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Timbers-Chivas USA Preview

AP - Sports

The task is simple for the Portland Timbers. Earn a road victory over Chivas USA and finish atop the Western Conference.

The Timbers also have a chance to claim their first Supporters' Shield if they can end a lengthy road winless streak by topping the last-place team in the West on Saturday night.

Real Salt Lake's 2-1 win over Chivas on Wednesday put Portland two points behind RSL, so the Timbers (13-5-15) can finish one point ahead with a victory in their regular-season finale.

A loss could drop them as far down as fourth in the conference and could force them to play a one-game playoff against the fifth-place finisher.

Portland is two points ahead of Los Angeles and three up on Seattle and Colorado, but has fewer wins than all three clubs - the first tiebreaker. Seattle and Los Angeles meet Sunday while Colorado plays in Vancouver that same day.

The Timbers have gone 4-0-3 in their last seven but are 0-4-5 in the past nine on the road. One of those away games was a 1-all draw with Chivas (6-19-8) on Sept. 14.

Portland needed Diego Valeri's goal in the 50th minute to come away with that point. The Timbers beat Chivas 3-0 at home May 12 with Valeri scoring the middle of those goals and assisting on the other two.

"We're hungry, confident, but we need to have a good performance in this game," Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. "Last time we were there, we didn't so I think we're going to want to make amends for that last performance."

Chivas has lost four straight by a combined 13-2 margin since the visit from Portland. Julio Morales scored the team's lone goal Wednesday in the 77th minute.

"The players were respecting the opponent, but they didn't stop fighting," coach Jose Luis Real said. "We had very good possession against a very good team and the fight the guys put on the field was very remarkable."

Chivas will try to conclude its lackluster season by denying Portland a first-place finish in the West and a chance to claim the Shield. The Timbers need a win and losses from New York and Sporting Kansas City this weekend to earn the best record.

"Obviously the last several games we've played well. We just need to keep doing what we're doing," Porter said. "We aren't taking a team like Chivas lightly. Any team in MLS is capable on any given day of beating anybody.

"I think the last time we played Chivas we didn't have the right approach. I think this time we will."

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