FOXBORO, MA - APRIL 10: Fans New England Revolution show their support before a game between the New England Revolution and the Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium on April 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
It's time to get our first look at one of this season's expansion sides, the Portland Timbers.
The Revs are riding a pretty good run of form into this match and will be looking to continue the trend. The offense has struck with surprising potency early in matches and then taken advantage of some fortuitous refereeing decisions to maintain their leads. Luckily, Portland has conceded the majority of its allowed goals this season in the first thirty or so minutes of a match, so the Revolution should be poised for success.
I'm excited to get a first-hand look at a new MLS team. The success of recent expansions (Toronto, Seattle, Philly) shows that MLS is moving into markets that guarantee its own success, and the groundswell of grassroots support in these communities is encouraging for a league that is really on an upswing in growth and development. Every time an expansion team visits Foxboro I look at it as a commentary on this league's progress and potential.
There's obviously no previous data to analyze in terms of games played between the Timbers and the Revs, but that doesn't mean there's no history. Timbers head coach John Spencer was the assistant to Dominic Kinnear in 2006 and 2007 when the Houston Dynamo beat the Revs in back to back MLS Cup finals. Injured goalkeeper Adin Brown is a familiar face in Foxboro, as he backstopped the Revs in the early part of the last decade, including the 2002 MLS Cup Final loss, before losing his job to Matt Reis.
To that end, the Timbers will probably put rookie 'keeper Jake Gleeson between the sticks tonight. He made his debut last week when Adin Brown left with an injury and conceded a wonder goal to Javier Martina. At midweek, however, he put in a masterful performance as the Timbers beat Chivas USA 2-0 in US Open Cup Qualifying, so the Revs attackers need not expect to get any soft goals.
Darlington Nagbe, the #2 pick in this year's SuperDraft, is reported to have recovered enough from his sports hernia surgery to feature this evening. Most Timbers prognosticators I've spoken with seem to think that if he's healthy enough to play, he will be likely to start. Big things are expected out of the former Akron Zip, and he was touted as by far the most dangerous attacker in the draft and a player capable of making an immediate MLS impact.
If you're looking for a further primer on tonight's clash, check out our Know Thy Enemy preview. Also, I appeared on Mao's Football Show over at Cascadia.fm yesterday as a resident Revolution expert. Michael, Steven and Kelly held a lively discussion concerning Timbers soccer and I highly recommend a listen.
With that, here is your live game thread. I'll post the lineups after the jump when they become available. Start the discussion below!
Revolution: Reis; Alston, Cochrane, Soares, Domi; McCarthy, Joseph, Phelan; Boggs, Schilawski, Nyassi
Bench: Mansally, Stolica, Dube, Kinne, Tierney, Barnes, Shuttleworth
Portland: Gleeson; Purdy, Brunner, Horst, Wallace; Alhassan, Marcelin, Jewsbury, Hall; Cooper, Perlaza
Bench: Johnson, Umony, Pore, Nagbe, Lowry, Goldthwaite