The Portland Timbers have stayed positive after a lackluster showing in July, and would appear to have a good chance at some better results this month.
The Timbers will seek a franchise record-tying fifth consecutive home win in the first of three straight MLS games at Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday night against the short-handed Vancouver Whitecaps.
After an unprecedented 15-game unbeaten streak, Portland (8-3-10) went 1-2-1 this past month and finished July with a 2-1 loss at San Jose last Saturday. The Timbers, who totaled three goals in July, didn’t get on the board until Darlington Nagbe found the net in the 83rd minute.
“We’re still as confident as we’ve ever been. We didn’t get the result this last weekend, but we very well could have,” defender Michael Harrington told the league’s website. “We didn’t play our best game, but we certainly played well enough to win.”
Perhaps fueling some of that confidence is the Timbers’ upcoming season-long homestand. Along with its four straight wins at Jeld-Wen, Portland is 6-0-1 there since the beginning of April.
The Timbers’ only five-game home win streak since joining MLS was a 5-0-0 start in their inaugural 2011 season.
“We have a lot of home games coming up, so that’s huge for us,” forward Ryan Johnson said. “It’s in our hands, and I think we’ll get the job done.”
Portland is 4-0-2 all-time against its Cascadia Cup rival and 2-0-1 at home, but all of those wins have come by just one goal. The Timbers needed a late goal to force a 2-all draw in their only matchup this season in Vancouver on May 18.
Jose Valencia scored in the 84th minute, and All-Star midfielder Will Johnson had a goal and an assist. Camilo scored in the 24th for Vancouver and assisted on Gershon Koffie’s goal in the 54th.
Camilo has 11 goals in his last 11 games and is tied for the league lead with 13, but the Whitecaps will be seeking to avoid a season-high third straight loss.
Vancouver (9-7-5) has one goal in its last two contests and suffered its first shutout since May 4 with last Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Philadelphia. Before those back-to-back defeats, the Whitecaps outscored opponents 14-6 during a 5-0-1 stretch.
Koffie and Jun Marques Davidson will serve suspensions Saturday. Darren Mattocks (knee), Omar Salgado (foot), Jay DeMerit (Achilles), Andy O’Brien (hamstring) and Kenny Miller (groin) are among the injured.
“Other guys have been waiting for their chances, and now it’s up to them to take it,” coach Martin Rennie said. “They need to make the most of the opportunity.”
Vancouver and Seattle each have four points through three of the six games in the Cascadia Cup while Portland has two points in its two contests. The Timbers won the Cup last season.