Timbers hit road after streak ends to take on DC United
After Portland's 15-match unbeaten run ended against its Cascadia Cup rival, the Timbers look to rebound Wednesday night against a D.C. United squad that is hoping to assemble a streak of its own.
The Timbers (10-4-7, 37 points) conceded two first-half goals en route to a 2-1 home loss on Saturday night to the Vancouver Whitecaps, bringing the curtain down on a streak that tied a club record and equaled the sixth longest in league history.
When the dust cleared from the weekend, Portland remained in third place in the Western Conference with a tough two-game week on the road approaching. After visiting D.C. on Wednesday, the Timbers face Sporting Kansas City, the West's second-place team, on Saturday before returning to the Pacific Northwest.
"It's a challenge for us," said Portland midfielder Diego Valeri, who scored his ninth goal of the season in the 71st minute Saturday, from the penalty spot. "We'll need everyone involved for it and we think we're ready to play good games, perform and win both games."
D.C. (5-9-6, 21 points) is also facing a three-game, eight-day stretch, albeit without travel, as it continues its home-heavy second half of the season after the July opening of Audi Field.
United actually has less time to rest than Portland after an exhilarating 3-2 home victory over Orlando City SC on Sunday night.
Luciano Acosta completed his first career MLS hat trick in that one. His last goal won the match six minutes into stoppage time, on a play set up by an incredible defensive recovery and tackle by Wayne Rooney that turned into a stunning long-range assist.
"We said before, we want to try to get nine points in these three games coming up," Rooney said afterward. "It's a good start for us. We need to continue on Wednesday and get better in our performance but try to get the win on Wednesday and then go for the three points on Sunday.
"I think the players will take a lot of confidence. The best way to win a game of football is to score in the last minute."
United remains in last place but only nine points beneath the playoff line and still with at least three games in hand on all other Eastern Conference sides. The gap was 13 when they opened Audi Field six matches ago on July 14.
Portland also has matches in hand on potential playoff opponents, having played two fewer than all others in the West. The Timbers began the season on a five-match trip during the first phase of renovations to Providence Park.
Updated August 13, 2018