Portland Timbers vs. DC United | MLS Match Preview
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs D.C. UNITED
PROVIDENCE PARK, Portland, Ore.
May 3, 2014 (WEEK 9, MLS Game #78)
7:30 p.m. PT (ROOT-NW; CSN-MA)
A pair of clubs heading in opposite directions meet in an interconference clash when the Portland Timbers play host to D.C. United on Saturday evening at Providence Park. The Timbers are still looking for their first victory of 2014, coming off a 1-1 draw at the Houston Dynamo last weekend. United have now gone five consecutive games without a loss, after their impressive 4-1 home win against FC Dallas last weekend.
REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Marco Arruda; 4th: Jair Marrufo
MLS Career: 184 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 53; pens: 66
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Norbetto Paparetto, Diego Chara
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 6 goals … United 1 win, 5 goals … Ties 2
AT PORTLAND (2 meetings): Timbers 0 wins, 3 goals … United 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 1
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/25: DC 0, POR 2 (Wallace 21; Nagbe 57)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- Since winning the first meeting ever between the clubs, a 3-2 win May 29, 2011 in Portland, United have not claimed a victory. The Timbers have won once – a 2-0 win last May 25 in the only meeting between the teams.
- Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. DC: P1 W1 L0 D0 … Ben Olsen vs. POR: P5 W1 L1 D3
The Portland Timbers saw their season-opening winless streak stretched to eight games, reaching a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo on Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Timbers are in ninth place in the Western Conference with five points from eight games.
- The Dynamo opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Brad Davis played a perfect cross into the box, and a wide-open Will Bruin headed the cross past Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
- But the Timbers countered in the 34rd minute. Midfielder Kalif Alhassan hit a pass into the Dynamo box that deflected off Davis and into the path of Gaston Fernandez, and he hammered a first-time effort into the upper-right corner of the goal to pull the Timbers level.
- Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made one change to the team that dropped a 1-0 decision to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Gaston Fernandez came in up top in place of Maximiliano Urruti.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Jack Jewsbury, Pa Modou Kah, Mamadou Danso, Michael Harrington - Diego Chara, Will Johnson - Kalif Alhassan (Michael Nanchoff 76), Diego Valeri (Maximiliano Urruti 69), Darlington Nagbe (Steve Zakuani 87) - Gaston Fernandez.
- The Timbers saw their season-opening winless streak extended to eight games, following the 1-1 draw in Houston. The streak matches the club’s MLS record, set previously July 7-Aug. 19, 2012.
- “We had been conceding late, but we didn’t today. It’s a real positive that the defenders were making plays late in the game, when a lot of times you get nervous in those moments. They looked composed in the latter stages today, and in some games this year we didn’t look completely composed,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “I’m just disappointed that we don’t find a notch more to win the game. That’s the final piece we have to dig into.”
- Gaston Fernandez scored his third goal of the season, his first since netting in each of the first two matches of the season, last in the 1-1 draw with Chicago on March 16.
- “Gaston Fernandez showing a bit of quality in that moment of scoring that goal is a big positive for us,” said Porter. “The one piece we need to continue to do better is in the final third. For me, I would have liked to see a bit more aggressiveness at times. As much as we had the ball we have to turn that possession into penetration. For me, it’s about individuals taking responsibility at times to step up and shoot, and drive. We’re getting closer.”
- All three of Fernandez’s goals have been unassisted. Five of the nine Timbers goals on the season have been unassisted.
- “We create good chances on team play and combination play, but we need guys to be a little bit more selfish for the team. Just like Gaston in that moment, he got the ball in the box, you could tell he was ready for that moment, and he jumped the defender, and put it in the upper corner,” said Porter. “We need that ruthlessness in our team. You can see we play positive soccer, we’re organized, we’re right there in every game.”
- The draw at BBVA Compass Stadium marked the first road point taken this season by the Timbers, after three losses on their travels. Six of the next nine games for Portland will be at Providence Park.
- “We have to find a way to turn these performances that are solid, good defensive road performances into wins. On one hand, we made plays defensively, and we feel good coming from behind to get a point on the road. We hadn’t been able to do that in the first three road games of the year,” said midfielder Will Johnson. From that point of view it’s positive, but when you squander leads at home you have to turn these games into wins.”
