Slumping Fire, Timbers battle for much-needed winJul 15, 2011 - 8:50 PM Bridgeview, IL (Sports Network) - Major League Soccer has been riddled with ties this season, and no team has epitomized that more than the Chicago Fire.
Chicago enters its Saturday night match against the Portland Timbers in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 18 points, just two points clear from last place.
It is remarkable that a team with only two wins in a total of 19 MLS matches finds itself anywhere but last place. The fact that the Fire are not at the bottom of the standings can be attributed to their 12 ties on the season.
In its most recent match, Chicago lost 2-1 to the league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center on July 9th to end a streak of four consecutive ties in MLS action.
When Chicago and Portland first squared off on April 14th at the Jeld-Wen Field opening match, the Fire played arguably its worst game of the season, losing to the Timbers 4-2.
Fire defender Cory Gibbs stated his desire to avenge the poor display in Portland by earning three points Saturday night.
"That game stuck in our heads, and it still does," Gibbs told MLSsoccer.com Thursday. "Not only that game but the way we've been playing lately motivates us to want to come out and get three points. I think the fans deserve it, our people in the front office deserve it, and as a team we deserve it."
Portland is in a slump of its own, winless in its last seven MLS matches. Even more demoralizing was the club's tough 3-2 home loss to rivals Seattle Sounders FC on July 10th.
Timbers head coach John Spencer commented on his team's current rut, saying that they will need to put forth a greater effort.
"There's only one way you can get yourself back to winning ways, and that is by playing well," Spencer told MLSsoccer.com. "And it depends on saying to yourself, 'I'm going to have to play better than I'm playing right now. I'm going to have to give more effort than I'm giving right now,' because nobody is going to give you the points. Nobody is going to lie down and roll over."
And Chicago certainly won't roll over for Portland. The Fire are 4-0-4 all- time in their first meeting against an MLS expansion team at home. They will look to continue that trend Saturday at Toyota Park.
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- West rivals clash as Galaxy host Timbers Jun 23
- United aims for second straight win against Fire Jun 23
- Timbers top Dynamo for fourth straight win Jun 21
- Timbers aim to continue surge against Dynamo Jun 19
- Quick strikes lead Revs past Fire Jun 13
- Revs aim to stop the rot against Fire Jun 12
- Adi's brace helps Timbers topple Revs Jun 7