Timbers MatchDay: at Chivas USA

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Portland Timbers at Chivas USA

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. today at StubHub Center, Carson, Calif.

TV/radio: ROOT Sports (Cable Ch. 34/734) / FM 101.1.

Where they stand: Portland has 13 wins, 15 ties and five losses (54 points). The Timbers are second in the Western Conference. Chivas USA (6-8-19, 26 points) is last in the West.

Head to head: The Timbers won 3-0 on May 12 in Portland. Tied 1-1 on Sept. 14 at Chivas. All time, the Timbers are 2-4-1 in MLS matches against Chivas.

Playoff picture: The Timbers are in the playoffs for the first time. A win or tie at Chivas will assure Portland a top-three spot in the Western Conference, which means skipping the one-game playoff between seeds four and five.

Timbers story: Portland is on a seven-game unbeaten run. The Timbers have two wins, four losses and 10 draws away from home, and has not won a match in Los Angeles in their three MLS seasons. Midfielder Diego Valeri is expected to start for the second game in a row as his adductor strain injury improves. Valeri has not played a full match since leaving with the injury in the first half on Aug. 30 at Real Salt Lake. Valeri remains tied with Sebastien Le Toux of Philadelphia with a league-high 12 assists. One of four Timbers with at least eight league goals, Valeri hasn't figured in a Portland goal over the last four matches. He provided the tying goal in the Sept. 14 1-1 draw at Chivas. Forward Maximiliano Urruti (hamstring injury) will probably not play. Jose Valencia started at forward in the last Timbers match, and Frederic Piquionne came off the bench. Ryan Johnson is also an option up top. Another lineup decision to watch is whether coach Caleb Porter goes with Kalif Alhassan or Rodney Wallace on the wing opposite Darlington Nagbe.

Chivas story: The Goats have lost four consecutive matches as they careen to the conclusion of another unproductive season. Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy is second in MLS with 104 saves (one behind former Timber Troy Perkins at Montreal). Kennedy missed Wednesday's 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake because of an abdominal strain and his status for this match is uncertain. Tony Melia made his first start of the season in goal on Wednesday. Mexican forward Erick Torres, age 20, leads Chivas USA with seven goals. Chivas' 62 goals against is the most allowed in MLS this season, five more than DC United. Five of the six Chivas wins have come at home (with seven losses and four ties).