Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Match Preview - Portland Vs. Montreal

One of the USL's flagship teams is visiting PGE Park on Thursday, as the Montreal Impact make one of their two visits to PGE Park tomorrow night at 7 pm. The game is televised on FSN, and the Timbers Army has promised quite a display to start the match, including some coordination of balloons and banners. Should be an interesting site to see for sure.

Key Points:

  • This is the first meeting of the year for these squads. The Timbers lead the overall series record with 5 wins, 3 losses and 2 draws. The Timbers have 2 wins in PGE Park versus the Impact, but they also have two losses to them.
  • The Impact are 2 - 3 -2 on the year with 8 points, while the Timbers sit in third place on the table with 15 points and a 4 - 1 - 3 record. Portland played Vancouver on Saturday, winning 2 to nil and winning a friendly versus the Club America reserves on Sunday 4 to 1. Montreal also played on Saturday, winning in Rochester 1 to nil over the Rhinos.
  • Roberto Perea and Joey Gjertsen have two goals each for Montreal, while Rocco Placentino leads the team in assists with 3. Matt Jordan has played 6 games in goal for Montreal, getting one of the two wins. Montreal has 9 goals scored, but they have given up 7.
  • The Timbers start up a tough stetch of games, as they play the Kitsap Pumas in Bremerton on Tuesday night in the opening round of the US Open Cup, which is the US National Soccer championship. Teams from all leagues qualify to play in this tournament, and the Timbers will be facing a new PDL team in the Puget Sound. If they win, they face the winner of the Sonoma County Sol or the Orange County Blue Star, both PDL teams. They would be in the same bracket as the team up north, so depending on how things played out, it could be a rematch between two old rivals.
  • Montreal continues their trip out west, playing old Canadian rivals Vancouver on Saturday.
Montreal: Edward Sebrango has been their main target for years, but now they've added the former WhiteCap Gjertsen and now Roberto Perea and so they've got a stable of forwards that can score. And it would appear that midfield wise, they've got veterans in Donatelli and Gjertsen mixed in with some younger guys Felix Brilliant and David Testo. Matt Jordan has been their long time keeper, and has a good leg and organizes the defense very well. He has been dodgy in some catches, but overall, it seems the issue with Montreal is which defense is going to show up, the one that holds teams down or the other that struggles to keep the ball from the net.

Portland: The Timbers are flying high with two wins this weekend, and it appears that George Josten has found his touch, with a nifty goal versus Vancouver. The defense has also played stellar ball, keeping the shots to a minimum, as Steve Cronin wasn't even tested on Saturday night much. The real key from Saturday, though, was controlling the midfield, and Claesson, McManus, Pore, Farber and Savage are doing a great job of countering the other team's attacks and also assisting the defense when needed with numbers, while generating shots for themselves.

Prediction: We always win 2 to 1, we always win 2 to 1. Seems like this is our year to have this happen a lot, much like the wonderfully fun 2007 season.

It's a Thirsty Thursday, so the crowd should be bigger, and the weather should cooperate with a cooler night. Hope to see a lot of you there.

Stadium Update: A new group called Friends of Lents Park has formed to provide some opposition to the proposed Triple AAA ballpark slated for there, replacing the old Walker Stadium, and providing a home for the Portland Beavers. The article itself isn't much more than what we know, but in reading the comments, there is a comment from Jeff Rose that is one of the most thoughtful, articulate, and correct statements about this debate. Keeping things as they are for the simple sake of keeping things that way is no way to run a city or a neighborhood, especially if you have an opportunity to really change things potentially for the better. So far, this seems to be the most organized of the opposition groups, even though in reading various blog spots, there are more residents that don't want the stadium than do.

We'll provide updates as we hear more about their plans, as we all wait for the next episode of "What Will Dan Saltzman Do?" Because right now, he's the main vote in saying what happens now, as he is the swing vote in the City Council, as Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioner Randy Leonard support the idea, while Commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz are opposed. And Saltzman isn't saying anything about his plans, after providing the initial third vote to support starting the negotiation process. A lot has changed since that big vote, except for one major thing. It's still a great idea for the city, and it will work. Wishing you loads of luck, Dan, and hopefully, you'll share with us soon your grand plan to make this happen.

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