Timbers MatchDay: vs. Real Salt Lake
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Portland at Real Salt Lake
Kickoff: 6 p.m. today at Rio Tinto Stadium.
TV: KPDX 49 (cable Channel 13/713).
Radio: 750 AM (940 AM Spanish broadcast).
Where they stand: Portland (5-7-4, 19 points) is eighth in the Western Conference; Real Salt Lake (10-6-3, 33 points) sits second in the Western Conference.
Last meeting: On March 31 in Portland, Jonny Steele and Kyle Beckerman scored late to rally RSL to a 3-2 win and spoil a two-goal performance from Darlington Nagbe.
Series history: Portland and RSL each have a win, and a tie in three previous MLS meetings.
Storyline: Both teams enter this match with visible chips on shoulders. For the Timbers it is that dreadful record away from home (2-14-8 all time; 0-5-2 this season). For RSL, it is a recent, injury-driven, dropoff (three losses and a scoreless draw) that has taken Salt Lake from the top of the Western Conference to three points behind leader San Jose.
Mosquera eligible: Central defender Hanyer Mosquera has served his three-game suspension. But Timbers coach John Spencer indicated that Futty Danso and David Horst deserve to continue pairing in the back.
Opinions on the road-game woes:
• "What I see on this training field everyday, I don't fear many teams in this league. It's down to us to perform. If we perform at our best level, then we'll give most teams in this league a good game." — coach John Spencer.
• "What gave us the win (over San Jose on Tuesday)? It was the hard work, the desire to do whatever it took. You (ask) why can't we do it on the road? There's no difference. Maybe the field's a little bigger, but that's it. It really comes down to guys making the decision to do the same thing on the road as we do at home." — goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
• "It's a matter of us creating our own energy on the road. … We realize it's got to get better. You can continue to talk about it, but it's time to make it happen on the field." — team captain Jack Jewsbury.
Leaders: Goals — Kris Boyd (5) leads Portland; Alvaro Saborio (7) leads RSL. Assists — Eric Alexander (3) leads Portland; Javier Morales (4) leads RSL.
Injury/suspension impact: Timbers D Eric Brunner continues to be sidelined by a concussion. He is the only Timbers player listed on the official injury report as out. But Portland will likely be without midfielder Franck Songo'o (knee sprain). On Tuesday, Songo'o played his best game so far for the Timbers before leaving the San Jose match with the second-half injury. Defender Rodney Wallace (ankle sprain) and MF Kalif Alhassan (hamstring) are game-time decisions. RSL forward Fabian Espindola (6 goals, 3 assists) will miss the match (yellow card accumulation).
Question of the day: An oldie and moldy one — Will these Timbers ever play with passion and conviction away from Jeld-Wen Field?
Follow Paul Danzer all Timbers season on Twitter at www.twitter.com/col_timbers