The Portland Timbers will try to right themselves Sunday afternoon when they host Minnesota United in a match with Major League Soccer postseason implications.
The Timbers (13-13-4) find themselves one point out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference after consecutive home shutout losses to DC United and the New York Red Bulls this past week. The home-field advantage has not been there, as Portland, in the midst of a 10-game stretch at home, is 4-4 in the first eight.
After conceding a third-minute goal Wednesday night, the Timbers missed three quality goal-scoring chances and gave up a penalty kick for a goal in second half stoppage time. They have three of their four remaining regular season games at home, including Sunday’s.
“Against Minnesota, we expect another difficult game,” coach Giovanni Savarese told the team website, “a game that is going to be very tactical ... so, we (have to) expect that, prepare for what is coming, and try to make sure that we change our luck.”
Savarese was fined an undisclosed amount for violating the MLS bench behavior policy on Wednesday night. Video showed him leaving the coaches box in front of the Portland bench and wandering across the center line of the pitch onto the New York half of the sideline while clapping his hands.
Minnesota (14-10-6) can move up to as high as second place if the Seattle Sounders lose Sunday at DC United. The Loons, at 48 points, are currently in third place in the Western Conference and can clinch a playoff spot with a win Sunday and an FC Dallas loss or draw, or a San Jose loss.
“They can put three or four (goals) on anybody,” Loons coach Adrian Heath told the team website about their opponent. “We know it’s going to be difficult, but we’ll go there full of confidence.”
Minnesota United is coming off a 3-1 win over playoff contender Real Salt Lake, in which lightning-quick forward Darwin Quintero scored two goals to give him 10 on the season.
—Field Level Media