MLS: Timbers improving, but settle for scoreless tie vs. Crew
Portland, OR, United States (AHN Sports) – Though they have not exactly solved their scoring woes, the Timbers’ offense appeared to awaken while the club’s defense intensified as Portland battled the Columbus Crew to a 0-0 draw Jeld-Wen Field Saturday.
Portland, which had scored a goal in three straight matches, was able to match their total shots on goal from two previous matches against Sporting KC and Montreal.
The revamped lineup of the Timbers, who came into the game having lost five out of their last six, produced six shots on goal.
Portland captain and attacking midfielder Jack Jewsbury and the Timbers backline stepped up as the hosts prevented any late goals.
The Timbers have allowed a league-leading seven goals in the last quarter-hour of games this season, including two last week in a 2-0 loss in Canada.
The Timbers remade lineup Saturday had Jewsbury, former Wizards star and Kansas City’s 2008 defensive player of the year, on defense at right back, while Lovel Palmer and Diego Chara manned the middle of the field.
Franck Songo’o and Rodney Wallace, who normally play outside defense for Portland, were tasked to play the midfield wings. The shift moved Darlington Nagbe back to forward.
It created more chances for the Timbers, who got three saves from goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
Perkins was sharp especially in the opening period, when Columbus appeared to ready to halt its offensive slump.
The Crew, who like the Timbers came into the game with seven points, have scored just two goals in their last four contests.
With Saturday’s results, both clubs now have eight points, with the Crew improving to 2-4-2 through the opening two months of the season, while Portland moves to 2-5-2.