Portland hoping to stay strong defensively vs. ChicagoMay 20, 2012 - 2:52 AM Portland, OR (Sports Network) - The Portland Timbers will need to continue their strong defensive play on Sunday if they wish to pick up some much-needed points as the club will look to slow down a surging Chicago Fire side at Jeld- Wen Field.
Portland has conceded just two goals in its last four league games, keeping three clean sheets over that stretch. The Timbers are coming off of back-to- back scoreless draws against the Columbus Crew and at the Houston Dynamo.
"It's a feather in the hat for the guys in the back to keep a clean sheet on the road," said Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins. "But to come here like that and at least walk away with the point and a shutout is a moral victory for the guys in the back."
Perkins has not surrendered a goal since Portland's 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy on April 14.
"We're organized," Perkins said. "Guys are talking a lot. They're understanding the philosophy we're trying to get here. They're putting everything they've got on the line."
The Timbers will need to contain a Chicago team that is unbeaten in its last three games. The Fire are coming off a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Park, a result that knocked the visitors out of first place in the Eastern Conference.
"Obviously, it is a very good feeling that we beat a team like this." said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. "They're first place in the Eastern Conference. It gives a lot of confidence to the players, knowing that the work that you put in during the training and the effort that you put in during games gives results. You get confidence from it, but in the end, you have to stay at an even keel.
"We have to enjoy this moment, but regroup and get ready for the next match in Portland."
Chicago is led by standout striker Dominic Oduro and his four goals this season. If Patrick Nyarko and Sebastian Grazzini can provide Oduro with quality service in behind the Portland defense, the speedy striker may put an end to Perkins' good run of form.
- CHICAGO: 1
May 20 8:58 PM
- Portland Goal - Pause (OG), 52nd minute
Fire 1, Timbers 2 2nd - 54'May 20 8:19 PM
- Chicago Goal - Anibaba 1 (Pappa), 39th minute
Fire 1, Timbers 1 1st - 41'May 20 7:47 PM
- Portland Goal - Brunner 1 (Boyd), 20th minute
Fire 0, Timbers 1 1st - 22'May 20 7:28 PM
- CHICAGO: 0
1st Half - 1'
May 20 7:06 PM
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- Fire host Rapids to close out home spell Tue
- Portland tops FCD to extend unbeaten run Sat
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- Paladini helps Fire rally for draw with Timbers Jun 8
- Fire, Timbers square off at Toyota Park Jun 7
- Fire top D.C. United at Toyota Park Jun 2
- Struggling Chicago, DCU square off at Toyota Park May 31
- Portland doubles up on D.C. United May 25
- L.A. acquires Rogers; Magee heads to Chicago May 25