As we do from time to time, I traded 3 questions with Stumptown Footy, the great Portland Timbers blog here on SBN. Hopefully these provide a little more insight into the opponent from those who know them best.
Portland has been incredibly difficult to beat at home while they haven’t won in six road games. What do you attribute that to and what does Portland need to do to turn things around on Saturday in Frisco?
I think it largely has to do with consistency as a whole and the momentum the team has leading into the game. As a new team, it's easy to get psyched for your home fans, especially when they're as rowdy and fanatical as the Timbers Army. I believe that lends a lot of energy to the Timbers at home.
When they're away sometimes they play well (like against Seattle) and sometimes they don't. It's very hit and miss and largely just seems to stem from a lack of playing time together. Consistency will be key moving forward, especially as the play off push comes late Summer.
Jump for Portland's views on Kenny Cooper so far this year and more
What is the overall feeling on Kenny Cooper’s performances in Portland so far, is he a fan favorite like he was in Dallas?
Well he started out a hero in Portland and, honestly, the fans do still love him. That said, the excitement for him has tempered a bit as he's not scored a goal in a few games. His tif regarding the penalty kick also hurt his image a bit, especially since the fans LOVE John Spencer.
I think when Kenny Cooper starts scoring goals he'll become the fan favorite again, but given that the team is new and there are still some problems in the midfield I can certainly understand why that's difficult at the moment. Recently Cooper has been playing just below Perlaza which is certanly making both more of an attacking threat than they were when they played side by side.
Jack Jewsbury is leading Portland in goals and assists. Is this a good thing or a bad thing for Portland and is he one of the most underrated players in the league?
Good thing. I don't see how more goals and assists from any player can ever be a bad thing. It's a bad thing that our strikers aren't leading in goals, but that's completely separate from Cap'n Jack's accomplishments. He is absolutely the fan favorite player right now and he's really shined for this team. I hope he keeps it up.
As for being underrated. Tough question. I would certainly agree that Sporting Kansas City was neglecting a very talented midfielder (and look where it's gotten them). All I can say is that I thank the soccer gods (and Gavin Wilkinson and John Spencer) every day that they picked up up in mid-preseason as he's one of the main reasons why the Timbers aren't bottom of the barrel like our northern friends, the Vancouver Whitecaps.