Have you had enough of the NATO nonsense yet? Good thing there’s a Fire game to give respite to the protestors and the watch party is far north of the hubbub. If you can’t make it out, be sure to catch the game LIVE on Galavision (channel listing by provider) or ESPN Deportes Radio (97.5 FM) beginning at 6:00 p.m. CT
Now, Five Things (plus a bonus) which you should know heading into tonight’s match in Portland…
1) FIRE O-FER IN CASCADIA…Thought I might as well get this one out of the way early – the Fire have failed to win a match in Cascadia, going 0-4-1 in five away matches vs. the likes of Portland, Vancouver and Seattle since the latter entered the league in 2009. The single point was actually earned in the team’s first ever match in the Pacific northwest, a 0-0 draw at Seattle on July 25, 2009.
PREVIEW: Fire at Timbers
With this being the team’s only regular season trip to Cascadia in 2012, Frank Klopas’ side will look to make amends on their first visit to Portland last season, a 4-2 drubbing in the rainy opening of JELD-Wen Field on April 14.
2) TIMBERS HAVING TROUBLE SCORING…The Fire face a Timbers side who’s attack has been sort of anemic of late. Having gone 1-2-2 in the team’s last five, Portland has failed to score a goal on their own in their last 427 minutes of play, with the last goal coming from Scottish striker Kris Boyd in the 23rd minute of a 3-1 loss to LA on April 14 (hey that date rings familiar!)
Portland did win a game in that span, seeing Sporting KC’s Chance Myers tally a 41st minute own goal in a 1-0 home win on April 21.
3) OFF TO A GOOD START… Through the first nine games of the 2012 campaign, the Fire have gotten off to their best start over the past three seasons, going 4-2-3 to earn 15 points.
Where does that start rank?
A: It’s actually tied with the 2003 (4-2-3) and 2009 (3-0-6) seasons for the club’s second best start in terms of points earned through the first nine matches. A win on Sunday night would push this year’s team to within one point of the club’s best start through 10 matches, coming when Denis Hamlett led the team to a 6-3-1 record (19 pts) to start the 2008 MLS campaign.
4) COMING FROM BEHIND… Perhaps most impressive about the team’s early record this season is the fact that they’ve come from behind to earn points in five of the seven matches they’ve been at a deficit. More than that, Klopas’ side has earned three come-from-behind victories in those five games with two of them coming on the road (4/21 3-2 win @ TFC, 5/4 2-1 win @ CHV).
While this is the earliest three comeback victories have been earned in club history, the mark isn’t the record. Instead, the 2000 team recorded five come-back victories en route to finishing tied on 57 points with that year’s Supporters Shield winners Kansas City.
The point mark of 57 is the most earned by the club in one season…Still 42 points to go…
5) SPEAKING OF 42… That is exactly the number of consecutive appearances Dominic Oduro has made since joining the Fire via trade from Houston on March 23 of last season. The Ghanaian has appeared in EVERY ONE of the team’s 42 regular season matches in that time. This opportunistic 81st minute game winner in last week's comeback victory over Sporting KC pushed the resurgent Oduro into the Top 15 on the club's all-time MLS goal scoring list, now into a tie for 14th with Cuauhtemoc Blanco.
BONUS: Former Fire forward Calen Carr sort of did his old team a favor, taking a blow to the head from Timbers Gambian defender Futty Danso in the 82nd minute of Portland’s 0-0 draw at Houston on Tuesday. As a result, the MLS Disciplinary Committee fine and suspended the Timbers defender for tonight’s contest.