Quick thoughts on Wednesday’s matchup:
* Lineup changes:
While not saying definitively what the changes would be, Gavin Wilkinson did hint there would be some tweaks to the lineup on Wednesday:
You look at our road results and something has to change. We want to eliminate excuses. We’ve contemplated changing the line up and bringing in some fresh bodies. It is still in discussion and we will wait and see, but it has definitely been a big talking point.
Some injuries sustained during the weekend’s matches obviously will force Wilkinson’s hand a bit in making changes to the lineup. Diego Chara and Donovan Ricketts will not be available so the Timbers will have to fill their spots. Joe Bendik will take Ricketts spot in goal, but for Chara, Wilkinson could either go with Rodney Wallace or Eric Alexander. After Wallace’s excellent match on Saturday, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the lineup. Wilkinson likes to reward players who have put on good showings in matches with starts. That said, expect a few changes up top as well with Kris Boyd getting the nod over Bright Dike and Danny Mwanga getting the start over Sal Zizzo. Mwanga put in an excellent shift off the bench on Saturday and Boyd scored a very Rangers-like goal on Sunday.
One additional change I hope to see is a replacement at RB for Kosuke Kimura, who has failed to impress since joining the team in a trade from the Colorado Rapids. Unfortunately, his replacement will not be the player I would hope to see with only a few matches left in the season. I imagine Wilkinson will start Lovel Palmer instead of rookie Ryan Kawulok.
Here’s a look at what the Timbers starting XI could look like on Wednesday:
Franck Songo’o – Kris Boyd – Danny Mwanga
Rodney Wallace – Darlington Nagbe – Jack Jewsbury
Steven Smith – David Horst – Hanyer Mosquera – Lovel Palmer
* My prediction:
I think you could change this lineup however you want, but unfortunately you would still find the Timbers do not have enough quality to defeat the Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. With the Quakes on a current run of 12 matches unbeaten at home, I just hope the Timbers can keep it close.
REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Chris Strickland; 4th: Yader Reyes
MLS Career: 7 games; FC/gm: 22.3; Y/gm: 2.6; R: 5; pens: 3
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: MF Cesar Diaz Pizarro (R groin strain); MF Marvin Chavez (L hamstring strain); MF Joey Gjertsen (R knee surgery); MF Sercan Guvenisik (L hamstring strain); DF Tim Ward (L nonspecific soft tissue injury)
PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: DF Chris Taylor (R hip surgery); PROBABLE: MF Freddie Braun (abdominal strain); DF Andrew Jean-Baptiste (L hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD:
SJ: Victor Bernardez, Rafael Baca
POR: Jack Jewsbury
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:
SJ: Mehdi Ballouchy. Marvin Chavez, Ramiro Corrales, Steven Lenhart, Steven Beitashour, Alan Gordon, Chris Wondolowski
POR: Kris Boyd, Jack Jewsbury, Hanyer Mosquera, Lovel Palmer, Kosuke Kimura, Diego Chara