Fire v Timbers Match Preview

The Fire will face an old nemesis in forward Kenny Cooper who always seemed to manage a goal against Chicago while playing for FC Dallas.  Cooper is Portland's main offensive weapon and tallied the Timbers first ever MLS goal on opening night against Colorado.  He's joined up top by 25 year old Colombian Jorge Perlaza.  Perlaza played with newly acquired designated player Diego Chara at Deportes Tolima in Colombia.  Chara is a midfielder but will not be available until his "paperwork" clears and he joins the team some time in the next ten days. 

In midfield top draft choice Darlington Nagbe returned from injury in the second half of Portland's last MLS match on April 2.  Nagbe figures to be a starter on the left side in place of Ryan Pore who has started two of their three league matches.  Another player returning from injury, Sal Zizzo could get the call on the opposite side although Kalif Alhassan and Jeremy Hall have both seem time early on this season.  James Marcelin and Jack Jewsbury play in the middle.  Jewsbury, the team captain, was acquired from Kansas City during the offseason for what seemed to be a bargain deal of allocation money.  Peter Lowry is doubtful with a knee injury. 

Portland's back line includes some MLS veterans but isn't particularly impressive or fast.  Eric Brunner and Kevin Goldthwaite are the central pairing with Rodney Wallace and Steve Purdy on the left and right sides of the four man back line.  Jake Gleeson has started the last two games in goal (including a USOC win against Chivas USA) due to injuries to Troy Perkins and Adin Brown. 

Carlos De Los Cobos hinted at the possibility of resting some of the usual starters in lieu of having to play another match in Chicago in less than three days but I'm guessing he'll go for the points when they're available and play most of the starters in this match.  Particularly in light of the developments last night in Toronto.  Both David Beckham and Juninho will be unavailable for Sunday's match up.  Both players will be serving mandatory yellow card suspensions.  Beckham received his fifth yellow of the season just before the half and Juninho picked up a second yellow just before the game concluded.  Landon Donovan also appears to be questionable for the Galaxy with a knee injury and did not dress against Toronto.

Josip Mikulic was missed in Seattle and will not be available in Portland either.  Dasan Robinson will get the call in his place for the second consecutive match and will team with Cory Gibbs to attempt marking Cooper.  Gonzalo Segares and Jalil Anibaba are also sure bets to start.

De Los Cobos may opt to rest Patrick Nyarko early given the nasty knock he took over the weekend and the return to fitness of Bratislav Ristic.  Davis Paul could also be in play for a spot.  Marco Pappa isn't a likely candidate to sit and neither is Logan Pause.  Marko Maric is available if the coach decides on a different look in place of Mike Videira, who has played well so far. 

It's also hard to imagine that Gaston Puerari or Diego Chaves will sit to start the match in light of their work rate and production to date.  The match up with Brunner and Goldthwaite should also be a favorable one for the Uruguayans.

Injury Report

Portland 

OUT: Bright Dike F (R achilles rupture), Brian Umony F (R knee MCL sprain), David Horst D (R ankle sprain), Troy Perkins GK (R knee sprain), Adin Brown GK (hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL : Peter Lowry M (R knee MCL sprain); PROBABLE : Sal Zizzo M (R shoulder sprain)

Chicago

OUT : Mike Banner M (L achilles tendinitis), Steven Kinney D (R achilles repair)

Referee

Ricardo Salazar 

Prediction

Much of the attention on this match has been centered on the Timbers and the opening of their newly renovated home stadium.  MLSsoccer.com in particular is acting as if no other city in the league has a loud, filled to capacity arena.  It seems that every question they've posed relates to dealing with the crowd.

Jeld Wen Field is certainly impressive looking and should provide a raucous and intimate setting for Portland fans.  That being said, the game won't be decided by hoopla, opening ceremony giddiness, and a boisterous fan base.  The Timbers are still an expansion team and their current roster reflects it. 

What does play into Portland's favor is schedule.  The Timbers last played an MLS match on April 2 so they've had some time to train, rest, and prepare at home while the Fire played in front of another loud crowd in Seattle last weekend.  Seattle is a better team than Portland and Chicago should have come away with at least a draw if not for the efforts of Kasey Keller.  Jake Gleeson is no Kasey Keller.   

Fire 2 Timbers 1   

 

 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

Comments

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  • Video preview.....

    http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2011/04/timbers-preview

  • Chris Rolfe most of the time used to shine in ESPN spot light, GR who go you think will do this now? I say 3-1 Fire to win... also some attractive soccer against an expansion team would be the cherry on top IMO...

  • Man that Injury Report looks nice. I'm knocking on wood, but it's great to have such a young team, and I think the IR illustrates why that's important. I feel like last year the IR never had less than 4 or 5 guys on it.

    Portland will come out blazing with all the crowd and emotion, but if the Fire can stifle the early onslaught and not give up an early goal (unlike Saturday) I really like our chances for 3 pts. I'm with Adam, I'm going 3-1 Fire.

  • How is it that Mikulic is not on the injury report, if he is out with an injury?

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    They must feel he's close enough to keep off the list.

  • WSCR mellon head Joe Bartosch said that the Fire was playing tonihgt , but then he goes onto ask what Chicago fans were going to do tonight with no teams in action.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    Ignorance on that station never ceases to amuse.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    Insulting the game is sophomoric and archaic.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    Galaxy currently has no plans to play Donovan on Sunday......

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/galaxys-donovan-nursing-knee-inflammation

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    DLC goes with the starters.....

    Johnson
    Anibaba, Gibbs, Robinson, Segares
    Pappa, Pause, Videira, Nyarko
    Puerari, Chaves

  • Portland would have a better chance if they had the great one ( Jackie Gleason ) playing in goal tonight... I think the Fire will drop a 3 bomb on Portland tonight .
    Fire 3 - Portland 1

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    Three is the key number at any rate... we need all three points. I don't particularly care how we get them.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    To the moon Alice.....

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    Jeff Crandall looks at the relationship between Timbers Army and Section 8........

    http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2011/04/friendly-rivals

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    This should be an early preview of how the Fire's season will go.
    If the Fire win, it's a favorable omen, however if the Fire lose or tie,
    it could be a long season.
    Hopefully, Peter Lowry will play, felt he was undervalued by the Fire staff when he was here,
    particularly while Banner is still with the club.
    Haven't been overly impressed with Gibbs so far.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Seems the technical staff thought Lowry's pace was a draw back and they valued Husidic over him. I would still protect Lowry over Banner every day of the week.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I think i understand the protecting of banner. Lowry was a central midfielder and part of a numbers game, while on the lest flank there was gonzo and nothing else really if they always envisioned pappa going up to to the play maker/withdrawn role.

  • In reply to lijien:

    I can understand it, I just don't agree with it since I don't believe Banner would have been selected if made available in the expansion draft.

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