Ten days ago, the Portland Timbers traveled to Carson, CA to take on Chivas USA. Back then, the KeyBank Match-up was Timbers' Ability to Control Pace vs. Goats' Ability to Keep Things Tight.
The game, unfortunately, tilted more towards the Goats end of that Match-up with Chivas USA scoring in the 16th minute and then packing it in and holding on to the 1-0 lead for the three points.
Saturday’s match at JELD-WEN Field (8 pm PT, ROOT SPORTS, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940; Presented by Flir Systems) should present few surprises given the familiarity bred from the recent encounter. The Timbers know they will want to score early and often to take control of the match and will have the Timbers Army faithful loudly backing them in their quest
Leading this charge to score is Portland forward Kris Boyd. With a brace against LA, he was snake bit against Chivas USA. How he’s able to get the ball in the back of the net and the Rojiblancos’ efforts to stop him takes us to Timbers soccer analyst Robbie Earle’s KeyBank Match-up.
Chivas USA’s Danny Califf came over in an early season re-structuring of the team. The veteran backliner joined rookie Juan Agudelo as two new faces for Robin Fraser’s squad. After captaining the Philadelphia Union since their inaugural season, Califf came to southern California with a long history of quality defensive leadership.
Califf has won an MLS Cup, a U.S. Open Cup, as well as numerous national team call-ups. More recently, Califf helped lead the backline that snuffed out a very solid second half from the Timbers while the two teams battled it out at The Home Depot Center. While Portland kept pushing and prodding looking for an opening, Califf and the Goats would not break.
On Saturday, the Scottish Boyd will be looking to change that. A target striker who depends on quality service in the box, he’ll need help from his outside wings for certain. That said, Boyd will also command Califf’s attention due to his focus on the net. Boyd leads Portland in shots (52) and shots on target (23) and will look to provide direct pressure on the Chivas defense and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
The Timbers have spoken often this week of how their recent friendly with Aston Villa helped loosen up the team. After an eventful month of July marked by a head coaching change, Portland now finds themselves easing into a new routine.
Knowing the Goats' near somnolent offense—Juan Pablo Angel leads the team with only 3 goals—Portland will want to make sure that they don’t fall victim to the same mistakes twice. Boyd will look to score and beat Califf & Co. all of which could help the Timbers control the game at the pace they want to in their home surroundings.
Provided Boyd can assist in this challenge, then the Timbers may be able to translate some of that new energy into a welcome three points at home.