Commerce City, CO – A pair of winless teams will meet at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday as the Colorado Rapids host the Portland Timbers.
Portland has looked a much better team through the first four weeks of the season as the Timbers have lost once and drawn twice. Prior to a bye week last weekend, the Timbers earned a hard-fought point against Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field through Rodney Wallace's 90th-minute equalizer.
Wallace received the majority of headlines, but the match marked the return of Portland's captain to the starting lineup.
Jack Jewsbury picked up an injury during preseason, and the 31-year-old eased back into action with a slightly modified position on the pitch against Seattle.
"I honestly think it's the ideal role for him at this point in his career where he can kind of act as a pivot where he can sit in front of the center backs," Timbers head coach Caleb Porter told MLSsoccer.com. "I don't really get caught up in the numbers game. More than anything our players know how we're attacking and how we're defending. I think that tweak with Jack in there allowed us to play through Jack more, it allowed us to protect our center backs."
Portland has produced five goals in three games, but the club added to its stable of attacking talent by acquiring Frederic Piquionne. The former English Premier League striker has been working on his fitness during the off-week in a bid to log his first MLS appearance against Colorado.
"It's good for me because...it was a long trip for me," Piquionne told the club's official website. "Now I have a program to get better, so I have good fitness for the next game. And hopefully I have a chance to play in the next game."
Colorado could also see a striker make his club debut as Edson Buddle has been training without limitation after a couple of injury setbacks.
"I'm wanting to be ready for this weekend," Buddle told Colorado's official website. "I'm pushing myself each and every day to be as fit as possible."
Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja, who may be on the hot seat if match results do not improve, indicated that Buddle is likely to be available for Saturday's tilt but did not reveal how he plans to use the striker.
"Edson has been working very hard during the week," Pareja said. "He's training at a high level. We have a couple of days to go but it is looking like a possibility that he'll be available."
Colorado is sure to be without defender Drew Moor, who has been ruled out of the clash with Portland as he serves a two-game suspension stemming from a red card in last weekend's 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy.