If Jeld-Wen Field is the lucky charm that spurs the Portland Timbers (5-5-2, 17 points) to victories, then the Home Depot Center, home of Chivas USA (4-4-5, 17 points) is it’s opposite, a place of horror and disappointment. After two games in Carson, California the Timbers have failed to grab any points or even score a goal, being outscored in two games by a tally of 4-0.
The Timbers headed down to face Chivas USA after a tough 3-2 loss to D.C. United to break it’s 5 game unbeaten streak at home. Having made through the insanity of a penalty kick retaken on three occasions, the immediate benching of Kenny Cooper for dissent with coach John Spencer, and a lackluster performance which left the Timbers scrambling for answers this game was supposed to be the one where the team regrouped and got back on track. The specter of no road wins, many questions plagued Portland going into the match.
Chivas USA welcomed back forward Marcos Mondaini from his suspension after his brutal tackle on Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales. It proved to a fortuitous time to return as Mondaini was able to net the game’s lone goal in the 70th minute on the cross from Paulo Nagamura. Nagamura had the ball played in space on the right sideline from forward Chris Cortez which he sent across the goal mouth to Mondaini, who had no trouble slotting it past Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
To that point both keepers had played a spectacular game including Perkins who had been called upon four times before the 60th minute. Among those saves, Perkins proved heroic in parrying an early strike from Mondaini who was fed a ball on a cross from midfielder Jorge Flores that went right between the legs of Timbers defender David Horst on it’s way to the intended target. Perkins would finish with a season high six saves.
Forwards Kenny Cooper and Jorge Perlaza continued to be missing in action as midfielder Jack Jewsbury outshot the duo himself, highlighting the scoring problems facing the Timbers. While being able to scratch out numerous results relying on set plays the team hasn’t seen a goal from the run of play since their game against FC Dallas. With forwards Eddie Johnson and Brian Umony returning from injury, we may begin to see some variation in the lineup to light that spark up top.
A little over a third of the season is in the books for the Timbers and things will have to change for them to continue to vie for a playoff spot in this, their first year as an MLS side among them will be bucking the current MLS and picking up precious results on the road.
(image courtesy of Getty Images)