Is this heaven? No, it's the House of Pane, where the Timbers have reserved their most divine play this season and sold-out crowds have made things rather hellish for visitors.
Portland can't seem to lose at home, while Columbus can't seem to win on the road. Will those trends continue before it all ends?
Burning questions for a scorched earth will be answered tonight when the Timbers (4-3-2) host the Crew (3-2-4) for an 8 p.m. match (Fox 12, 95.5 FM) at Jeld-Wen Field. Should hellfire fall upon the land (I wonder how substitutions will work if the rapture occurs during the second half?) the Timbers hope to maintain their last-in-MLS perfect home record, while the stupidly-named Crew hope to rebound from an embarrassing loss to lowly San Jose last week after seven straight results.
I caught up with Portland captain Jack Jewsbury on Thursday and talked to him about Portland's strengths, the importance of momentum and playing at home, comments about Seattle from Coach John Spencer—who Jewsbury calls "a little fireball"—and scoring on set pieces.
More tonight (I'll be live-blogging the match and/or apocalypse) and EXTRA TIME links after the jump in case the internet is left behind.
EXTRA TIME! Links to keep you occupied before you're called up.
• It may not be the end of the world, but it will mean the end of Portland's perfect home record if they play like they practiced on Friday, according to The Trib's Stephen Alexander.
• The O's Paul Buker outlines Portland's doomsday scenario in his preview.
• The Timbers "can't afford to relax" after an emotional draw last week, says Timbers Insider Kelly McLain.
• The Crew haven't won on the west coast since 2008, but that victory came in the MLS Cup final, notes Craig Merz of MLSsoccer.com.
• Stats 'aplenty about tonight's match from Slide Rule Pass.
• Prost Amerika notes the Timbers can do some serious table-climbing should they stay perfect at home tonight.
• Columbus is looking to change things up front to counter Portland, says The Dispatch's Shawn Mitchell, while Tom Reed notes the Crew's "offensive futility."
• The Timbers will ride that home-pitch advantage for at least one more match, says RSL Soapbox's denz, who predicts a 1-0 Portland victory.
• Goal.com's previewers make some points before agreeing Portland will earn three of its own.
• For both teams, it's been all about location, location, location, says Noey Kupchan of STATS.
• Stumptown Footy's Geoff Gibson has even more links, along with a thorough rundown of question and answers about each club.
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