Timbers’ Chabala helps rejuvenate squad
Portland received much-needed win against Galaxy
Thursday, August 4, 2011
PORTLAND — For Mike Chabala, scoring a goal in his second league match with the Portland Timbers was a thrill.
It also was a revitalizing moment for the veteran defender and his new teammates.
“It was an overwhelming moment for me,” Chabala said. “It rejuvenated my career and revived it in a sense. I owe (coach John Spencer) and the organization for bringing me back here and giving me an opportunity.”
Chabala, a sixth-year MLS player who saw limited playing time with Houston before he and Lovel Palmer were traded to Portland two weeks ago, scored the first goal in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over the mighty Los Angeles Galaxy. Chabala also earned the corner kick that led to the third goal by challenging David Beckham one on one, and was part of the defense that earned the shutout.
Chabala was one of several stories of revitalization that emerged on Wednesday at Jeld-Wen Field.
Jorge Perlaza, taking advantage of Portland’s return to a two-forward formation, returned to the starting lineup with a burst and scored his fifth goal of the season.
“We started to see the (Galaxy’s) back four dropping deeper and deeper because they were scared of his pace,” Spencer said of Perlaza’s impact. “It was nice to see. That’s the type of form and that’s the type of movement we saw when myself and (general manager Gavin Wilkinson) saw him down in Colombia. He has the ability to score a lot of goals.”
Kenny Cooper didn’t score a goal. But he did have an assist as a last-minute selection when Eddie Johnson suffered a pregame concussion, and Spencer called it Cooper’s best performance of the season.
In central midfield, James Marcelin provided sturdy play for injured Jack Jewsbury as Los Angeles was limited to only one shot on goal. And Diego Chara continued to blossom.
“I thought last night (Chara) had a monster performance,” the coach said of the 25-year-old Colombian. “At times he’s doing his own running and someone else’s running. It can be a detriment to his game when he’s doing too much.
“Since we’ve started to release him (forward) a little bit, getting him more closer to the attack, I think he’s been an unbelievable player.”
Chara is one player Portland will be without on Saturday when it visits San Jose for a critical match in the playoff points chase. Because of yellow card accumulation, Chara is suspended.
Jewsbury, who missed Wednesday’s match against Los Angeles with a sore hamstring, was jogging at Thursday’s training session. Spencer said Jewsbury’s status for the San Jose won’t be decided until Saturday. Among the options, Spencer suggested on Thursday, is sliding Palmer from left back into the midfield.
Portland’s depth will be tested, both on Saturday and with next week’s road games at Houston and Kansas City. As was the case on Wednesday against Los Angeles, the three road games provide an opportunity for Portland to prove something.
“I think you’re going to see the depth of this team, which I’ve been really impressed with,” Chabala said. “There’s a lot of good players.
“I’m excited because the opportunities are there. This club wants to make a name for itself and have an impact on the league its first year — here (that opportunity) is.”