Crew-Timbers Preview

The Portland Timbers and Columbus Crew have gotten off to rough

starts, though each team is doing all it can to remain

positive.

Portland hopes to get a lift from its raucous home crowd as

Columbus looks to end a four-game winless streak Saturday

night.

The Timbers (2-5-1) were unable to build off their April 21 win

over Eastern Conference-leading Kansas City last Saturday, falling

2-0 at Montreal. It was their fifth defeat in the last six games,

and it also left them short-handed this weekend.

Defender Steve Purdy suffered a concussion last week, and he’s

out against Columbus.

Portland coach John Spencer said goalkeeper Troy Perkins will be

a game-time decision after he suffered a large gash on his nose in

a collision with Montreal’s Sanna Nyassi.

“It’s pretty bad,” Perkins said of his cut. “As long as the

doctors say (I can play), I’m going to be in there if coach is

going to play me. I had a fitting for a mask, and hopefully if I

get cleared to play that’ll be my protection.”

Lovel Palmer, who has shifted from defender to midfielder, said

the Timbers can’t get down on themselves despite their struggles –

no matter who is in the lineup.

“We need to stick together as a team,” Palmer said. “We need to

show that we’re still enjoying the game and we still have that

passion for the game. Anytime you start losing that passion, it’s

time to go. … Every single game we go out and work hard for the

franchise, it just hasn’t (always) been good enough for the three

points.”

Portland, which sits in the West cellar, has been better at

home, going 2-2-0 while playing in front of packed crowds. It

prepares to face a Crew team that has scored only once while going

1-2-0 on the road.

Columbus (2-4-1) was shut out for the third time this season

last Saturday, falling 1-0 to Vancouver. The Crew have gone 0-3-1

in their last four, but midfielder Milovan Mirosevic said they

played much better last week.

“It was our best game during the season,” Mirosevic said.

“Incredibly we lose it. Of course, we’re frustrated. Football is

like this. They had only one chance, if you can call it a chance.

It was a bit of luck.”

Defender Josh Williams said the team needs to focus on what’s

ahead rather than its past struggles.

“It’s important we don’t look back on it, as far as the loss,

but we definitely need to take how we played in that game – our

attack, our defense, just our intensity – and match that in

Portland,” Williams said.

Columbus is dealing with injuries as well and will likely play

without Dilly Duka, Carlos Mendes and Olman Vargas due to hamstring

injuries. Several other players are also out, including forwards

Tommy Heinemann and Aaron Schoenfeld.

Williams said the Crew still can compete at a high level.

“We consider ourselves a pretty deep team,” Williams said. “We

believe if people go down, someone else can just step right in and

do the job.”

Meeting for the only time this year, these teams squared off

twice in Portland’s inaugural season in 2011, each earning a 1-0

home victory.