Easy win for Timbers in Cincy? Savarese: "Who thinks that way is a fool"

Starting a 12-game road trip for the 2019 MLS regular season, the Portland Timbers could already be reeling through two games after picking up a draw and a loss at Colorado and LAFC, respectively.

They've allowed the most goals in the league so far (7) and have a milestone game coming up next, as 2019 expansion side FC Cincinnati host their first game in MLS against the Timbers on Sunday (5 pm ET | FS1 in US; MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada).

But Portland head coach Giovanni Savarese was upbeat in his assessment of the team's performance so far this season.

"We're not content with the fact we gave away too many goals the past two games, but there's a lot of good things that we have done," he said during a press conference on Wednesday.

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"I think a lot of times people make a mistake of thinking goals come only from the fault of defenders. That's a very big mistake. It's a collective work of an entire team that allows [us] to defend well or to attack well," Savarese added.

With Providence Park undergoing extensive renovations, the Timbers won't open their home slate until June 1, when they host LAFC, who beat them 4-1 last Sunday.

And while a backloaded schedule seems to put the Timbers' hopes of making another run to MLS Cup in jeopardy, long road trips to open the season in recent years for Toronto FC and D.C. United did not doom their Audi MLS Cup Playoffs hopes.

For Savarese, the objective with his team at the moment is to remain consistent for 90 minutes.

"We have to be constant through an entire match. We cannot give away moments to then catch up again in the game, and that's one thing we need to be better at," he said.

While Cincinnati turned in an improved performance of their second game in MLS, Savarese was asked if he thought his team's prospects would be better against an expansion side. The Venezuelan flatly refused to underestimate the competition.

"It would be a mistake in every way in MLS to think that you're going to play any team and think you can get a guaranteed win. Who thinks that way is a fool," Savarese said. "This is MLS, this is difficult. Every game is tough. Doesn't matter who you play, you can go as Atlanta, happened at home, they got a 1-1 against Cincinnati."

Of course, Portland will be missing midfielder Diego Chara against Cincinnati, after he picked up a red card in the last game. When asked about the run over several seasons where the Timbers have been unable to win without Chara playing, Savarese acknowledged both sides of the dilemma: "Two things with that: Chara is that important, and two, every record is [meant to be] broken."

And the manager doesn't believe his team is far away from earning a first win of the season.

"This is another difficult match. We know that these 12 games are going to be tough, all of them, so we have to make sure that we continue to get points and make sure in Cincinnati we're a little bit better focused and we're able to do a better job," he said.


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