Portland Timbers celebrate a goal at Jeld-Wen Field.
Getty Images

After winning back the house, Timbers feel right back in it

PORTLAND, Ore. — Just less than a month ago, the Portland Timbers were left for dead.

After squandering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 tie at home July 30 against Toronto FC, the Timbers had gone winless in nine of 10 matches — a brutal stretch that included seven losses.

The lineup was in turmoil. The playoffs seemed unrealistic. And head coach John Spencer was fielding questions about his job security — a scenario that seemed unfathomable when the Timbers were the toast of the town after they shot out of the gate with a seven-game unbeaten streak at home.

But now everything has changed.

After Wednesday’s 1-0 victory against Chivas USA — the Timbers' second straight win — Portland are tied with New York for the final wildcard playoff spot, though the Red Bulls hold an advantage thanks to head-to-head and goal-differential tiebreaker rules.


“We’re just learning what is required to be successful in this league,” Spencer said. “I think we've grown up quickly this year. I think we grew up after we had that slump and I think we came out at the [other] end of the tunnel.”

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Portland even weathered a two-game losing streak on the road last week, something made possible by reestablishing their home dominance. The Timbers started August with a 3-0 victory over league-leading LA Galaxy, and then followed it up with victories over the Vancouver Whitecaps and Chivas USA.

“It’s huge,” Timbers midfielder Sal Zizzo said. “I talked about it before: Playing at home, we’re a tough team. Coming back off two road losses and getting two home wins, we’re right back in things.”

But first, the Timbers face the specter of going away from JELD-WEN Field when they play Saturday at D.C. United, one of the teams they leapfrogged in the wildcard standings with Wednesday’s victory. The Timbers are 1-8-3 on the road.

United are trailing Portland by just a point.

“I think that we’re formidable at home at times,” Spencer said. “We need to, now, after the last two performances, get on the road to DC and try and put in a good performance there so that we stay in this position.”

Who do you want to see on the field vs Real Madrid? Voting ends Friday!

Don't miss your chance to help select the 2017 MLS All-Stars. Vote now for the MLS All-Star Game Fan XI presented by Target. Everyone that submits a ballot is entered to win a VIP trip to the 2017 MLS All-Star Game.