Timbers-Red Bulls Preview

The New York Red Bulls are trying not to be overconfident about

facing the lowly Portland Timbers.

The Red Bulls will be the more rested team and bring in an

unbeaten home record Sunday night against the lone winless road

team in MLS.

New York (12-7-5) is 8-0-3 at home to match Houston for the

league’s best mark while Portland (5-12-6) is 0-8-3 on the road

after a 2-2 draw at Toronto FC on Wednesday.

The Red Bulls have not played since last Friday’s 2-0 victory

over the Dynamo. That’s the same score they won by the last time

these teams met when the Timbers visited Sept. 24, 2011.

Portland is 0-5-2 in its last seven overall, with the past six

coming since Gavin Wilkinson took over as interim coach following

the departure of John Spencer.

Although all signs seemingly point to a victory, New York is

insisting Sunday’s game will be difficult.

“In this league, you always think sometimes that you might have

an easy game, but it’s never an easy game,” star forward Thierry

Henry said.

Wilkinson didn’t like the body language of his players

Wednesday. The Timbers blew a one-goal halftime lead and fell

behind before Darlington Nagbe tied the game in the 82nd minute in

a matchup of the league’s worst teams.

“We lacked a bit of confidence and you can see it in the

players,” Wilkinson said. “It’s a draw on the road, we scored two

goals, it’s a good thing for us and we have a lot to look forward


Portland has allowed at least one goal in 13 consecutive matches

and has been outscored 18-6 during its current winless run.

The Red Bulls have scored in every game at home, where they have

posted shutouts in winning three straight. Markus Holgersson and

substitute Jan Gunnar Solli scored in last weekend’s victory.

That contest marked Australian midfielder Tim Cahill’s first

home game since he officially joined the team from English Premier

League club Everton on July 30. Cahill is stressing fundamentals

for New York.

“We’re sitting in good position in the table but the same

discipline and consistency from the last game has to be brought

into Portland, really focus on our positives and cut out the

errors,” Cahill said. “For us, if we do that, we’re a very decent


One familiar face to Portland is forward Kenny Cooper, who leads

New York with 13 goals but has only two over his last 11 games.

Cooper scored a team-high eight times last year in the Timbers’

expansion season before he was traded to the Red Bulls in


“It was a special time in my life, being a part of the Timbers’

inaugural season in the MLS,” Cooper told the Red Bulls’ official


Coach Hans Backe, who could opt to use Sebastien Le Toux over

Cooper, is stressing not to overlook Portland.

“It doesn’t matter who you play in this league, I mean that’s

what it’s all about,” Backe said. “Every game is even, you have to

just have the same attitude, spirit as we had against Houston at