Sweeping the season series could be even easier if teenage forward Juan Agudelo returns Saturday night as visiting Chivas tries to hand the Timbers a fifth straight league defeat.
One-third of the wins for Chivas (6-8-5) have been over Portland (5-11-4) - a 2-1 road victory April 7 and a 1-0 win July 18 at home.
Agudelo, acquired May 17 from New York, has not seen action since June 23 due to a swollen knee but returned to training this week.
“It’s all up to the training staff and the coaching staff, but I feel great,” Agudelo told Chivas’ official website.
Agudelo is sorely needed for a Chivas attack that has produced 13 goals in 19 games for the league’s worst ratio.
“I’m really frustrated to be on the sideline and watch my team and play the game without me being able to help them,” Agudelo said. “I’m just excited to get back out on the field with my team. It felt great this week, training. It’s been a little while and just looking forward to what comes and forgetting about my injury.”
Chivas fell 3-1 to archrival Los Angeles on Saturday, three days after Miller Bolanos’ goal helped the club post its most recent win over the Timbers.
“We have to really take a look at these last two games really in-depth, take a look at what we did well against Portland and how we came out, how we played, how we were sharp, how we put them under pressure, how we didn’t come out like that against Galaxy and what changes we need to make going forward,” defender Danny Califf told the club’s official website.
The Timbers have been outscored 14-3 during this losing streak, with three losses coming since general manager Gavin Wilkinson fired John Spencer on July 9 and took over as interim coach.
Portland fell 5-0 at FC Dallas last Saturday. The Timbers are feeling a bit more positive after Tuesday’s home friendly with English Premier League club Aston Villa ended in a 2-2 draw.
“I think the fact that we scored two goals against a team that hasn’t been scored on in this tour (is a plus),” Wilkinson said. “Even though it’s during their preseason, I think their ball speed, their ball movement, the individual movement off the ball, I think they play good football. And we coped with it.”
Wilkinson called the loss to Dallas “embarrassing” after his club was outshot 14-6.
“There’s always something to improve on, and coming off the Dallas performance, I was very, very happy, to be honest,” he said.
While Portland remains winless on the road, it is a respectable 5-3-2 at home - where Scottish striker Kris Boyd has scored six of his team-high seven goals.
“We’re going to respect them fully and obviously respect them when they’re playing in Portland, because they have the Timbers Army, which can get them motivated and things like that,” Chivas defender James Riley said.