Crew 0, Timbers 0

The Portland Timbers saw some positives from a lineup shake-up,

just not a win.

Portland captain Jack Jewsbury was moved from midfield to

defense and while defender Rodney Wallace shifted to midfield wing

Saturday night against Columbus. In the end, however, it was

goalkeeper Troy Perkins who held the Crew at bay in a scoreless

draw Saturday night.

Perkins, wearing a face mask from a nasty nose laceration he

sustained in Portland’s loss in Montreal last weekend, knocked Josh

William’s header over the bar in the 66th minute to help keep the

Crew winless in five straight matches.

”It’s a positive step,” Timbers coach John Spencer said.

”Obviously, not the result we hoped for, but a positive

step.”

Portland had lost five of its last six heading into the

match.

Both teams have just two wins apiece. The Timbers (2-5-2) are

last in the Western Conference, while the Crew (2-4-2) are ninth,

just ahead of winless Toronto, in the East.

Both of Portland’s victories have come at Jeld-Wen Field, but

Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum didn’t let a shot through,

making six saves.

”They had their chances, we had our chances,” Crew defender

Eric Gehrig said. ”It was two defenses battling for a full 90

minutes, and like I said, we had some looks, they had some looks.

It was back-and-forth soccer, and I thought it was a fair

result.”

The Crew, playing in their 500th regular-season match, have been

shutout four times this season, with six total goals and just one

goal on the road.

Columbus was without defender Chad Marshall, a late scratch

because of concussion-like symptoms from training Friday. The Crew

were thin, with midfielder Dilly Duka, defender Carlos Mendes and

forward Olman Vargas out because of hamstring injuries

Portland defender Steve Purdy was out with a concussion, but

Perkins was in goal for the Timbers despite a serious laceration

from a collision with Montreal’s Sanna Nyassi last weekend in a 2-0

Portland loss. Perkins was credited with one save against the

Crew.

”I think the tempo of the game was relentless. We really went

after them,” Perkins said. ”There were times we made really bad

decisions on our passes, so we got to learn from that. But I think

getting a clean sheet and a point is a good start.”

Portland saw the return of defender Futty Danso, who missed the

season’s first eight games because of a fractured bone in his left

foot.

Spencer, who hasn’t used the same lineup in consecutive games

yet this season, shook things up by moving Wallace and

Jewsbury.

Jewsbury started 43 matches at defender in Kansas City, and was

that team’s defender of the year in 2008, but he’s been a starting

midfielder for the Timbers.

Wallace got a good chance in the 20th minute, but his shot was

stopped by a diving Gruenebaum, while Jewsbury’s header cleared out

a shot on Perkins in the 27th minute.

”I think today we looked more like the Timbers of old,”

Spencer said.

The Crew’s Ethan Finlay got a free kick in the 20th minute, but

it was blocked by the line of Portland players. Portland got a free

kick of its own in the 58th minute, but Kris Boyd’s shot went

wide.

”We matched Portland’s intensity and physicality. It’s a fair

result, 0-0, because we could have scored three goals and they

could have scored three,” Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. ”I

think we were decisive with the ball and created some chances. We

did against a tough opponent especially in front of the fans.”

This was the only meeting this season between the two teams.

Last season they split, with each team winning at home.