Timbers-United Preview

BY foxsports • May 24, 2013

After struggling away from home last year, the Portland Timbers have yet to lose on the road. Though D.C. United finally ended their long losing streak, they're still seeking their first win in over two months.

Portland tries to extend its overall unbeaten streak to 11 matches when it visits United on Saturday night.

The Timbers (4-1-7) are entering their fifth road match in seven games and second of three straight in MLS competition. Away games were not kind to them last year as they went 1-12-4, but now they're the league's only team without a road defeat, winning once while scraping out five ties.

They used a goal in the 84th minute from Jose Valencia for a 2-all draw at Vancouver last Saturday. Will Johnson scored for the second straight game, his team-leading fifth, as the Timbers moved to 4-0-6 in their last 10.

Portland is tied for the league's most goals with 20 and averages 14.4 shots, utilizing an attacking mentality that coach Caleb Porter likes just as much on the road as he does at home.

"I'd rather go for it on the road and go for three points than have my group taking a negative approach, a reactive approach," he said. "You can get a result that way but I don't think consistently you will."

United (1-8-2) ended a franchise-worst seven-match losing streak with a 1-all draw against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday as rookie Kyle Porter scored his first career goal. But without a victory since March 9, they still sit at the bottom of the league standings. Their six goals are tied for the fewest in MLS and they've allowed an Eastern Conference-high 20.

"It wasn't a great performance from us, but it was a gutsy performance," coach Ben Olsen said. "It's what we needed right now to change our course. Again, things don't go your way, especially when you have a bunch of losses and guys doubt themselves a little bit. You've got to dig in and find a way to get results."

Olsen's club is getting healthier, with Chris Pontius assisting on Porter's goal in his first game back after missing three straight with a groin injury. Fellow midfielder Nick DeLeon played 90 minutes for the first time in four matches after being hampered by a strained hamstring.

"At least I had an impact in the game with an assist, but other than that, when you come back you kind of second-guess yourself on a lot of your decisions," said Pontius, who led D.C. with 12 goals in 2012. "It's not natural. Once I get into a full week of training, hopefully I can be a lot cleaner in the game."

These teams have played a pair of 1-all draws since United won 3-2 in the inaugural meeting in 2011.

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