United-Timbers Preview

The Associated Press

After closing out a successful April with a lopsided win, D.C. United will try to keep their momentum going into May by adding to the Portland Timbers' woes.

Hoping to have Eddie Johnson available, United will seek to extend their unbeaten streak to six games Saturday night while denying the Timbers their first win of the season.

D.C. (3-2-2) finished 3-0-1 this past month after a 4-1 rout of Western Conference-leading FC Dallas last Saturday at home. Fabian Espindola scored a pair of goals, giving him four during United's last five games along with three assists.

D.C.'s unbeaten streak is its longest since a 5-0-2 run to end the 2012 regular season, which included a 1-all draw in Portland on Sept. 29. United didn't have an unbeaten streak longer than two games in 2013 while finishing with a league-low 16 points.

"For a while there wasn't a lot of belief. This year, it's a group that wants to prove something," coach Ben Olsen told the league's website. "It's everyone. It's staff, coaches, it's guys that were here and had that (2013) season, that have a chip on their shoulder from an image standpoint."

Johnson assisted on one of Espindola's goals in last week's game before leaving in the 51st minute with a hamstring injury. Olsen said the move was precautionary and added, "I think he'll be fine, but we'll evaluate that."

With Johnson's status unclear, United will focus on trying to add to Portland's worst start in the franchise's four MLS seasons. The Timbers dropped to 0-3-5 with a 1-all draw in Houston on Sunday, getting their first road point.

Gaston Fernandez netted the tying goal in the 33rd minute, giving him a team-high three. Portland has scored one goal or fewer in all but one game this season, totaling nine.

The Timbers, one of two winless teams in the league along with Chicago (0-1-6), will attempt to break its drought during a season-high, three-game homestand.

"You have to win your home games," said midfielder Will Johnson, whose team has drawn all four of its matches at home. "Defensively, we have to build on what we've done in the last two weeks. We have to finish a few more chances. We know we're good enough, we know we're capable, but it's time to start (picking up three points)."

Portland earned three points in its most recent match with D.C. after going 0-1-2 in the first three meetings in the series. Darlington Nagbe and Rodney Wallace scored in a 2-0 road victory May 25.

D.C. is 1-0-1 all-time in Portland. Chris Pontius scored on a penalty kick in each of those games but is sidelined following surgery on his left hamstring.

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