Chicago Fire vs. Portland Timbers | MLS Match Preview
CHICAGO FIRE vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
June 8, 2013 (WEEK 15, MLS Game #134)
7:30 p.m. CT (My50 Chi; KPDX/Estrella)
Watch online with MLSsoccer.com's
Blacked out in Portland (watch on ROOT Sports)
The Chicago Fire will aiming to build on a victory for the first time this season and cool off the Portland Timbers when the clubs meet for the only time this season on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire will be looking to win back-to-back games for the first time this year, coming off a 2-0 home win against D.C. United last weekend. The Timbers are now riding an 11-game undefeated streak in league play, returning to action off a 2-0 win of their own vs. D.C. United, and also coming off an historic U.S. Open Cup victory in their last outing.
REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. AR1 (bench): Bill Dittmar; AR2 (opposite): Peter Balciunas; 4th: Fotis Bazakos
MLS Career: 96 games; FC/gm: 24.9; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 32; pens: 24
DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Daniel Paladini … POR: Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Ben Zemanski
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHI: Joel Lindpere (Estonia); Victor Pineda (USA U-20) … POR: Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica); Mamadou Danso (The Gambia); Ryan Johnson, Donovan Ricketts (both Jamaica)
ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Fire 0 wins, 3 goals … Timbers 3 wins, 7 goals … Ties 0
AT CHICAGO (1 meeting): Fire 0 wins, 0 goals … Timbers 1 win, 1 goal … Ties 0
LAST YEAR (MLS)
5/20: POR 2, CHI 1 (Brunner 20; own goal 52 – Anibaba 39)
- The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
- The Timbers have won all three meetings lifetime vs. the Fire, including a 2-1 win last year in Portland. The Timbers won the only meeting at Toyota Park, a 1-0 victory in 2011.
- Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. POR: P3 W0 L3 D0 … Caleb Porter vs. CHI: first game
The Chicago Fire won at home for the first time in more than a month, knocking off D.C. United 2-0 on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. The Fire are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points from 12 matches.
- The Fire were handed the lead in the ninth minute. A free kick by Joel Lindpere was swung in from the left, bounded through the box and deflected off the head of United's Nick DeLeon into his own goal.
- The home side doubled their lead in the 85th minute when Patrick Nyarko played a through ball into the box for Mike Magee, and he slotted a shot into the lower corner for his first goal with his hometown club.
- Fire head coach Frank Klopas made two changes to the team that came back for a 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Alex came into the team in place of Logan Pause, and Mike Magee made his first start for the club in place of Dilly Duka.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Patrick Nyarko, Jeff Larentowicz, Alex (Daniel Paladini 74), Joel Lindpere - Chris Rolfe (Maicon Santos 68), Mike Magee (Dilly Duka 87).
- The Fire snapped a four-game winless slide, their first victory since a 1-0 home win vs. Columbus on April 20. The Fire have yet to win back-to-back games this season.
- The Fire also hit for multiple goals in a game for just the second time this season, the first since a 3-1 win vs. New York on April 7.
- Making his league debut for the Fire, Mike Magee scored his first goal for the club – his seventh in MLS play this season. He scored for a second consecutive match since coming to Chicago from the LA Galaxy, also netting in their Open Cup match at midweek.
- “You saw the quality that he has, the leadership that he brings on the field,” Klopas said. “He's just very smart, the way he moves on the field. He wants the ball in difficult spots, and he always seems to be in the right [spot] at the right time. He's a quality player who I think is going to make our team a lot better. You saw that a little tonight. I know as he gets a little bit more familiarized with the group of players that we have, it's even going to be better.”
- With the addition of Magee to the lineup, Patrick Nyarko returned to a wide midfield role, on the right. Nyarko had played as the spearhead striker for three consecutive matches. The two combined on the second Fire goal.
- “The first impressions of Mike are that he is such a smart player. I catch myself looking at him and his movements as a play develops to see what he wants me to do with the ball, he leads us to the next play. You can see that he’s smart, very experienced and has played with some great teams, so I’m very impressed,” said Nyarko. Added Magee: “It's hard getting used to speed. I'm not fast, so I can't relate at all. Any time I can see a step early to know when he's going to get behind, as soon as I could see he was going to get behind, I just took off.”
- Alex returned to the starting lineup for the first time since April 24, playing a central midfield role. He had come off the bench for four matches in a row.
