Timbers try to stay undefeated all-time vs. Fire

ByReuters ESPN logo
Wednesday, June 21, 2023

The Portland Timbers look to continue their dominance of the visiting Chicago Fire when the teams meet Wednesday night.

Portland has never lost in 10 matches against Chicago, compiling a 5-0-5 record. This will mark the first matchup between the teams since the Timbers recorded a 3-2 home victory on Aug. 14, 2019.

Portland (5-7-6, 21 points) has blanked its past three opponents, but the offense has struggled, managing just one goal during the 1-0-2 stretch.

The Timbers are coming off a scoreless draw against the host San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. It was Portland's fourth scoreless tie of the season. The Timbers have scored just two goals over their past six matches.

"We had real opportunities," Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said of the San Jose game. "We had a post. We had a chance with Evander that I don't know how the goalie saved it. We had our chances; now we have to put them away."

Portland goalkeeper David Bingham credited defensive improvement as the biggest factor in the club's recent stinginess.

"When you put up shutouts, it gives you a really good chance to win the game," Bingham said. "There's not too many games where we don't score.

"We knew our defensive performance the 10 games before the clean sheets started weren't up to par for us. We just defended poorly, and we've really changed that."

Chicago (3-6-8, 17 points) is winless in its past six MLS matches (0-3-3) and hasn't played since falling 2-1 to the visiting Columbus Crew on June 10.

The Fire knotted the score at 1 on a goal by Xherdan Shaqiri in the 88th minute. However, Lucas Zelarayan scored a long-range goal in the third minute of second-half stoppage time to give Columbus the victory.

"Yeah a tough result, bitter result conceding towards the end of the game," Fire midfielder Brian Gutierrez said. "Unfortunate, really unlucky. There's a whole other half of the season. Got to take these three days off as an advantage to rest the mind and get back for Portland. And believe as a group, as a unit."

Said interim coach Frank Klopas: "You know, it's a tough one when you come back like that and to give up one in the end like that. It's really unbelievable."

Chicago is 1-5-2 on the road this season.

--Field Level Media