Published January 13, 2015
Carson, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Timbers will look to aid their push for the MLS Supporters' Shield on Saturday when the club heads to the StubHub Center to take on Chivas USA.
Portland enters the final matchday on 54 points, and its aspirations of a Supporters' Shield triumph can only be obtained with a victory over Chivas in addition to dropped points from Sporting Kansas City and a Red Bull New York loss against the Chicago Fire on Sunday.
The Timbers are two points back of Real Salt Lake for the lead in the Western Conference, and after the Claret and Cobalt wrapped up their campaign with a 2-1 defeat of Chivas on Wednesday, a win for Caleb Porter's side at the StubHub Center would at least be enough for the club to clinch home field advantage in the postseason.
Portland brings a seven-game unbeaten run into Saturday's clash, most recently playing to a scoreless draw with RSL at Jeld-Wen Field. The result left the top of the Western Conference table unchanged, but Porter was left dissatisfied.
"We're disappointed any time we don't win, because winning is always the goal," Porter said after the match. "We knew it would be a tight game, they're a good team. I thought the game played out exactly the way we hoped it would play out. (Real Salt Lake) didn't get many chances, I can't remember a quality open look they had over the course of 90 minutes. It was a bit back-and-forth in-between the boxes in a tight game, but I thought we were in control of the game for the most part, especially in the second half."
The result clinched a first-ever playoff berth for Portland, a just reward in the eyes of Jack Jewsbury following a season of maximum effort.
"It is definitely nice to look at the standings and to see the little 'X' next to the team name," said Jewsbury. "It's been a while for the guys who have been around here, it probably means a little bit more. We've put in a lot of work; there's been some ups and downs. So at the end of the day, this team, this year has been very good and very consistent and it means a lot for the group to make the playoffs. Now, it's a matter of how far up we can get in the Western Conference and once the playoffs start it's a whole new season."
Chivas, entering Saturday's campaign on just 26 points, has bottomed the West for much of the campaign and already has begun looking toward next season.
"We have been having a preseason inside of this season," said head coach Jose Luis Real. "My job as coach is to install things, basic things, in the part of the season that I have been in charge, that will help us in the upcoming season."
The Goats have nothing to play for, but could still have a say in the final seeding for the Western Conference playoffs. They were, however, unable to play the role of the spoiler against Salt Lake on Wednesday.