Portland, OR – The month of July was not particularly kind to the Portland Timbers.
The club only managed to post 1-2-1 record in July despite entering the month without a defeat since March 9.
But Portland hopes that August will bring more fortune as the Timbers return to action with a clash against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday.
The Timbers saw their astounding 15-game unbeaten streak come to an end on July 7 with a 1-0 loss to the Columbus Crew. They bounced back in thrilling fashion to earn a dramatic 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy, but after a scoreless draw with the Philadelphia Union, Portland suffered a 2-1 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend to leave the club three points adrift of Real Salt Lake in the race for the MLS Supporters' Shield.
"We weren't as far off in the performance as it might seem," Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said after the match. "So we'll keep it in perspective. We certainly had plenty of chances in the game. In my opinion we had far more quality chances than they did. But that's soccer."
Vancouver has also experienced a dip in form in recent weeks, losing two successive league matches after enjoying a five-game unbeaten run.
Most recently, the 'Caps were bested by the Union in a 1-0 result at BC Place after going down to 10 men. It was the club's first loss of the season on home soil, making them the last team in MLS to lose a home game this season.
"We've had a lot of good nights, a lot of great results and it's disappointing to lose that undefeated record at home," said Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie. "I feel like even with the 10 men, we put enough in the game to at least preserve that record. And it was disappointing to not have that now. And it's something that we have to quickly bounce back from."
Still, Vancouver's form has been good enough to lift the club to 32 points on the season, bringing the 'Caps to within two points of the Timbers.
And as if positioning in the Western Conference table is not enough incentive for Portland and Vancouver to claim maximum points on Saturday, the two sides will be battling for bragging rights as they look to improve their standing in Cascadia Cup play.
Vancouver and Seattle Sounders FC enter the weekend level on four points apiece from Cascadia Cup action while Portland follows on just two points.
The Timbers would love to put their dismal July in the rearview while climbing to the top of the Cascadia Cup table.