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Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers - 3 Questions plus

Well now that we are back focused on the MLS season, Real Salt Lake has a huge match  to end April as they head to Portland to face the Timbers.  The Timbers may be an expansion team but their gutsy high scoring home matches have seen them earn wins over both FC Dallas and the Chicago Fire.  Saturday night will see them face a very mad Real Salt Lake team who lost midweek in the Champions League final.  To get some insight and perspective on the match it was time to exchange questions with Geoff Gibson of Stumptown Footy.

So here are the questions that I put to Geoff:

1. So it is early in the season but Portland is 2-0-0 at home with a plus 3 goal differential, and 0-3-1 with a minus 7 on the road, this is fairly typical for new teams in MLS but what do you account the extreme differences to?

A. I think at this point it's a little difficult to create a trend based on the Timbers past games. We had a rocky start in the first two games and then we had a nice 3 game undefeated streak. It was only going up against LA that we suffered a major setback which, lets face it, is an easy team to suffer one of those setbacks. I firmly believe that each game the Portland Timbers have gotten better. What I'm more worried about is the amount of goals that we allow even when we do win. That's unacceptable.    

the rest of the Q & A after the jump:

2. The Timbers have a unique mix on their roster, some guys from the USL days last year, some MLS guys, and some internationals.  Who are the guys that have been making the difference for the Timbers so far, and who so far have been a disappointment?

A. It's hard to deny the fact that had we not acquired Jack Jewsbury late in the pre-season we would be seriously in trouble right now. He has been stalwart in the midfield in both defense and attacking. The biggest disappointment thus far has been our defense. While on paper it seems like they should be more than up to the task, for some reason they continue to allow space when they shouldn't and give away soft goals. It's our biggest problem area and one that we'll have to live with until the summer, at the very least.    

3. Last year Portland had Ian Joy in their defense and often he was wearing the captains armband, he also was a huge guy with the Timbers Army, what do you think went into the decision to not keep him around this year given his past MLS experience?

A. I don't know the whole story but from what I can recall it was a mixture of him wanting to return home and the Timbers FO wanting to keep their options open for new players (i.e. not signing him as a major player right away). Again it's all a bit foggy given all that happened in pre-season.    

4. If you could chose one player from RSL to add to the Timbers roster who would it be and why?    

A. Jamison Olave. Big, strong, experienced center back. It's no secret our center back position needs something and I believe that Olave could fill that position with ease. He would also help our other two Colombians, Jorge Perlaza and Diego Chara settle into MLS given that he's Colombian and he's played in MLS for a while now. 

You should be able to catch the other side of this conversation on this afternoon.