Portland Timbers vs. Toronto FC | MLS Match Preview

JELD-WEN FIELD, Portland, Ore.
Sept. 7, 2013 (WEEK 28, MLS Game #257)
8 pm PT (TSN; KPTV-FOX/Estrella)

The Portland Timbers will be looking to get their playoff run back on track when Toronto FC come calling at Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday evening. The Timbers now find themselves in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference and holding the final playoff position, after a second consecutive loss, to Real Salt Lake last weekend. Toronto FC hit the road off a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution last weekend, still in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.


REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Jeff Hosking; AR2 (opposite): Baboucarr Jallow; 4th: Drew Fischer
MLS Career: 24 games; FC/gm: 23.7; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 10; pens: 6

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Ben Zemanski … TOR: Doneil Henry, Richard Eckersley, Matias Laba
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Will Johnson, Diego Chara … TOR: Gale Agbossoumonde, Darren O’Dea, Darel Russell, Reggie Lambe, Justin Braun, Steven Caldwell
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: POR: Ryan Johnson, Alvas Powell, Donovan Ricketts (Jamaica) … TOR: Kyle Bekker, Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan, Jonathan Osorio (Canada)

(3 meetings): Timbers 0 wins, 4 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 6 goals … Ties 2
AT PORTLAND (3 meetings): Timbers 0 wins, 2 goals … Toronto FC 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 1

2012 Highlights: TOR 2, POR 2

8/15: TOR 2, POR 2 (Hassli 57; Silva 63 – Zizzo 21; Nagbe 82)

• The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.

• Toronto FC have never lost to the Timbers in three meetings all-time. The teams have played to consecutive draws, including a 2-2 result last Aug. 15 at BMO Field in the only meeting of 2012. TFC defeated Portland 2-0 in the first meeting ever between the clubs, March 26, 2011.

• Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. TOR: first game … Ryan Nelsen v POR: first game


The Portland Timbers lost for a second consecutive match, this time a 4-2 defeat by Real Salt Lake on Friday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Timbers are in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with 39 points from 26 matches.


• Real were two goals ahead before the match was fully a quarter-hour old. In the ninth minute, a crisp passing sequence led to the opener, with Joao Plata one-timing a pass through the right side of the box to Luis Gil who clinically finished inside the far post. Six minutes later it was Plata who raced past a defender and hammered a left-footed shot past 'keeper Donovan Ricketts, off the far post, and into the net.

• The Timbers pulled a goal in the 31st minute after Michael Harrington set off on a storming, 50-yard run up the field before laying off to Darlington Nagbe, who scorched a low shot from distance past Nick Rimando.

• In first-half stoppage time, Timbers midfielder Ben Zemanski saw a straight red from referee Baldomero Toledo for a high challenge on Ned Grabavoy.

Highlights: RSL 4, POR 2

• RSL took advantage with two goals by the three-quarter mark. It was piece of brillance from Morales in the 55th minute, twisting his body to hit a bicycle kick from a corner kick that flew back across the goal and bounced in off the post. Alvaro Saborio then flicked home a free kick from Morales to make the score 4-1.

• Sal Zizzo provided the final scoreline when he knocked home a rebound in the area from a Rimando save.

• Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made three changes to the team that dropped a 1-0 decision to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Rauwshan McKenzie came into the back line and Diego Chara and Ben Zemanski started in the midfield, in place of Alvas Powell, Jack Jewsbury and the suspended Pa Modou Kah.

• PORTLAND TIMBERS (3-4-1-2): Donovan Ricketts - Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Rauwshan McKenzie, Michael Harrington - Kalif Alhassan, Diego Chara, Ben Zemanski (ejected 47+), Rodney Wallace - Diego Valeri (Alvas Powell 32) - Ryan Johnson (Jose Adolfo Valencia 46), Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo 74)


• The Timbers have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. They have now gone winless in three games, their longest such streak since opening the season with a loss and three draws.

• “It’s humbling, we got a bit bloodied, we’re obviously all a bit disappointed by the scoreline, but hopefully in the big picture this is something that will make us better because we have to keep plugging away,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. “Bottom line, we can’t have a performance like we did today.”

