Timbers Match Day: Revolution at Timbers

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Revolution at Timbers

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

TV/radio: ROOT Sports (Cable Ch. 34/734) / AM 750

Tickets: 503-553-5555, portlandtimbers.com. A sellout is anticipated.

Where they stand: The Timbers (3-4-1, 13 points) sit third in the nine-team Western Conference behind FC Dallas (20 points) and the L.A. Galaxy (14 points). New England (2-3-2, 8 points) is seventh among 10 teams in the Eastern Conference.

Head to head: Portland and New England each have a win and there was one draw in three previous matches. The Timbers won the only game between the clubs in Portland, 3-1 in 2011.

Timbers' tale: Coming off a 3-2 win at Sporting Kansas City, the Timbers' stock is soaring. Portland, with six consecutive matches without a loss, is now among the top five teams in most MLS power rankings and some are talking about Portland as a threat to compile the best record in MLS. The key on Thursday might be forgetting all of that and focusing on the match at hand. Head coach Caleb Porter says overconfidence will not be a problem for his squad again. ... Defender Futty Danso is expected to play after leaving the Kansas City match with a leg injury. Against Kansas City, outside defenders Jack Jewsbury and Michael Harrington switched sides, with Harrington playing on the right and Jewsbury on the left. Porter said that was a tweak for the KC match and isn't necessarily a permanent swap. As for the quick turnaround from Saturday's win at Kansas City: "It's a good opportunity for us to pick up some quick points and really gain some ground" in the standings, Jewsbury said.

Revolution story: New England has scored only three goals (plus one own goal) through seven matches. But two of those came in Saturday's 2-0 win over Philadelphia, when midfielder Lee Nguyen tallied one goal and one assist. New England coach Jay Heaps moved Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe from the wings to a more central attacking position in the win over Philadelphia, going with a 4-1-4-1 formation with Jerry Bengtson as a lone striker. The Revolution earned a scoreless draw at Seattle earlier this season. Despite a spate of injuries, the New England defense has been solid, allowing only six goals through eight matches.

Caleb Porter on Portland's defense: "The reality is, organizationally we didn't give up a ton of chances through the run of play (at Kansas City). We gave up goals on set pieces, individual errors in critical moments. That's easy to address and sort out."

Did you know? Jeremy Hanson, the boys soccer coach at Columbia River High School and an aspiring referee, is the linesman on the sideline opposite the benches for Thursday's match.