Matchday Preview: Timbers seek first victory in Toronto
Toronto FC kick off the BMO Field portion of their 2011 campaign when they play host to the Portland Timbers. It’s the second consecutive meeting with an expansion club for TFC, after falling 4-2 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC last weekend. The Timbers began their MLS history with a defeat, dropping a 3-1 decision to the defending MLS champion Colorado Rapids.
The Portland Timbers kicked off their inaugural MLS campaign with a loss, falling 3-1 to the defending league champion Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
- The Rapids took the lead after just eight minutes, when Omar Cummings’s crossing pass from along the right endline took a deflection and was hammered home by Jeff Larentowicz. Cummings then doubled the lead in the 29th minute when he raced onto a flicked header from Conor Casey and finally knocked a second-chance effort after Portland goalkeeper Adin Brown saved his solo attempt.
- Jamie Smith made it 3-0 barely a minute later, thumping home a drive from long range. Kenny Cooper scored the first goal in Timbers MLS history, driving home a low free kick 10 minutes from time.
- John Spencer’s team for the first game for the Timbers featured 10 players with MLS experience. Jorge Perlaza was the only player making his MLS debut.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Adin Brown – Steve Purdy, Kevin Goldthwaite (David Horst 46), Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace (Kalif Alhassan 66) – Ryan Pore, Jack Jewsbury, Peter Lowry (Adam Moffat 46), Jeremy Hall– Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza.
- During the preseason, the Timbers had allowed just three goals in eight games – a total matched in the opening 45 minutes of their inaugural MLS match.
- "I think we made individual errors and got punished badly for them," Spencer said. "When you come and play against a good team, champions of the league, and you give them chances, you dive in and you don't win tackles, you don't compete, you're going to get punished."
- Spencer indicated their will not be many changes to his team, though, for the club’s second match.
“These guys have played well from the start of the preseason. In all the preseason games, the guys competed and played well,” Spencer said to The Columbian. “… (If) all of a sudden you wield the ax, it doesn’t show that I have much confidence or stability in the group.”
- Kenny Cooper scored the first goal in Portland’s MLS history, a low free kick in the 80th minute in Colorado. It was Cooper’s first goal in MLS since June 20, 2009, his next-to-last game before moving to Germany.
- Portland joined Vancouver in scoring goals in the club’s inaugural game. It’s the first time that a pair of teams entering the league in the same season each scored in their MLS debuts.
- "Our movement up front was average at best. You look at the difference between their two (forwards) and our two was the movement," Spencer said to The Oregonian. "When the ball comes up (to the Rapids forwards) ... they keep a hold of it and knock it back to the midfield players. If you don't hold the ball up front, you're not going to score goals."
- Spencer made a change in the back four at halftime, taking off center back Kevin Goldthwaite and putting in David Horst.
- "We were all ready for it. We prepared well. We knew how they were going to come out," midfielder Jeremy Hall said. "We watched video (Saturday morning) and we knew what they were going to do. We just fell asleep on a couple of plays and it bit us."
- Goalkeeper Adin Brown played in his first MLS game since 2004, starting in place of Troy Perkins, who suffered a strained knee ligament. Brown made four saves, all in the second half.
- “He's probably the one player that can come out (of the game) with (passing) marks and can hold his head high," Spencer said to The Oregonian. "He made some tremendous saves."
Toronto FC opened their fifth season with a loss in the first all-Canadian match in MLS history, falling 4-2 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday afternoon at Empire Field.
Whitecaps FC opened the scoring with the first goal of the club’s MLS history, as Eric Hassli finished a Davide Chiumiento cross that was deflected on by Atiba Harris.
- But Toronto FC leveled terms five minutes later, Dwayne De Rosario firing home from a through ball by Maicon Santos. It was the 8,000th goal in MLS history.
- Chiumiento slipped in Terry Dunfield in the 26th minute, and his angled shot gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead. Harris then made it 3-1 after the break, when he knocked home a shot from a corner kick scramble.
- Hassli finished off his double in the 72nd minute, strolling in to knock the ball into an unguarded goal after Wes Knight was sent in all alone behind the TFC defense. Maicon Santos finished the scoring with a long-range blast two minutes later.
- Aron Winter’s team featured a pair of newcomers in attack in Nick Soolsma and Javier Martina, with Dwayne De Rosario playing behind the front three.
- TORONTO FC (4-2-1-3): Stefan Frei - Dan Gargan, Ty Harden, Nana Attakora, Adrian Cann - Nathan Sturgis (Gianluca Zavarise 69), Jacob Peterson (Mikael Yourassowsky 71) - Dwayne De Rosario - Nick Soolsma (Keith Makubuya 46), Maicon Santos, Javier Martina.
- Toronto FC were hoping to get off to a better start. In 2010, they opened the season with a pair of losses, then won just twice over the final 12 games of the season.
- “What you saw was a team that had more heart, more hunger, more desire and really wanted to get a result for their home fans,” an angry Toronto captain Dwayne De Rosario said to the Toronto Sun. “It was extremely disappointing. It’s one thing to lose, but the way we lost ... there was no fight.”
- The four goals allowed to Vancouver was the most since a 4-1 loss to New York last Aug. 21 and matched the most allowed by TFC last season.
- “A couple of goals they scored we gave it to them, mental errors,” said Adrian Cann. “(But) you learn from mistakes. You've got to move forward with a good performance. It was our fault, we let it go and gave them the three points as well.”
After returning to the club following the preseason trip to Charleston, S.C., after a contract dispute, Cann was put into the starting XI at left back. “Playing there is something different I’m trying to adapt to, to say the least,” Cann said to the Toronto Star.
- TFC boss Aron Winter indicated Cann could be returned to his central defense spot for the visit by Portland, where he figured for most of the 2010 campaign.
- “It's going to take time,” said De Rosario. “It's hard to implement our new system and new style of play different from what a lot of guys are used to and it's going to take time for guys to adjust. I hope it's sooner than later because games are going to start coming fast. I believe we have the guys that are able to adapt.”
- At the spearhead of TFC coach Aron Winter’s 4-3-3 scheme, Maicon Santos scored a goal and added an assist in the 4-2 season-opening loss to Vancouver. Maicon had 4 goals and 2 assists with Toronto last season after a midseason move from Chivas USA.
- “It's just a matter of when to play forward and when to execute the pass,” De Rosario said. “We've got to get our act together, get things sorted, put more passion into it, more drive and take advantage of the situation in every game that comes through.”
REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. SAR (bench): Daniel Belleau; JAR (opposite): Eric Proctor; 4th: Geoff Gamble
MLS Career: 26 games; FC/gm: 29.3; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 4; pens: 4
INJURY REPORT: TORONTO FC – OUT: MF Julian De Guzman (knee surgery recovery); MF Elbekay Bouchiba (sprained knee); QUESTIONABLE: DF Gianluca Zavarise (ankle) … PORTLAND TIMBERS - OUT: FW Bright Dike (R Achilles rupture); FW Eddie Johnson (R Achilles tendonitis); MF Darlington Nagbe (sports hernia); GK Troy Perkins (R knee sprain); PROBABLE: MF Sal Zizzo (R shoulder sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: POR: DF Mamadou Danso (Gambia)
ALL-TIME: First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 7/30: Portland Timbers vs. Toronto FC, 8 p.m. PT
Coaches record: Aron Winter v POR: first game … John Spencer vs. TOR: first game