Wed, 27 Sep 2023

Timbers put double-digit unbeaten run up against Toronto FC

Field Level Media
13 Aug 2022, 06:19 GMT+10

The Portland Timbers will look to extend their unbeaten run to 11 games Saturday when they visit Toronto FC.

The Timbers (7-6-12, 33 points) head to Canada on a 4-0-6 run, a stretch that began following the international break in June.

"It's the same mentality to make sure that we continue topush," Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said. "We said back then that every game was going to be extremely important, and it continues to be the same way."

Portland sits above the playoff line, in the seventh and final spot in the Western Conference. Only three points separate the club from third place, but in the crowded West, the Timbers are only three points ahead of 11th place and the four teams right behind them all have played at least one fewer game than Portland.

Savarese is looking for his squad to clean up certain elements, including defending on set pieces. The Timbers have conceded goals off corners or set pieces in three straight games (all draws), including a stunning own goal off a corner in 10th minute of extra time in last week's 1-1 draw with Dallas.

"I think we've been strong in defending set pieces," Savarese said, "but when you look at the last three games, we conceded a goal on corners in consecutive matches then of course you have to ask the question, why?"

Forward Jaroslaw Niezgoda has scored six of his team-leading nine goals during the unbeaten run. The Polish striker tallied four times in five games before being blanked in each of the past two contests.

Defender Claudio Bravo (hamstring), along with midfielders Cristhian Paredes (ankle) and Eryk Williamson (hamstring), traveled with the club and will potentially be available against Toronto, according to Savarese.

Toronto (7-12-5, 26 points) is 2-0-1 in its past three matches, a stretch that coincides with the debuts of Italian stars Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi back on July 30.

Bernardeschi has two goals and two assists since joining the club, while Insigne scored his first MLS goal last week in a 4-3 win against Nashville SC.

Toronto FC are still hoping to make a push to the playoffs. It will be battle for the club, which is second-to-last in the Eastern Conference, but is also only four points from the playoff line, with six clubs ahead of them.

"It's huge," Toronto FC's Jonathan Osorio said after the victory against Nashville. "We understand the situation, we know that every game is a final from here on forward."

Osorio scored a pair of goals last time out, putting him two goals shy of matching his career-high of 10 set back in 2018.

It's the first meeting between the two teams since April 2019.

--Field Level Media

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