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Timbers coach Spencer rains on Sounders' excuses

by: OTTO GRUELE JR. Portland Timbers coach John Spencer directs his team from a rainy spot on the sidelines during last Saturday's 1-1 tie in Seattle.

Portland Timbers coach John Spencer said Tuesday that he was less vocal during last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Seattle than he has been in any other match this season.

'We dominated the game,' Spencer said. 'And it was probably the quietest I've been on the sideline throughout the season, because never once did I feel we were in trouble of losing the game at all.'

The Timbers, who rallied from a 1-0 deficit at Qwest Field with a second-half strike, will play host Saturday to the Columbus Crew in another MLS match. When Spencer was asked to talk about the Crew, he smirked.

'Ehhh, first on Seattle,' he said. 'It seemed to me that they had 50 excuses before the game written down why they never beat us 3- or 4-nil at home.'

Multiple reports last Saturday talked about how the rainy conditions favored the Timbers.

Spencer said he had two solutions for the Sounders.

Solution No. 1:

'If it's too wet up there to play soccer," he said, "then they might want to move that franchise, because it (pours) down rain nearly every time I've been in Seattle."

Solution No. 2:

'Next time we go up there, we're going to take plenty of towels for them so we can dry the field off before the game, and maybe take plenty of tissue paper so they can dry their eyes after the game.'

The Timbers' goal came off a free kick by midfielder Jack Jewsbury and on a header by Mamadou 'Futty' Danso.

Spencer said he didn't like the way the Sounders harped on the Timbers' ability to only score on the set piece.           

'We controlled most of the play,' Spencer said. 'Set pieces are a massive part of the game anywhere in the world. We've got guys right now that are getting on the end of great services from Jack, so I don't see why it's a problem.

"They talk about set pieces, there were 11 goals this weekend scored from set pieces in Major League Soccer. I watched Chelsea and Newcastle; there were a couple of goals scored by set pieces.'

Spencer said that he would discuss a possible compromise to the Sounders' complaint with MLS.

'We're going to call the league as soon as training is over and ask them to deduct David Beckham's goal (last week), Landon Donavan's penalty kicks and all the other set pieces that were scored,' Spencer said. 'Because it seems to be that Seattle were not happy that teams can score goals from set pieces.'

There is one thing that did have Spencer a bit worried - what would happen if FIFA decided to make goals scored off set pieces worth only half a point instead of a whole point.

'Oh, my God,' Spencer said, in mock horror. 'I'll be in trouble. I might lose my job. Because that's all we play for. You (media) guys come out here every day and see us working on set pieces for like three hours a day, right?'

Spencer concluded his rant against the Sounders by using a compare and contrast between Seattle and the Timbers.

'We always said, 'No excuses,' ' Spencer said. 'If you're out there and you're on the field and you put on a Portland Timbers jersey, we expect you to play well and win the game. Different teams may have different philosophies, I don't know.'

TIMBERS NOTES: Several players, including Nagbe, Jewsbury and goalkeeper Jake Gleeson, missed Tuesday's training session,

'Just trying to look after these guys,' Spencer said. 'Nagbe has had a little bit of trouble with his groin, a little bit of tightness there the last couple of games. We just don't want to take any chances with him after the (sports hernia) surgery he had earlier in the season. Jack's just feeling his groin a little bit, so (we) kept him out of the way. Gleeson kind of strained a little bit of his elbow, so (he did not participate in training) as a precaution.'