D.C. United stretched their undefeated run to five matches, rolling to a 4-1 win against FC Dallas on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. United are in a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points from seven games.
- Dallas opened the scoring just 12 minutes in. Receiving a pass from Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez sent a one-touch pass to Mauro Diaz at the top of the box. He slipped around United fullback Cristian Fernandez and hammered a shot home from 12 yards out.
- FCD then went down a in the 39th minute when Zach Loyd was sent off following a second yellow card after a rash, studs-up challenge on United midfielder Davy Arnaud.
- United were level deep into first-half stoppage time. Nick DeLeon played a ball down the touchline to Eddie Johnson, and his cross was picture-perfect, finding Fabian Espindola inside the six for an easy, headed finish.
- The home side took the lead on the hour. A shot from substitute Conor Doyle from 8 yards out caromed off Dallas 'keeper Chris Seitz and fell perfectly for an onrushing Bobby Boswell, who made no mistake.
- United made it 3-1 in the 64th minute when Espindola skipped down the left touchline and set up Sean Franklin, then Espindola scored his second and United's fourth five minutes later, finishing off a cross from Chris Rolfe.
- Dallas finished two men down after Michel was shown a straight red card in second-half stoppage time for violent conduct after taking a swat at United midfielder Rolfe.
- United head coach Ben Olsen made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Bill Hamid came back in between the posts in place of Andrew Dykstra.
- D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid - Sean Franklin (Chris Korb 74), Jeff Parke, Bobby Boswell, Cristian Fernandez - Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Chris Rolfe - Eddie Johnson (Conor Doyle 51), Fabian Espindola (Luis Silva 79).
- D.C. United scored four goals – their biggest single-game offensive output in nearly two years – in the win against FC Dallas. Their last four-goal game was a 4-2 win vs. Chicago, Aug. 22, 2012.
- “I think a lot of these guys have something to prove, for one reason or the other. I have something to prove and our staff has something to prove, so hopefully we can continue on this run,” said United head coach Ben Olsen.
- Fabian Espindola scored the seventh multiple-goal game of his MLS career, netting a pair of goals and also adding an assist. Espindola has four goals and three assists this season, involved on the score sheet in seven of D.C.’s 10 goals for the season.
- “I feel good about our strength in trying to keep the ball and trying to get better,” said Espindola. “Sometimes you’re not going to score, but at least you can try to play – that’s what I want, and we won.”
- Bill Hamid returned between the posts, after missing three matches with a toe injury. Hamid has conceded seven goals in his four starts this season; in his stead, Andrew Dykstra recorded two clean sheets in three starts as United won twice and tied once.
- “It’s never easy, coming back in after your backup has a good run,” said Olsen. “[Hamid] wanted to prove that he was the No. 1 and I think he did that ... At the end of the day, Bill is our No. 1. He didn’t leave the field through a run of poor form. We have all the faith in the world in Bill – I have a lot of faith in all three of our ‘keepers.” Said Hamid: “Andrew did a great job. It shows the depth that this team has in the goalkeeper position. Last year when I was out, Joey [Willis] stepped in and did a hell of a job as well, and he’s doing a hell of a job at Richmond this year. We’ve always had depth and great competition at goalkeeper and honestly I welcome it. It makes all of us better.”
- Nick DeLeon recorded an assist for a second consecutive match, while Chris Rolfe recorded his first assist since coming to United from Chicago (he did score on his D.C. debut April 5).
- “It looked good. Even when we were even strength, we had great possession and great movement. We weren’t really getting the good kicks that we wanted, but that will come,” said Rolfe. “It’s a matter of guys being more comfortable, aggressive and a little greedier.”
- Sean Franklin scored his first goal for United, the sixth of his MLS career. His last goal came last May 26, for the LA Galaxy vs. Seattle.
- Bobby Boswell also netted his first goal in his return to D.C. United, his first in MLS play since hitting the back of the net July 21, 2012, for the Houston Dynamo vs. Montreal.
- “Last game we didn’t do a good job when we were up a man, but this time we did. This time, we kept the ball. We spread them out, and we finished our chances and that’s something that we haven’t done successfully this year,” said Franklin. “… We’re unbeaten in our last five games and some of those games we should have won. Right now, our team has all the confidence in the world and we’re excited for this win, but it is a long season and hopefully it will be a successful one.”