PORTLAND, Ore. – Danny Califf’s first goal of the season was all Chivas USA needed in a 1-0 win on Saturday night at JELD-WEN Field to send the Portland Timbers to their fifth straight defeat.
Califf, an early-season acquisition from the Philadelphia Union, broke a scoreless deadlock – which saw Chivas on their back foot much of the night – with a set-piece header in the 68th minute.
Despite Portland applying pressure most of the night, Chivas USA took advantage of one of their few chances on a Ben Zemanski free kick near the Timbers’ end. It brought Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins off his line, but Califf was able to head it in before Perkins could get to it.
The first half saw plenty of chances for the Timbers but no payoff. In the 19th minute, Homegrown forward Brent Richards, making his first start, fed fellow striker Kris Boyd with a header at the edge of the box. The big Scotsman employed a crafty back-heeled volley to position himself for a left-footed shot, but it soared high.
Richards nearly found the net for the first time in his young career when he hit a Franck Songo’o cross in perfect stride in the 26th minute. But once again, the chance just missed as it was pushed wide left.
Boyd had another solid look at the net in the 42nd minute when Diego Chara took advantage of a fall by Califf. Chara’s shot deflected off Kennedy right to Boyd, but the Scottish striker mis-hit his shot and Kennedy gobbled it up.
In the end, Portland fired off 20 shots with nothing to show for it.
With the victory, Chivas USA stay within reach of the LA Galaxy, winners over FC Dallas on Saturday, for the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot. The Goats trail the Galaxy by six points, with 27 points from 21 games and will be the home team when they face LA in their next game Aug. 12 at the Home Depot Center.
Portland were swept in the three-game series against Chivas, stretching their losing streak to five games and keeping them at the bottom of the Western Conference with 20 points from 21 games.
Already on an MLS-record 697-minute scoreless stretch on the road, the Timbers now have gone without a goal at all since July 14. Their next game is Aug. 5 at home against FC Dallas, a team that beat them 5-0 just a week ago.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Danny Califf||Veteran center back bagged his first goal as a Goat for winner, and helped frustrated Kris Boyd all night.|
|2||Brent Richards||In his first start, Timbers Homegrown was a welcome shot in the arm on the right wing for flagging attack.|
|3||Ben Zemanski||The winning assist and the winning attitude – midfielder led Chivas with 44 completed passes.|