Portland, Chivas battle for much-needed victory

Two Western Conference cellar-dwellers will square off at the StubHub Center on Wednesday as Chivas USA gets set to host the Portland Timbers.

Portland was winless through its first eight games of the season but has managed to climb out of last place by taking eight points from its last four matches.


That run has come at the expense of Chivas, which has slipped to the foot of the table despite taking four points from its last two games.

An eight-game winless run was snapped on May 11 when the Goats went to Dick's Sporting Goods Park and collected a 3-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. They followed that result by taking the lead against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium a fortnight ago, only to surrender a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw.

Even though Chivas squandered a tremendous chance to collect back-to-back wins, goalkeeper Dan Kennedy sees the result as a step in the right direction.


"Two-game road trip for us and we got four points in total," Kennedy said after the game. "It was really a great step for our team. It's something to build off of. We don't like conceding goals but given the circumstances we'll take a tie to that game."

In order to build off the result and extend its unbeaten run to three games, Chivas must get a share of the spoils against a Timbers side that has not lost in league play since a 1-0 defeat at Real Salt Lake on April 19.

Portland has produced a 2-0-3 record since that match, most recently coming from behind in a 2-1 victory at Red Bull New York.

"I thought it was good, it reminded me a lot of last year when we went on the road and beat Sporting Kansas City at their place; very similar game, we went down early and we battled back," Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said after the match. "I thought last year (that game) was a real turning point, it gave us confidence that we can go in anywhere against any team and get three points.

"I thought after we gave (up) the first goal we were the better team the rest of the game. I thought until the first goal they were probably better, they had us on our heels a little bit, but after we gave up the goal you saw the response. We showed what we are capable of. I thought we were very dangerous all night, I thought we defended well overall. It looked like the old Timbers."


Bradley Wright-Phillips had given the Red Bulls the lead with a 36th-minute penalty, but the Timbers battled back thanks to a Maximiliano Urruti brace.

Urruti has been a key figure for Portland in recent weeks, scoring four goals over the club's last four games. Not only did his brace at Red Bull Arena last weekend lift the Timbers to victory, but his last-gasp goal against D.C. United on May 3 guided the club to its first win of the campaign.

"We believe in Maxi, early in the year he missed some chances and lost a little bit of confidence, but he's in great form right now and that's exactly what you want out of your strikers," said Porter. "He and Gaston (Fernandez) and even (Fanendo) Adi, all have done well recently with their minutes. Right now we have all three of our strikers playing pretty well. That will be important down the stretch, and certainly on Wednesday (against Chivas USA) we're going to need to use all three."


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