On the Road Again
After conceding five goals to the Los Angeles Galaxy in a 5-3 loss at JELD-WEN field, the Portland Timbers will once again hit the road when the take on Chivas USA in The Home Depot Center.
The Timbers, who are tied for last place in the Western Conference with 19 points, are 0-6-2 on the road this year.
Kickoff: July 18, 2012 4:00pm EST
Los Angeles, California – ROOT Sports
Por 5-9-4 (0-6-2 A)
Chv 5-7-5 (2-6-2 H)
The midweek matchup between these two teams will not be the first time they met this year. On April 7th, Portland conceded two second-half goals to surrender a 1-0 lead they took into halftime, resulting in a 2-1 loss in JELD-WEN.
After taking a week off from MLS play, Chivas will be returning to the pitch trying to make a push for the MLS playoffs. They currently sit on the brink of playoff positioning, sitting in 7th place with 20 points — six points behind the resurgent Galaxy.
Though their last match was a 4-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders on July 11th in Open Cup play, Chivas had an admirable draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps in their last true MLS game on July 7th. Chivas and Vancouver played to a 0-0 draw in Los Angeles, giving the home team just their second home win of the season.
Despite a talented roster, Chivas has had trouble finding the back of the net this year. Conceding just eighteen goals this season, Chivas has only been able to manufacture eleven goals throughout seventeen games.
Portland is coming off yet another disappointing loss that saw them surrender more than three goals for the third time in four games. Two goals each by David Beckham and Robbie Keane fueled a relentless Los Angeles Galaxy en route to a monstrous win over the Timbers at JELD-WEN, 5-3.
Though the Timbers did find ways back into the game, coming most notably from two goals by Kris Boyd, they ultimately lost their 3rd game at home.
For a season that was filled with such promise, things have not gone the way the Timbers had hoped. Gavin Wilkinson has replaced John Spencer as head coach while losing to Cal FC in the US Open Cup.
Matchup to Watch: Portland Timbers vs. The Road
While there are key players such as Boyd of the Timbers and James Riley of Chivas, the biggest matchup to watch in this midweek game is how Portland will handle yet another road game.
As is well documented, Portland has had their fair share of struggles on the road. They have failed to win a game on the road this season, amounting to a 0-6-2 record away from JELD-WEN. With eight games left to play away from their home stadium, Portland must find a way to start putting together better games away from passion-filled JELD-WEN.
Key to this will be whether or not the Portland attack can muster up any offense against an impressive defensive team in Chivas that has only surrendered 18 goals so far this season.
Look for the Timbers to return to two attackers after switching to five midfielders for their game against the Galaxy, trying to optimize the chance of scoring goals away from JELD-WEN.
With a team that struggles to score goals (Chivas) and a team that fails to win away from home (Portland), don’t expect too much excitement from this matchup in Los Angeles, California.
That being said, there will still be opportunities for both teams to score, resulting in what I believe will be a 1-1 draw.