Timbers MatchDay: vs. Chivas USA

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter



Timbers at Chivas USA

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

TV/radio: ROOT (Cable Ch. 34/734) / AM 750.

Where they stand: Portland (10 wins, 12 ties and 5 losses) is fifth in the West with 42 points. The Timbers are two points ahead of sixth-place FC Dallas. Chivas (6-7-15, 25 points) is ninth in the West and has the third worst record in MLS.

Head to head: This is the second of three meetings this season. On May 12, Portland won 3-0 at home. The Timbers visit Chivas again on Oct. 26 for their final regular-season match. Chivas caused problems for Portland the previous two seasons, winning four of five matches.

Timbers story: Given Chivas' last-place position, this is a critical opportunity for the Timbers. A win puts Portland at 45 points with six matches — four of those at home — remaining.

The Timbers roster is also stronger than it was during August, and not only because of the acquisition of Argentine striker Maximiliano Urruti in Monday's trade that sent Bright Dike to Toronto. Ryan Johnson, Jose Adolfo Valencia, and Urruti will be available to play up front.

In midfield, Diego Valeri will likely play off the bench if he doesn't start as he recovers from an adductor strain.

Valeri's impact was clear last week when the Timbers scored three goals after he entered as a late substitute. Valeri is tied for the MLS lead in assists with 12. Timbers midfielder Kalif Alhassan won the fan votes for both goal of the week and save of the week for his efforts last Saturday against Toronto. Friday was the last day MLS teams could make roster moves this season.

Chivas story: This is not the same Chivas team that Portland beat in May. In its last four matches, Chivas has two wins, a tie with Vancouver and a 1-0 loss at Seattle. Chivas is shooting for a third consecutive home win after victories over the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United. The addition of Carlos Bocanegra has steadied the Chivas back line, and Mexican forward Erick Torres has scored a team-high seven goals in nine matches with the team since he was acquired on loan from Chivas of Guadalajara.