Kenny Cooper bagged his seventh league goal of this campaign to give the Portland Timbers a 1-0 lead in BC Place Stadium against the Whitecaps. A rare occurrence for this Portland side as they have seemingly struggled away from home all season long.
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This was their first win in nearly three months away from JELD-WEN Field. They were able to mix two draws in that span, but clearly they are striving for more out of the squad.
This win keeps Portland’s playoff hopes alive as they are trying to sneak into the tenth place spot as the regular season draws to a close.
The Timbers are now three points back in the playoff race with three matches to be played. They are going to need to clear either the Houston Dynamo or the New York Red Bulls in the point department as they are not likely to make up the goal differential against either side. Which is six goals and thirteen goals respectively.
The Timbers managed to take both meetings with the team they entered the MLS with this season.
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Portland will return home for their last match at JELD-WEN Field of the season.
As bad as they have been on the road this year, it has been a complete 180 degree turn in their own backyard. They have lost just four times at home so far, and three of those four are teams currently in line to make the playoffs.
They sport a mark of 9-4-3 on their own pitch so far. Including a 4-0-2 record in their last six matches. They will certainly want to go out with a bang at home here to please the faithful Timber fans.
If they are to do so, they must go through the Houston Dynamo. This is a golden opportunity to put themselves squarely in the playoff picture. This is essentially a must win situation for Portland, because if they can’t get full points out of this fixture, their playoff hopes will be but totally gone.
Hope is alive though as arguably their best player, Jack Jewsbury, will be back after serving his one match ban from yellow card accumulation.
The Dynamo used two first half goals to secure a victory against the Timbers the last time these two hooked up, so Portland will want to settle that score as well.
It bodes well that Houston only has one road win in their last 16 tries. Portland will have to capitalize if they want to make the playoffs in their first season in the MLS.
Defender Kevin Goldthwaite suffered a ruptured ACL in his left knee earlier in the month.
Goalkeeper Adin Brown is out with a concussion suffered earlier in the month.
Defender David Horst is out with a strained left groin which has sidelined him for nearly five weeks now.
Defender Steve Purdy received two caps this international cycle and also pick up his first international goal for El Salvador on Tuesday.
Defender Mamadou Danso picked up a goal in the 1-1 draw for Gambia over the break.
Midfielder James Marcelin picked up a cap for Haiti in their dominating victory over the US Virgin Islands.
Midfielder Diego Chara picked up a cap for Colombia as they managed to beat Bolivia in a World Cup Qualifier.
Kenny Cooper picked up his seventh goal of the season against the Whitecaps pitting him in a tie with Jack Jewsbury for the team lead. Although a meaningless battle, it will be fun to see if either of them can come away with a goal in the last three fixtures to take sole possession of first.