COLUMBUS CREW AT PORTLAND TIMBERS
When/where: 8 p.m. today at Jeld-Wen Field.
TV: KPTV (Channel 12).
Radio: FM 95.5 (AM 940 Spanish broadcast).
Records: Portland has 4 wins, 3 losses and 2 ties for 14 points, tied for fifth place in the Western Conference. Columbus (3-2-4) sits fourth in the Eastern Conference.
Why to watch: The Timbers try go 5-0 at home in league play against one of the league’s better defenses.
TIMBERS (4-4-2 formation)
Forwards: Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza.
Midfielders: Kalif Alhassan, Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chará, Darlington Nagbe.
Defenders: Rodney Wallace, Mamadou “Futty” Danso, Eric Brunner, Jeremy Hall.
Goalkeeper: Troy Perkins.
Key alternatives: F Brian Umony, MF Peter Lowry, MF James Marcelin, MF Adam Moffat, MF Ryan Pore, MF Sal Zizzo, D Steve Purdy, D David Horst, GK Adin Brown.
CREW (4-2-3-1 formation)
Forwards: Emilio Renteria.
Midfielders: Robbie Rogers, Dilly Duka, Eddie Gaven, Dejan Rusmir, Kevin Burns.
Defenders: Rich Balchan, Julius James, Chad Marshall, Sebastian Miranda.
Goalkeeper: William Hesmer.
Key alternatives: Forwards Andres Mendoza, Tom Heinemann, and Jeff Cunningham.
One of the 10 original MLS franchises, the Crew were 2008 MLS Cup champions. Columbus posted the league’s best regular-season record in 2004, 2008 and 2009. Despite finishing second in the Eastern Conference, the Crew made some significant roster changes following the 2010 season.
Watch for: Columbus likes to sit back and counter-attack, especially on the road. Expect Portland to push the attack, but the Timbers must be aware of the ability of Crew wide midfielders to quickly switch from defending to attacking.
Players to watch: Robbie Rogers and Eddie Gaven, the wide attackers for the Crew, are capable of breaking down defenders one on one. “These two guys are very, very good players that can beat you on the dribble,” Timbers coach John Spencer said. “(Both have) very, very good technique, and can send great service into the box.”
Spencer’s warning: The Portland coach described his team’s Friday practice as flat.
“We need to be ready to play. I know the fans are going to be ready, so we need to make sure we match the same energy that our fans bring to the game.
“If we perform the way we did in practice this morning, they’ll come in and blow us out.”
• Portland starting center back Eric Brunner and reserve midfielder Adam Moffat previously played for Columbus.
• The Timbers are the only MLS team that has won all of its home matches to date. They are 4-0 in league play at Jeld-Wen Field.
• The Crew have not scored a first-half goal in league play this season.
• Injury report: TIMBERS — Out: FW Bright Dike (Achilles rupture); GK Jake Gleeson (elbow sprain); Doubtful: FW Eddie Johnson (Achilles tendinitis); DF Kevin Goldthwaite (ankle); Questionable: MF Adam Moffat (gluteal contusion); Probable: MF Jack Jewsbury (groin strain); MF Darlington Nagbe (groin strain); FW Brian Umony (knee MCL sprain). CREW — Out: MF Danny O’Rourke (knee surgery); DF Josh Williams (hip labral tear); FW Santiago Prim (ankle sprain).
Tickets: As of mid-day Thursday, less than 20 seats remained for today’s game, and less than 50 for Wednesday’s exhibition against Ajax of Holland.
Gates open: 90 minutes before kickoff for most fans.
Getting there: Parking is extremely limited near the stadium. MAX light rail runs extra trains on match days.
Radio coverage: 95.5 FM has one-hour pregame and postgame shows.