The Portland Timbers (6-13-6, 24 points) are looking for payback against the Colorado Rapids (8-16-2, 26 points), a team they’ve never defeated since joining MLS and a team which pummeled them 3-0 back in late June. A win Friday could also catapult the Timbers out of last place in the Western Conference and put the Rapids into the basement.
- Diego Chara will be back after missing Saturday’s match with a yellow card accumulation suspension. This is excellent news but where does it leave Eric Alexander? It’s disappointing to see Alexander continue to be the odd man out in this lineup. With a team-leading six assists on the year, it’s pretty clear he needs to be out on the pitch. I thought he played one of his best matches of the season on Saturday. I think it’d be tough to sit him down after playing so well. So the question has to be asked: if Alexander starts who sits? For me it would have to be Jack Jewsbury. Ironically, Jewsbury has played pretty well over the last three matches so he’s made a case to stay in the lineup as well. I’d love to see Gavin Wilkinson have the guts to sit Jewsbury and start Alexander. It’s the one lineup tweak we haven’t seen, and it would be very interesting to see how that lineup would play out.
- As I mentioned in the introduction, the Timbers haven’t beaten Colorado since coming into MLS. Not only that, but the Timbers have only scored one goal in those three matches, while the Rapids have scored seven. The Rapids are reeling right now while the Timbers actually look to be playing with confidence. We’ll see if that confidence can turn into a second straight victory for the Timbers.
- Speaking of confidence, is there any player in MLS right now playing with more confidence than Darlington Nagbe? After his goal on Saturday, I saw Nagbe walk towards the center circle. As he got close to the center, he turned around and raised his arms and clapped and pumped his fists in the direction of the Timbers Army. I’m not sure I ever saw anything like that from Nagbe before. Sure, he’s celebrated after goals before, but this seemed different in a way. There was almost a bit of a swagger to Nagbe, and I liked it. Earlier this season, I thought Nagbe had truly arrived. Then he went 19 matches without scoring a goal, and I was as critical of Nagbe as anybody. Now, I hope his recent resurgence marks a true coming out party into MLS.
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Jeff Hosking; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 140 games; FC/gm: 24.2; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 32; pens: 44
INJURY REPORT: PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: DF Chris Taylor (R hip surgery); PROBABLE: MF Kalif Alhassan (L patellar tendinitis); GK Jake Gleeson (R groin strain) … COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); FW Edu (R foot contusion); QUESTIONABLE: FW Kamani Hill (L quad strain); PROBABLE: FW Omar Cummings (R ankle soreness)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Kris Boyd, Jack Jewsbury, Hanyer Mosquera, Lovel Palmer, Steven Smith, Kosuke Kimura … COL: Jaime Castrillon, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Martin Rivero, Tyson Wahl
ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Rapids 3 wins, 7 goals … Ties 0
AT PORTLAND (1 meeting): Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Rapids 1 win, 1 goal … Ties 0
FUTURE MATCH: 9/5: Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, 7 p.m. MT (NBC SN)
Timbers get their 2nd victory in a row. 3-1 over the Rapids.