disappointing, obviously it's a big rivalry game, it would be disappointing in any game, but especially in this one, it hurts pretty bad,” said Jack Jewsbury. “... If you said we were going to have two goals you'd definitely think we'd be in here celebrating a victory. It's a tough one to swallow.”
•    The game-winning penalty kick conceded by the Timbers was the eighth goal allowed in the final 15 minutes of the game, tied for the most in MLS this season (along with San Jose, Vancouver and D.C.)
•    “Goals are goals, regardless, and they got three points,” Spencer said. “I think it’s lack of concentration, lack of communication, and if you don't talk in this game and you don't mark runners you're going to get punished."