Timbers MatchDay: vs. Chivas USA

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter



Chivas USA at Portland

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. today at Jeld-Wen Field.

TV: KPTV 12 (cable Ch. 12/712).

Radio: AM 970 (AM 940 for Spanish broadcast).

Tickets: A sellout of 20,438 is expected. Extra and obstructed-view seats are often put on sale on the day before home matches. Check Ticketmaster for availability.

Where they stand: Portland (1-2-1, 4 points) is sixth in the Western Conference; Chivas USA (1-3-0, 3 points) is ninth (last) in the conference.

Last season: Portland won 1-0 at home and Chivas won 1-0 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

Storyline: This shapes up as Portland’s offense trying to break through the Chivas defense. One interesting question is how Timbers coach John Spencer will try to attack. Will he start Jorge Perlaza alongside Kris Boyd up front and play Darlington Nagbe as an attacking midfielder? Or will Nagbe, who last Saturday scored two high-quality goals (one was voted the MLS goal of the week) be up front from the start? Chivas has only one goal through four games, so perhaps coach Robin Fraser will change tactics and attack more. But don’t bet on that.

Injury impact: Portland midfielder Kalif Alhassan, who missed last week with a groin injury, is expected to be available and have some role this week. Central defender Hanyer Mosquera is still out because of MLS concussion restrictions. Spencer said that if Mosquera’s injury was only the cracked eye socket he suffered at New England, Mosquera would have been an option for the lineup today. Rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste figures to get his third start at center back. Chivas would love to have forward Juan Pablo Angel in the lineup, but the striker is listed as doubtful and expected to miss his fifth game with concussion symptoms dating to an injury suffered during the team’s preseason visit to Portland.

High stakes? It’s silly to call the fifth game of the season a must-win match. Really silly. But for the Timbers might this be? Sure, wins over the elite teams are important, but to have a legitimate playoff shot, the Timbers must get the better of teams near the bottom of the standings.

Question of the day: Again we ask, can the Timbers score first? Against a Chivas team that is likely to pack in their formation and play for the shutout, getting a lead is critical.

Follow Paul Danzer and The Columbian’s Timbers coverage on Twitter at www.twitter.com/col_timbers