• Darlington Nagbe scored his third goal in the last six matches to pull into a tie for the team lead with Ryan Johnson, each with eight league goals.

• Sal Zizzo made his second consecutive appearance off the substitutes’ bench, his sixth this season in league play, scoring his first goal of the year and the second of his MLS career.

• Porter ran out his team with three defenders, with Rauwshan McKenzie making his first league appearance of the season, in the center of the back three.

• “The red card wasn’t why we lost the game. We lost the game because we made mistakes, individually and collectively in our defending, and they punished us,” said Porter. “They deserved to win. We need to evaluate this, every aspect of it, we need to take responsibility for it – not just the players, but myself – and then we need to correct it.”

• Second in MLS with 11 assists, Diego Valeri was forced off after just 32 minutes with a groin injury.

• The Timbers open a stretch of five of the next seven games at Jeld-Wen Field with the visit by Toronto FC. The Timbers have not lost at home now in 10 matches (7-0-3), since a 2-1 defeat by Montréal in the second game of the season.

• “We’re going to have to look at our group and figure it out. We still have eight games, which is 24 points left,” said Porter. “So there’s plenty of points to get enough to get into the playoffs. As much as many people thought this was do or die, it’s not the case.”


Toronto FC reached a second consecutive draw, this time a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at BMO Field. TFC sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 22 points from 26 matches.


• The Revolution opened the scoring in the second minute. A penetrating run by Kelyn Rowe lead to a fortuitous deflection off TFC defender Richard Eckersley that allowed Rowe to set up Diego Fagundez for an easy tap-in from close range.

Highlights: TOR 1, NE 1

• The equalizer came in first-half stoppage time. A free kick swung in from the right led to a mad scramble in the Revolution area, the ball finally ending at the feet of Andrew Wiedeman who blasted the ball past Matt Reis.

• TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen made one change to the team that came back for a 1-1 draw with D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Robert Earnshaw came back into the team for the departed Jeremy Brockie.

• TORONTO FC (4-1-3-2): Joseph Bendik - Richard Eckersley, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Ashtone Morgan - Jeremy Hall - Bobby Convey, Jonathan Osorio, Reggie Lambe (Alvaro Rey 87) - Robert Earnshaw (Maximiliano Urruti 78), Andrew Wiedeman.


• While Toronto FC were able to take a point from a second consecutive match, they saw their current winless streak extended to four games. They have won four games in their last 38 league contests.

• “We’ve seen improvements in the team and we are getting close to being a 90-minute team,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said. “It wasn’t good enough [on the New England goal] and the guys know it. But the reaction after that is what is most important for me. For 80 minutes of the game I thought the passing was fantastic. The guys up front were smart and their movement was intelligent.”

• Starting his fourth match out of the last five, Andrew Wiedeman scored his second goal of the season and played the full 90 minutes for the first time this league season.

• “It was a bit of pinball goal. It wasn’t the prettiest but it went in the net. It came off the free kick which we’ve been working on. It kind of just pinged around and fell to me with the whole net in front of me so I couldn’t really miss that one too bad,” said Wiedeman.

• Doneil Henry collected his second assist of the season, his first since May 8.

• For the second time in three matches, Maximiliano Urruti came off the substitutes’ bench, playing the final 12 minutes.

• “He’s been out of action for a number of weeks. We have a system where everyone knows their jobs defensively and to come in out of the blue when you haven’t done anything and when you don’t speak the language so it is hard to understand where you should be in certain positions, it takes a bit of time,” said Nelsen. “It’s a new league for him. It’s a new language for him. There have been some expectations put on him probably which shouldn’t have been. You’ll see more of him.”

• Toronto FC will not likely have the services of young Designated Player Matias Laba again this season. Laba has been out since suffering a fractured toe in the loss to the Columbus Crew on Aug. 17.

• “I’m not going to rush him back for the sake of two to three games because it is a joint fracture,” Nelsen said. “If he reoccurs that injury again, that 4-6 weeks becomes 10-12 weeks and an annoying thing for a lifetime. Because of the position of the fracture, we have to be really careful.”


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