Timbers, Crew play to scoreless draw

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by ANNE M. PETERSON, AP Sports Writer

NWCN.com

Posted on May 6, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 9:14 AM

PORTLAND -- The Portland Timbers saw some positives from a lineup shake-up, just not a win.

Portland captain Jack Jewsbury was moved from midfield to defense and while defender Rodney Wallace shifted to midfield wing Saturday night against Columbus. In the end, however, it was goalkeeper Troy Perkins who held the Crew at bay in a scoreless draw Saturday night.

Perkins, wearing a face mask from a nasty nose laceration he sustained in Portland's loss in Montreal last weekend, knocked Josh William's header over the bar in the 66th minute to help keep the Crew winless in five straight matches.

"It's a positive step," Timbers coach John Spencer said. "Obviously, not the result we hoped for, but a positive step."

Portland had lost five of its last six heading into the match.

Both teams have just two wins apiece. The Timbers (2-5-2) are last in the Western Conference, while the Crew (2-4-2) are ninth, just ahead of winless Toronto, in the East.

Both of Portland's victories have come at Jeld-Wen Field, but Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum didn't let a shot through, making six saves.

"They had their chances, we had our chances," Crew defender Eric Gehrig said. "It was two defenses battling for a full 90 minutes, and like I said, we had some looks, they had some looks. It was back-and-forth soccer, and I thought it was a fair result."

The Crew, playing in their 500th regular-season match, have been shutout four times this season, with six total goals and just one goal on the road.

Columbus was without defender Chad Marshall, a late scratch because of concussion-like symptoms from training Friday. The Crew were thin, with midfielder Dilly Duka, defender Carlos Mendes and forward Olman Vargas out because of hamstring injuries

Portland defender Steve Purdy was out with a concussion, but Perkins was in goal for the Timbers despite a serious laceration from a collision with Montreal's Sanna Nyassi last weekend in a 2-0 Portland loss. Perkins was credited with one save against the Crew.

"I think the tempo of the game was relentless. We really went after them," Perkins said. "There were times we made really bad decisions on our passes, so we got to learn from that. But I think getting a clean sheet and a point is a good start."

Portland saw the return of defender Futty Danso, who missed the season's first eight games because of a fractured bone in his left foot.

Spencer, who hasn't used the same lineup in consecutive games yet this season, shook things up by moving Wallace and Jewsbury.

Jewsbury started 43 matches at defender in Kansas City, and was that team's defender of the year in 2008, but he's been a starting midfielder for the Timbers.

Wallace got a good chance in the 20th minute, but his shot was stopped by a diving Gruenebaum, while Jewsbury's header cleared out a shot on Perkins in the 27th minute.

"I think today we looked more like the Timbers of old," Spencer said.

The Crew's Ethan Finlay got a free kick in the 20th minute, but it was blocked by the line of Portland players. Portland got a free kick of its own in the 58th minute, but Kris Boyd's shot went wide.

"We matched Portland's intensity and physicality. It's a fair result, 0-0, because we could have scored three goals and they could have scored three," Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. "I think we were decisive with the ball and created some chances. We did against a tough opponent especially in front of the fans."

This was the only meeting this season between the two teams. Last season they split, with each team winning at home.

More: Timbers News

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