MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013
(All times Eastern)
Toronto (4-12-10) at Portland (9-5-12), 11 p.m.
Portland, OR (Sports Network) - The Portland Timbers are chartering in rather
unfamiliar territory under Caleb Porter.
The former Akron University coach ushered in a new era of Timbers soccer upon
his arrival during the offseason, and he initially found success as the club
suffered just one defeat in its first 17 games of the season.
However, Portland has lost two successive contests and claimed just one
victory in its last seven outings, dropping the Timbers to fifth place in the
Western Conference with 39 points. But Porter's men have a favorable
opportunity to get back in the win column as they welcome lowly Toronto FC to
Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday.
The Timbers are coming off of a disappointing 4-2 loss to Real Salt Lake at
Rio Tinto Stadium last weekend, a match that saw the visitors finish with 10
men following the questionable sending off of Ben Zemanski in first-half
"Well, it's very humbling. Credit to Salt Lake, they showed why they're the
best team in the league to this point," Porter said after the match. "They
punished us and we weren't good enough on the day.
"There were certainly some factors that played into the game. The red card at
2-1 was a pivotal moment. That certainly was a factor and with some guys out,
we have a younger group that lacks experience. For us to be 2-1 - down a man,
in that second half against a team the caliber of Salt Lake who has a lot of
the ball, who has dynamic individual players that can hurt you - that was
going to be a difficult thing to overcome, and in the end we couldn't overcome
Toronto should provide the Timbers with a realistic chance to pick up three
points as the Canadian club has struggled all season.
Most recently, the club earned a point from a 1-1 draw against the New England
Revolution, a tough result given the late winner from Steven Caldwell that was
pulled back for a dubious foul call.
"I didn't get an explanation for the call and I don't think I am going to get
one," head coach Ryan Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com after the match. "I think the
referee knows he has made a mistake. Unfortunately, it has cost us a really
well deserved win. We've have to live with it. That's life. People make
mistakes. We all make mistakes."
The Reds have managed just four wins all season, leaving the club second from
bottom in the Eastern Conference on 22 points.
09/06 16:28:38 ET