MatchDay: Timbers at Columbus

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TIMBERS AT COLUMBUS

When/where: 5 p.m. today at Crew Stadium.

TV: Live on KPTV 12.

Radio: AM 750/FM 101 (AM 940 Spanish broadcast).

Records: Portland is 6-9-3, including a 1-5-2 mark on the road; Columbus is 7-6-7, including 5-1-4 at home.

Why to watch: The Timbers are eighth in the nine-team Western Conference, but still are in playoff contention.

PROJECTED STARTERS

Portland Timbers

Forwards: Jorge Perlaza, Kalif Alhassan, Darlington Nagbe.

Midfielders: Diego Chara, James Marcelin, Jack Jewsbury.

Defenders: Steve Purdy, Eric Brunner, Mamadou “Futty” Danso, Rodney Wallace.

Goalkeeper: Troy Perkins.

Key alternatives: MF Sal Zizzo, F Kenny Cooper, F Eddie Johnson, MF Adam Moffat, MF Ryan Pore, D David Horst, D Jeremy Hall, GK Adin Brown.

Columbus Crew

Forward: Andres Mendoza.

Midfielders: Eddie Gaven, Bernardo Anor, Emmanuel Ekpo, Robbie Rogers.

Defenders: Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Josh Gardner, Eric Gehrig.

Goalkeeper: William Hesmer.

Key alternatives: MF Jeff Cunningham, MF Justin Mram, F Tommy Heinemann.

THE MATCHUP

The first time: Eric Brunner’s goal against his former team netted the Timbers a 1-0 home victory on May 21. That was Portland’s last league win before a 1-0 triumph last Saturday at Chicago.

Big question: After finally picking up a road MLS victory last week, can the Timbers put together an away-from-home winning streak?

Spencer says: “I still think we gave up too many shots on goal and too many looks on the goal (in win at Chicago). We need to try to deny shots on goal.”

NOTABLE

• Remember us? Portland defender Eric Brunner and forward Bright Dike each have ties to the Crew. Brunner played in 39 matches in 2009-10 with Columbus before coming to Portland in the expansion draft.

Dike was drafted by Columbus out of Notre Dame last year, but was cut before the season and picked up by the Timbers for their final second-division season. After sitting out the first half of the season with an injury, Dike would love to make an impact against Columbus.

• Portland’s Jeremy Hall is suspended for this game because of “caution accumulation,” which means too many yellow cards.

• Since a four-goal outburst against Colorado, Columbus has scored a total of one goal in four games. The Crew have been shut out their past two contests.

• Portland MF scored the lone goal in a last week's 1-0 win over Chicago, giving him a career-high five on the season.

Injury report: Timbers — Out: D Kevin Goldthwaite. Crew — Out: DF Josh Williams; MF Dilly Ruka; MF Tony Tchani.

Transaction: The Timbers loaned midfielder/forward Ryan Pore to the Montreal Impact of the North American Soccer League for the remainder of the 2011 season.