The Portland Timbers will take their eight-game unbeaten streak into Wednesday’s home game against Nashville SC in just the third all-time meeting between the clubs.
The Timbers (7-6-10, 31 points) showed a sense of urgency Saturday in an eventual 4-4 tie with Minnesota United. Portland’s Sebastian Blanco scored 13 seconds into the game, the fourth-fastest goal in an MLS regular-season game.
The Timbers still earned a point Saturday despite a rough game from their defense. Even with a quick early goal, Portland trailed 3-1 at halftime, regained the lead in the 65th minute, then gave up the tying goal four minutes later.
“We moved the ball well, but we should have been a little bit more balanced,” Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “More because of our mistakes, we allowed them to be able to go ahead in the game 3-1.”
Blanco finished with two goals, while Jaroslaw Niezgoda added one for his team-leading ninth of the season. Portland also learned this week that forward Felipe Mora will miss the remainder of the season after he undergoes knee surgery Wednesday.
Nashville SC (8-7-8, 32 points) sit in sixth place in the Western Conference, a point ahead of the Timbers. But they are winless over their last three games (0-1-2) after playing to a 1-1 tie with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
Not only does the three-game winless streak match Nashville’s longest of the season, but they are also just 1-2-3 over their last six games.
After reaching the MLS Cup playoffs in each of their first two seasons while in the Eastern Conference, Nashville SC has a chance to make it three consecutive years with a postseason berth.
“It’ll be a real challenge in this Western Conference given what we’ve got to deal with to be above that line,” Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith said. “In fact, I’d go as far as to say that if we’re above the line at the end of this season, it will be the biggest achievement of this group since I’ve been here.”
While Walker Zimmerman heads the Nashville defense, forward Hany Mukhtar leads the team with 12 goals, tied for fourth in the league.
The teams played to a 2-2 tie at Nashville on July 3. Portland won the only other meeting 1-0 in March 2020.
–Field Level Media