Chivas USA and the Portland Timbers sit at the bottom of the Western Conference, and while the former has made a habit of staying there over the past four seasons, the latter is beginning to show signs of returning to the top form it established in 2013.
The Timbers will try to string together wins for the first time this season and extend their unbeaten streak to six Wednesday night when they visit Chivas.
Portland (2-3-7) last lost a match on April 19 at Real Salt Lake, but it took until Saturday's 2-1 win at New York to earn its second victory. It's been an apathetic start for a team that finished 2013 atop the West with a league-low five losses, but coach Caleb Porter is hoping the Timbers take off after coming from a goal down on the road.
"We can build on this moving forward," Porter told the club's official website.
After Portland fell behind in the 36th minute, Maximiliano Urruti scored in the 45th and 74th to help land the Timbers their first road win.
The 23-year-old Argentine has four goals in four games despite only starting the last two. It's the forward's first full season in MLS after a hectic 2013 in which he joined Toronto from Argentina Primera Division club Newell's Old Boys on Aug. 16, debuted a day later and then was traded to Portland on Sept. 9.
"I've been getting used to the league. Getting more minutes has been key," Urruti said. "Getting more playing time being on the pitch, that's been molding me into the player that I've become and molding me to the league itself."
The Timbers are unbeaten in four matches with Chivas since the start of 2013 with two wins and two draws, outscoring the Los Angeles club 10-2 - including a 5-0 away win on Oct. 26.
Midfielder Diego Valeri has four goals in those matches while midfielder Will Johnson has three, including the Timbers' goal in a 1-all draw on April 12 in Portland. Chivas forward Erick Torres scored in the 79th minute.
Chivas (2-5-4) has been off since a 1-all draw at Dallas on May 17 after winning 3-1 at Colorado on May 11, a road stretch to be proud of after going 0-14-5 on opposing pitches in league play since April 20, 2013.
Against Dallas, midfielder Marco Delgado scored his first MLS goal in the 60th minute, but Chivas conceded in the 83rd to miss out on consecutive wins for the first time since March 24-30, 2013.
"To get to this point and to finally get my first MLS goal, I couldn't really celebrate - I didn't really know what to do," Delgado said after going 22 matches over three seasons without a goal. "I just wanted to go down in tears."
Chivas' recent home form has inspired tears of a different variety with three straight losses by a 9-2 aggregate. With its next four matches at the StubHub Center - three home and one away fixture against Los Angeles - Chivas will have plenty of attempts to correct that.
"Hopefully we can come back to the two games in one week here at home with that good mentality and with the possibility to get some good results," coach Wilmer Cabrera told the club's official website.
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