- “We wanted to get better possession and have someone obviously that can be another guy that can, from deep spots, support the forwards and Alex has a lot of quality,” said Klopas. “He’s a player that wants the ball in difficult spots, he can beat players off the dribble, he can create opportunities for himself and that puts a lot of pressure on opposing defenders, and I think he’s getting better. I thought he had a good game today where he picked up the ball in difficult spots and made things happen and I know he can play a lot better.”
- The Fire also kept a clean sheet for the first time since the April 20 victory, just the third shutout of the season.
- “Baky (Soumare) and the rest of the guys have been playing better and better and I think that it takes some time when you do bring new players in to kind of adjust and fit in,” said Klopas. “But I think Baky is an experienced player and I think overall as a team, it starts defending with the whole group, it starts with the forwards and their willingness to work very hard off the ball and they did.”
The Portland Timbers return to league action after having extended their MLS club-record undefeated streak to 11 games with a 2-0 win at D.C. United on May 25. The Timbers are in third place in the Western Conference with 22 points from 13 matches.
- The Timbers took the lead in the 21st minute. Frederic Piquionne received a throw-in, settled and turned to find an unmarked Rodney Wallace overlapping, who finished with confidence from the left side of the penalty area.
- Portland struck for their second goal in the 57th minute. Collecting a lob played over the top by Ryan Johnson, Darlington Nagbe bodied off center backs Brandon McDonald and Ethan White and fired a blast by United goalkeeper Bill Hamid from just inside the box.
- Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made two changes to the team that came back for a 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Pa Modou Kah came into central defense in place of the suspended Mamadou Danso, and Frederic Piquionne started in place of Diego Valeri.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts - Jack Jewsbury, Pa Modou Kah, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Michael Harrington - Darlington Nagbe, Will Johnson, Diego Chara, Rodney Wallace (Kalif Alhassan 88) - Ryan Johnson (Ben Zemanski 73), Frederic Piquionne (Jose Adolfo Valencia 82).
- The Timbers won for the fifth time in their 11-game undefeated run, the second in the last three matches. They still have not lost since a 2-1 home defeat by Montréal on March 9.
- “It’s a good win. It’s yet another win that is going to take us up higher on the table. We’re not content with these results. We want to keep going forward and we want to be in first place,” said Rodney Wallace. “So we got to keep working, but we’re obviously happy with the result.”
- The Timbers also remain the only team in MLS undefeated on their travels, now with a 2-0-5 record away from Jeld-Wen Field.
- Midfield schemer Diego Valeri suffered a hamstring injury in training during the week and wasn’t available. Instead, Porter changed his tactical scheme, with Darlington Nagbe and Rodney Wallace advanced on the wings in a 4-4-2 setup.
- Fredéric Piquionne made his second MLS start, in the last four games, partnering Ryan Johnson in attack.
- “The great thing is we’ve been plugging guys in and we’ve still been doing well and that’s been important,” Timbers fullback Michael Harrington said. “The great thing about our team is we’re a team, and everybody understands their role.”
- With Futty Danso suspended following his ejection in the Vancouver match, Pa Modou Kah made his Timbers debut, coming into central defense.
- Said Kah: “It’s a team sport, and the back line and the whole team we did our job. Sometimes it’s not pretty, but you dig in and you got to get a win. So that’s most important thing. And we kept a clean sheet. And that’s always important when you’re a defender and a goalkeeper to feel the confidence that we can keep a clean sheet.”
- Since the league match, the Timbers strolled to victory in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup with a 5-1 win against USL PRO Wilmington Hammerheads.
- Piquionne scored four goals – all before halftime. He became the 11th player in the U.S. Open Cup’s modern era (since 1995) to score four goals in an Open Cup game, the third MLS player to do so.
- Here’s the Timbers team: Milos Kocic, Ryan Miller, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Futty Danso, Michael Harrington (Rauwshan McKenzie, 74), Ben Zemanski, Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo, 46), Will Johnson, Jose Valencia, Frederic Piquionne (Sebastian Rincón, 46), Kalif Alhassan
- For the international break, the Timbers will be without four regulars, two of their top four goal scorers in forwards Ryan Johnson (Jamaica) and Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica), and defender Futty Danso (The Gambia) and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts (Jamaica).
- “We’re always trying to make sure we’re ready and that we’ve got bullets in the barrel because in this business you never know what’s going to happen,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. “We have players pretty much ready at every position in case something happens.”