Portland, OR – The Portland Timbers and New England Revolution will look continue their impressive runs of form when they meet at Jeld-Wen Field on Thursday.
While both sides are coming off of quality wins, Portland managed to extend its MLS club record unbeaten streak to six games with a shock 3-2 victory at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
Given how strong Sporting has proven to be on its home ground, it would seem as if the Timbers managed to steal a result. But head coach Caleb Porter squashed that notion, saying that his side was the deserved winner.
"We didn't steal the result - we matched [Sporting] toe-to-toe tonight for 90 minutes," Porter said. "I thought we gave them a lot of problems and they had their moments, their chances as well.
"We knew it was going to be that way we knew it would be a game where they had some chances but we had quite a bit as well. In terms of the flow, possession and our ability to press them I thought we really executed the plan we put in place."
The Timbers twice fell behind in the contest, but Ryan Johnson believes that the team's perseverance helped them overcome the deficits.
"We haven't crumbled all season," Johnson said. "We've been in this situation in many games so all of those [events] helped mold us into a team that could handle this situation. We were fine and we knew that we were going to get back and we did."
It is precisely that change in culture that has been the catalyst for change in Portland. A season ago, conceding the lead at Sporting would have meant dropping the result. But this time around, under the guidance of Porter, the Timbers have shown confidence to claim points wherever they go.
Portland has been consistent regardless of whether or not it plays at home, evidenced by the club's six points from road matches and seven points from matches at Jeld-Wen.
The same can be said for New England, which has managed four of its eight points on the road.
In their last outing, the Revs snapped a five-game winless run with a 2-0 home victory over the Philadelphia Union.
Expect head coach Jay Heaps to deploy similar tactics after the tandem of Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe thrived in their central playmaking roles against Philadelphia.
"I thought [Saturday] we put a lot of confidence in Kelyn [Rowe] and Lee [Nguyen] to step up there and be two kinds of playmakers, with Kelyn trying to penetrate, pick up loose balls and Lee to be more of the playmaker in the terms of with the ball at his feet," said Heaps. "The two of them have a nice style. I think they did a nice one-two tonight. I think Lee has a nice way of playing balls and Kelyn reads it pretty well."