KeyBank Match-up of the Match: Home Momentum vs. Desperation
The saying that there’s nothing quite like home cooking has certainly been true for the Portland Timbers this year at JELD-WEN Field. Take in their 3-0-0 record in MLS play, 4-0-0 if you include the Timbers win over Chivas USA in the earlier U.S. Open Cup Play-in, and you begin to get the feeling that the team is enjoying their newly remodeled digs.
Credit must be given to the solid work the team has shown over these wins, though there’s no denying that the Timbers have built up a considerable sense of home momentum—especially coming off the incredible 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake. For the players, however, successfully achieving three points while at home is all part of the plan.
As goalkeeper Troy Perkins put it following the victory, “Getting three points at home is crucial.” He added, “Now if we can just carry this over to next week and when we go on the road we can do the same.”
Tonight’s opponent in the San Jose Earthquakes, however, come into Portland with an entirely different kind of momentum. The Earthquakes have not won in five, yes FIVE, games. This past weekend, the team lost to a 10-man Philadelphia Union furthering their frustrating run of play.
It’s a type of streak that has teams worrying making something positive happen quickly because the longer the wait, the longer the desperation mounts. And that sense of desperation is what leads us to the KeyBank Match-up of the Match.
KeyBank Match-up of the Match
Go back to the Timbers win over Chivas USA at Merlo, and Portland was a team in a similar sense of desperation. Winless on the season in MLS play, the team returned to Portland to play at University of Portland's Merlo Field—JELD-WEN Field not quite open— and presented a greater looseness and sense of purpose to a rain-soaked though fired up capacity crowd. The 2-0 win was just the beginning of getting on track for the team and helped kickstart the regular season campaign.
With San Jose, head coach Frank Yallop has tried different motivations, different lineups, players have called players-only meetings, and yet the wins have still failed to materialize. That said, desperate times call for desperate measures--here’s no telling what kind of frantic energy the ‘Quakes may bring to Portland and that could make them a dangerous and hungry side to face.
Should the Timbers maintain their focus and stamina within their friendly confines—this game presents the second match of three in seven days at JELD-WEN—then they could pull off another important home win.
Do that, and the road to the U.S. Open Cup continues.