Carson, CA (Sports Network) - The Portland Timbers continue their push for a
playoff spot on Saturday at the StubHub Center against Chivas USA, and the
team is hoping to carry some momentum into the contest from last weekend.
The Timbers snapped a two-game losing skid with a 4-0 win over Toronto FC, but
it was the way Portland won the game that should be the biggest source of
confidence for the team.
Caleb Porter's side has given away points on numerous occasions late in games
this season, and with the club holding on to a 1-0 lead in the last 10 minutes
against TFC, it seemed possible for lightning to strike again.
But instead, the Timbers netted three goals in the final seven minutes to
close out the game and will hope to continue that form against last-place
"That's been an issue for us recently when we've given up points," Porter
acknowledged after the win against TFC. "They had some corner kicks and we're
at 1-0 and we're one play away from losing the game and our guys looked very
big and up for it in those moments. That's key. We can build on that. There
have been other games where we've shrunk in those moments and not made plays
and in this game we did make plays."
Portland enters the weekend tied in fourth place with Colorado in a crowded
Western Conference, so three points against a struggling team like Chivas is a
must if the Timbers are to continue their push up the table.
Porter's side secured a comfortable 3-0 win over the Goats in May in the first
meeting between the teams, but Portland goalkeeper Milos Kocic feels that
Saturday's match will provide a different test.
"We're going to Chivas USA now, and I think it's going to be a very
interesting game because they are not the same team we played against at the
beginning of the year," Kocic said following last weekend's win. "I think
they're much stronger now and it's going to be a tough test for us."
Chivas is coming off of a 1-0 victory over D.C. United last time out, marking
the team's sixth win of the campaign.
A loss or draw against the Timbers on Saturday would officially eliminate
Chivas from postseason play, but as goalkeeper Dan Kennedy said, the rest of
this season is still very much about the team making small improvements.
"It shows that there are improvements, we managed the game a little bit
better, so we came away with three points," Kennedy said after his side beat
United. "In order to be successful in this league, we have to be able to close
out games and we are just learning how to do that. It obviously helps when we
have guys like Carlos [Bocanegra] and Bobby [Burling] in the back just doing
the dirty work. It's part of our learning process."
Portland didn't have to contend with Chivas forward Erick Torres back in May,
and that will be the biggest difference as the 20-year-old has emerged as the
team's most dangerous offensive weapon.
Since joining Chivas in July Torres has bagged seven goals in nine games,
including all five that the team has scored in the last four contests.
The Sports Network