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Chivas USA-Timbers Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE
(AP) -- The Portland Timbers have played from behind during each of their matches this season.
That streak may not continue the way Chivas USA has struggled on the offensive side.
Portland looks to avoid a second consecutive loss at Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday night when Chivas goes for its first 2-0 road start.
After going down 1-0 for the fourth consecutive match, Portland (1-2-1) seemed to be on its way to a second consecutive home win last Saturday with a 2-1 lead on Real Salt Lake in the waning moments. But RSL's Jonny Steele scored in the 89th minute and Kyle Beckerman beat goaltender Troy Perkins in stoppage time for a 3-2 victory.
"I think we had a good game plan, but we got caught sleeping a couple of times," said midfielder Eric Alexander, who set up both of Darlington Nagbe's goals.
The Timbers, 10-6-3 at home in two MLS seasons, last dropped two in a row in Portland on July 2 and 10.
"It's a team that plays well at home," Chivas forward Alejandro Moreno told the team's official website. "They know very well what they want to do on that field. They pressure a lot of the field - they're difficult to play against. They're coming out of a (tough) result, so I'm sure they'll be ready to play."
Chivas coach Robin Fraser can only hope his team will be after scoring once in its first four games - a 1-0 win at RSL on March 24.
Chivas (1-3-0) is looking to rebound from its third 1-0 home loss in 2012 - the latest coming Sunday versus Sporting Kansas City.
"It's a time of urgency now," defender James Riley told Chivas' official website. "... We'll concentrate on executing now."
Nagbe has done plenty of that this season, already recording one more goal (3) than in 28 matches during his 2011 rookie season.
"He's just a quality footballer," Portland coach John Spencer told the team's official website after the 22-year-old midfielder became the first Timbers player with a multi-goal game since Jorge Perlaza in last season's home opener. "... It was one of the best performances we've seen in a Portland Timbers uniform."
Portland, which has scored all six of its goals in the second half, could get an offensive boost Saturday if Sal Zizzo (knee) makes his season debut and midfielder Kalif Alhassan returns after missing the RSL match with a strained groin.
Defender Eric Brunner scored and Perkins made two saves in a 1-0 victory on Aug. 24 in Chivas' lone visit to Jeld-Wen Field in 2011.
The Timbers visit Chivas on July 18 before these teams return to Portland 10 days later.
Updated April 5, 2012