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Apr 12, 2024 3:38 pm

Timbers aim to halt slide in encounter vs. LAFC

Portland Timbers

The Portland Timbers will attempt to end a four-match winless run when they host a Los Angeles FC side searching for its first points away from home this season.

The Timbers (2-3-2, eight points) have played four of their past five matches on the road and were losers of three straight before climbing from three goals down to earn a 3-3 draw at Sporting Kansas City.

The match marked the second in a row in which Portland had erased a multi-goal deficit. But the starts of these matches remain troubling for manager Phil Neville.

“We fought back, but I would say this: I’m not happy,” Neville said. “We can compete if we do the basics really well. And we’re not doing the basics really well. And that is not about system. That is not about tactics. That is about mentality.”

Evander scored his third goal of the season from the penalty spot to begin the rally and tie Brazilian attacker Antony for the team lead. And Jonathan Rodriguez added his first assist since his arrival from Club America in a transfer. He scored his first MLS goal two games prior in his debut, a 3-1 home loss to Philadelphia.

Los Angeles (3-3-1, 10 points) travels north after a well-earned 2-1 home win over the Los Angeles Galaxy last Saturday. Timothy Tillman scored his third goal of the campaign in the early going, and Denis Bouanga added his third from the penalty spot late in the first half.

But neither attacker has scored on the road this season, one reason the defending Western Conference champions have six fewer goals than opponents across their three away defeats.

Although LAFC eventually won the West despite earning only four road wins in 2023, manager Steve Cherundolo says it’s an area in which his team has to improve.

“I think the mentality of the group is (to) stop the rollercoaster effect on our results,” Cherundolo said. “To try and get some stability in our results, more importantly away from home. So that has determined the focus of the week really.”

Venezuelan teenager David Martinez will probably make his return off the bench for LAFC on Saturday after he served a red card suspension in last weekend’s victory.

–Field Level Media

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