The Portland Timbers appeared to emerge from an early-season funk when they scored a franchise-record seven goals against Sporting Kansas City on May 14.
But the fountain of goals appear to have been a mirage as Portland hasn’t won since the splurge entering Saturday night’s game against Inter Miami CF in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The Timbers (3-5-6, 15 points) lost to the San Jose Earthquakes (3-2) and Philadelphia Union (2-0) in their past two outings and didn’t even place a shot on target until the 86th minute in last Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia. Portland finished with just two shots on goal.
The defense is also struggling. The Timbers have allowed seven goals in the past three games and 23 for the season, tied for fourth most in the league. Players can sense the time to turn around the season is now.
“We need a win,” Timbers midfielder Diego Chara said of facing Inter Miami. “I think we have enough talent on this team, and we need to have confidence in every player right now.”
Portland notched a 1-0 home win over Inter Miami last season in the lone previous meeting.
Inter Miami (4-6-3, 15 points) blanked the New York Red Bulls 2-0 on Sunday to improve to 3-0-1 in their last four MLS home games. Ariel Lassiter and Robert Taylor scored the goals.
Overall, Miami has a three-game unbeaten streak (1-0-2) and coach Phil Neville feels the team is putting things together.
“There’s a great spirit and togetherness and there’s a great belief that we’re heading in the right direction,” Neville said. “We’re now beginning to make DRV PNK (Stadium) a little bit of a tough place to go, where it’s been easy for teams in the past.”
A major bright spot for Miami has been the play of 21-year-old Leonardo Campana. The native of Ecuador has a team-leading six goals.
Striker Gonzalo Higuain (two) is the only other Miami player with more than one goal.
Midfielder Bill Tuiloma leads the Timbers with four goals.
Portland likely will be without midfielder Eryk Williamson, who sustained a leg injury against Philadelphia.
–Field Level Media