BEAVERTON, Ore. – Kris Boyd, meet Danny Mwanga.
The Portland Timbers’ new forward combination came together for the first time on Wednesday after Boyd returned from Scotland, where he got married during the team’s two-week international break. The Timbers acquired Mwanga last week in a trade with Philadelphia to help jumpstart an offense that has scored just 10 goals in 12 games this season.
They’ve had just two training sessions on the same pitch in preparation for Sunday’s game against the LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center (7 pm, watch LIVE online).
“It can take weeks, and sometimes it can take minutes,” Boyd said Friday’s about getting on the same page with his new attacking partner. “But in this morning’s training session everyone trained well, and we’re looking forward to Sunday.”
The Timbers are hoping Mwanga’s ability to hold the ball meshes better with Boyd’s finishing ability as opposed to the player for whom he was traded, Jorge Perlaza, who was known more for his speed. Boyd said both their sessions together went very well and was especially thrilled about Friday’s morning session that he described as “fantastic.”
“It’s early days,” Boyd said. “I’ve had two training sessions with the guy. He looks good, he looks sharp.”
Before Boyd rejoined the team from his wedding, Mwanga had been paired with Mike Fucito, another recent acquisition, in training.
“It’ll take some time as these things always do,” Timbers assistant coach Amos Magee said. “Certainly Danny has played well with Mike Fucito over the last week. And the last few days him and Kris Boyd have looked good and sharp as well. So we feel like we have three forwards who are starting to understand each other a little better. … We feel good about the quality of all three of those guys now.”
And this time around against the Galaxy, Boyd is hoping for a better result. The Timbers lost 3-1 to LA on April 14 but could have gone up 2-0 had a Boyd goal not been controversially disallowed by an offside call. He said the team is approaching the game the same way, confident in the way they played before the Galaxy scored three unanswered goals.
“We felt we should have been 2-0 up,” he said. “I think for 40 minutes we controlled the game and passed the ball about, we made chances.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.