BEAVERTON, Ore. — When Jack Jewsbury unleashed the 30-yard shot that produced the first goal in the Portland Timbers’ 2-0 win over Chivas USA on Tuesday, the veteran midfielder was simply following instructions.
Inserting Jewsbury into the lineup in the 71st minute of the U.S. Open Cup qualifying match, Timbers coach John Spencer asked the player for energy, leadership, “and get yourself forward and if you get a strike at goal don’t hesitate to pull the trigger.”
The substitution was hardly a shot in the dark. Spencer noted that he has seen Jewsbury strike from distance many times over the years, an ability that was one reason the Timbers traded for the former Kansas City midfielder.
“As soon as I got that ball in midfield, I looked up and there weren’t too many guys around me, I took a couple of touches and decided to let one rip,” Jewsbury said. “I wanted to keep it on frame with the weather and the wet field and make (Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy) make a save. Fortunately enough, it headed towards the corner and had some good pace on it.”
The pace of the match had bogged down some after an energetic first half that saw Portland create a series of scoring chances. Forced to play with 10 men in the second half, Chivas sat back on defense and made it more difficult for Portland to attack with long passes up the wings or over the top.
“Sometimes you can make changes, switch to a 4-3-3 (formation) and push guys high,” Spencer said following the team’s Wednesday practice. “But sometimes that kills your space that you’re trying to attack into.
“If we weren’t getting looks at goal, we might have changed it up and went to a 3-5-2,” the coach said. “But we just felt we were getting the looks, it was just a matter of time before we hit the back of the net.”
Spencer expressed a similar view about the play of Colombian forward Jorgé Perlaza, who misfired on several potential goals Tuesday.
“I have 100 percent belief in the kid, that he’ll come through. He’s scored goals at every level, and against some big teams,” Spencer said. “His movement is excellent. His hold-up play has been very good. He’s working hard for the team.”
Spencer noted that the adjustment goes far beyond the field, using another Colombian as an example.
“It’s a culture shock, coming from a different country to play here. I remember David Ferreira coming to Dallas and not playing well. Then a year goes by and he’s the MVP of the league who had a fantastic year and took his team all the way to the finals.”
So it might be some time before the Timbers see Perlaza at his best.
“There’s going to be a breaking-in period where it’s uncertain for (Perlaza),” Spencer said. “But I truly believe he has the ability to be a leading goal-scorer in this league.”
NOTES — Darlington Nagbe, the No. 2 pick in the SuperDraft who missed the start of the season following surgery for a sports hernia, will be on the travel squad for Saturday’s game at New England. Spencer said Nagbe might see some action, depending upon the game situation.
• The Timbers viewing party for Saturday’s game at New England will be at Irish Town Bar and Grill in Vancouver. Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. on KPTV Fox 12.