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Jun 28, 2024 9:59 pm

Timbers roll into matchup with slumping Minnesota United

Evander Rodriguez timbers

The red-hot Portland Timbers look to stretch their unbeaten streak to seven games when they host struggling Minnesota United FC on Saturday.

A victory would put Portland (7-7-6, 27 points) ahead of Minnesota (8-6-5, 29 points) in the Western Conference standings, underscoring the Timbers’ dominant play over the last six weeks. Minnesota United collected a 2-1 home win when the clubs previously met on May 18, but Portland hasn’t lost since, going 4-0-2 in its last six matches.

“Every game we’ve been trying to jump a place, jump a place and climb the table,” Timbers coach Phil Neville said. “It’s step by step, we’ve got a lot of work to do. … I think this team could still play better. (We’re) nowhere near where we need to be in terms of the consistency.”

All three of the Timbers’ shutouts have come in their last five matches, as Portland has outscored opponents 10-4 during its six-game run.

Portland’s dynamic scoring trio of Felipe Mora, Jonathan Rodriguez and Evander have each scored three goals during the unbeaten streak. Mora leads the team with nine goals, while Rodriguez and Evander have eight apiece.

While the Timbers are surging, Minnesota is going in the opposite direction. The Loons are 1-4-2 since the previous match with Portland, including a winless (0-3-1) mark in their last four matches.

Last Saturday’s 1-0 home loss to Austin FC saw Minnesota play most of the match with 10 men after Hassani Dobson was ejected on a red card in the 26th minute. The Loons generated 12 shots against Austin, but put only one shot on target.

Despite the loss, defender Zarek Valentin liked the “energy and … mindset” that his team showed even while short-handed.

“I think if we play that way with that mentality, that aggression, we’re going to win more games and get more results than not. … That’s going to take us a lot further than we deserved (against Austin),” Valentin said.

Dotson is suspended on Saturday, adding to the long list of Minnesota absences that have contributed to the slump. Several players will be unavailable against Portland due to injuries and international duty, including leading goal scorer Tani Oluwaseyi (seven goals), playing for Canada in the Copa America.

–Field Level Media

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