Timbers MatchDay: Colorado at Timbers

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

COLORADO AT TIMBERS

When/where: 7:30 p.m. today at Jeld-Wen Field, Portland.

TV: Live on Root Sports (Comcast cable Ch. 34, 734 HD); Galavision Spanish broadcast (Comcast cable Ch. 619).

Radio: AM 750 (AM 940 Spanish broadcast).

Records: Colorado is 4-3-7, Portland is 5-5-2.

Why to watch: The Timbers get a second shot at a MLS foe for the first time. Colorado beat Portland 3-1 in the Timbers MLS debut on March 19. This one is more significant to the Timbers, who have lost two straight.

PROJECTED STARTERS

Portland Timbers

Forwards: Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza.

Midfielders: Kalif Alhassan, Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe.

Defenders: Rodney Wallace, Mamadou “Futty” Danso, Eric Brunner, Jeremy Hall.

Goalkeeper: Troy Perkins.

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

Colorado Rapids

Forwards: Conor Casey, Andre Akpan.

Midfielders: Wells Thompson, Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Jamie Smith.

Defenders: Anthony Wallace, Drew Moor, Tyrone Marshall, Kosuke Kimura.

Goalkeeper: Matt Pickens.

Key alternatives: MF Sanna Nyassi, F Caleb Folan, MF Ross LaBauex, F Quincy Amarikwa, D Marvell Wynne.

THE MATCHUP

Watch for: Can Portland play with purpose in the midfield? In recent games, the Timbers have struggled to build momentum by winning midfield battles and attacking with purpose.

It won’t be easy. Veteran midfielders Jeff Larentowicz and Pablo Mastroeni were keys to the Rapids domination of the Timbers in the opener, and are a big reason Colorado is unbeaten in eight games despite missing some key players.

NOTABLE

• Fit to be tied — Colorado has had six consecutive draws — an MLS record — during an eight-game unbeaten string.

• Both teams will have lineup changes from the units that battled in the season opener. For Portland, goalkeeper Troy Perkins, and midfielders Darlington Nagbe and Sal Zizzo were injured and missed the opener, while midfielder Diego Chara had not yet been signed by the Timbers. For Colorado, forward Omar Cummings (injury) and winger Brian Mullan (suspension) are key pieces who will not play today.

• Conor Casey, who played for the University of Portland in 1999-2000 before turning pro, has been limited to eight appearances (5 starts). He scored a goal in the last two Rapids games, his first goals of this season.

• Today’s match will be the 299th MLS regular-season match for Colorado midfielder Pablo Mastroeni. Only 13 players have played in 300 MLS games. Mastroeni, 34, played for the United States in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

• Lineup decision. Timbers coach John Spencer must decide whether to start Darlington Nagbe or Sal Zizzo as a wide midfielder. Nagbe, the team’s first pick in the college draft, has been slowed by injuries but might be healthy enough to try for a full 90 minutes. His skill could give the Timbers a needed boost.

• Injury report: Timbers — Out: FW Bright Dike (Achilles rupture); Doubtful: MF Peter Lowry (quadriceps strain); Probable: GK Jake Gleeson (elbow sprain); MF Jack Jewsbury (groin strain); FW Eddie Johnson (Achilles tendinitis). Rapids — Out: FW Macoumba Kandji (knee ACL tear); MF Davy Armstrong (concussion); Questionable: DF Marvell Wynne (hamstring strain); FW Omar Cummings (ankle sprain); Probable: MF Jamie Smith (calf strain); GK Matt Pickens (groin strain); FW Quincy Amarikwa (ankle sprain); FW Caleb Folan (groin strain); MF Joseph Nane (shoulder strain)

Suspended — Rapids: Brian Mullan (through June 26). Suspended next yellow card — none

International absence — Timbers: Steve Purdy (El Salvador).

FAN GUIDE

Tickets: The game is sold out.

Gates open: 90 minutes before kickoff.

Getting there: Parking is extremely limited near the stadium. MAX light rail runs extra trains on match days.

Radio coverage: 750 AM has one-hour pregame and postgame shows.

More information: www.portlandtimbers.com.

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