Chivas USA-Timbers Preview

The Associated Press

With Diego Valeri leading the league's top offense, the Portland Timbers are hoping to extend their unbeaten streak against Chivas USA.

The All-Star midfielder looks to set a franchise record with a goal in his fourth consecutive MLS match Saturday night when the Timbers try to deal Chivas a season-worst fourth straight defeat.

This match in Portland comes three days after the crowd there rooted the MLS All-Stars to a 2-1 win over Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich. Clubs hosting the game since 2005 are 1-7-2 in their first competitive match afterward.

Valeri led the MLS team out of the tunnel before the game, prompting his home crowd to provide an ovation.

"How can I explain that?" he told the Timbers' official website. "(I'm) really grateful about our fans. Just let me say thanks because they are amazing every game but I didn't expect that."

Valeri has keyed Portland's attack with four goals in his last five league matches and tied a team record by scoring in a third straight in last Saturday's 3-1 loss at Los Angeles. He's moved within one of matching the Timbers' MLS career goal scoring record held by teammate Darlington Nagbe with 17.

Valeri may have to continue carrying the scoring load with Nagbe and Gaston Fernandez, who has a team-high 10 goals across all competitions, uncertain to play due to injury. The second-year playmaker had no goals and one assist in the first two meetings with Chivas this season after scoring four times with three assists in three matchups in 2013.

Portland (6-7-9) has gone 3-0-2 in the series since last losing to the Goats on July 28, 2012. The Timbers, however, are 2-2-7 at home this year after going 12-2-5 there in 2013 en route to the West finals.

Chivas (6-10-5), at the bottom of the West standings, hopes to avoid its longest losing streak since dropping its final five matches of the 2013 season following Sunday's 1-0 home loss to FC Dallas.

"Out of the 21 games that we had, (it was) the first time we out-possessed a team in all aspects," coach Wilmer Cabrera told the team's official website. "But they took the three points and we now need to move on and think about Portland."

The Timbers, three points off the West's fifth and final playoff spot, lead the league with 36 goals.

They'll try to take advantage of a Chivas team that has allowed seven goals over a three-game skid after giving up only one during a four-game winning streak.

Portland's Will Johnson had an early goal before fellow All-Star Erick Torres countered for Chivas in the second half of a 1-all draw at Providence Park on April 12. Fanendo Adi then scored twice in the second half of the Timbers' 2-0 road win May 28.

Johnson has five goals in his last nine games against the struggling Goats, who have scored no more than one in 18 of 21 matches and are tied for the fewest in MLS.

The Timbers have won two of three since bringing aboard Englishman Liam Ridgewell to improve their defense. They'll have to keep a close watch on Torres, who is tied with Kansas City's Dom Dwyer for second in the league with 14 goals.

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