Timbers at New England
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. today at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
TV: KPTV, channel 12.
Radio: 750 AM.
Timbers (7-7-9, 30 points): This is the first stop on an extra-long road trip for the Timbers, who on Tuesday play Alpha United in Guyana to open play in the CONCACAF Champions League. It is unlikely that many — or any — Timbers will start both games. The Timbers planned to take 28 players to Boston for Saturday’s match, then send 10 of them back to Portland while the other 18 make the long flight to the northern tip of South America.
Darlington Nagbe, sidelined since suffering a knee strain July 27 at Montreal, returned to training this week, though his status for the game at New England is uncertain.
What is certain is that Diego Valeri is hot. The Argentine has scored in four consecutive games and has seven goals and a team-leading eight assists. His goal in last Saturday’s win over Chivas USA was voted MLS goal of the week by fans, his second such honor in the past four weeks. Maximiliano Urruti leads the Timbers with eight goals.
Portland has won three of its last four matches and is unbeaten (3 wins, 1 tie) in road games against Eastern Conference teams. Because this is an interconference match between two teams just outside of playoff position, both clubs figure to be going for a win because a draw wouldn’t help either side much.
Revolution (8-12-2, 26 points): New England has lost nine of its last 10 league matches, a downturn that followed a productive spring. The Revolution went seven consecutive matches without losing in one stretch, winning six of those including a 5-0 thrashing of Seattle. But an eight-match losing streak that started in late June took New England from the top of the Eastern Conference to seventh place, one point below the fifth-place playoff line. The Revolution’s only win in their last 10 is a 3-0 victory over Colorado. Over the other nine matches in the stretch they totaled five goals and were shut out four times.
Top scorer Lee Nguyen scored twice in the win over Colorado. Five of his eight goals came early in the season, including four in a five-game stretch from mid-April to mid-May. Jay Heaps is in his third season as the Revolution head coach after spending most of his 11-year MLS playing career with New England.