MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013
(All times Eastern)
Real Salt Lake (12-8-5) at Portland (9-3-11), 11 p.m.
Portland, OR (Sports Network) - The Portland Timbers have the opportunity to
go level with Real Salt Lake atop the Western Conference standings when the
two sides meet at Jeld-Wen Field on Wednesday.
Salt Lake enters the match in sole possession of first place with 41 points on
the season, but third-place Portland holds two games in hand and could close
the gap with a victory over the Claret and Cobalt.
The Timbers are coming off of a 2-1 home defeat of the San Jose Earthquakes on
Saturday in a showing that head coach Caleb Porter hailed as a complete and
"I thought it was a very professional performance for the 95 minutes," Porter
said after the match. "Part of that was, I think, the mentality and how we
started the game, for sure. That was something that we wanted to do better. I
thought we did. That was one of our better first halves of the year, if not
the best, so that got us off to a good start.
"Second half, a lot of times, it's about managing a game, and I thought we
managed it brilliantly the last 20 minutes, especially. The guys who went into
the game, Jose (Valencia) and Kalif (Alhassan), I thought did a nice job for
us, and everybody else, just did what they needed to do to get the three
points. In MLS, that's sometimes what it takes. It's not always going to be
pretty, you got to grind through it and get it done. And these guys did it
Salt Lake, meanwhile, was on the receiving end of a 4-2 drubbing by the Los
Angeles Galaxy at the StubHub Center on Saturday.
The Claret and Cobalt are a virtual lock to make the postseason, leading head
coach Jason Kreis to put more emphasis on the overall response in Portland as
opposed to the final result.
"I think it's going to have to be about the response, not necessarily too
focused on the results," Kreis said. "We need to respond extremely positively,
we need to put in the works and be ready for a difficult opponent on Wednesday
in a difficult building and just give your best because frankly, if I'm
completely honest with myself, I don't really feel like everyone gave their
best tonight, I think there was more to give."
Wednesday's tilt will mark the first of three meetings between the two clubs.
They will square off at Rio Tinto Stadium on August 30 before a potentially
crucial meeting with playoff positioning implications at Jeld-Wen on October
08/20 18:40:55 ET