The red-hot Portland Timbers attempt to stretch their franchise-record winning streak to six straight matches when they visit the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night at Commerce City, Colo.
Portland (5-3-2) had twice won four consecutive games in its history before putting together the current streak, which followed a winless five-match start.
But while the team has outscored opponents 10-3 during the stretch, Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese remains cautious.
“There’s still more work to be done,” Savarese told reporters, “but I think we’re moving in the right direction.”
That certainly can’t be said about the Rapids (2-6-2), who have lost five consecutive matches. The skid is Colorado’s longest since losing seven straight in 2014.
The Rapids are tied for fewest points in the MLS with eight.
Colorado has been outscored 12-2 during the stretch, including being routed 4-0 by New York City FC last Saturday at Yankee Stadium. The Rapids had possession of the ball just 34.3 percent of the time during the loss.
“Everyone is really disappointed,” Colorado defender Tommy Smith told reporters after the setback. “We have to look forward to two home games (Portland followed by Vancouver on June 1) and hopefully we can make up some points there.”
Forward Dominique Badji has been superb, scoring five of the Rapids’ 11 goals. Veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard has two shutouts and a 1.33 goals-against average.
Midfielders Sebastian Blanco (five goals, one assist) and Diego Valeri (four goals, three assists) have sparked the Timbers’ attack. Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella (0.25 GAA) has allowed just one goal in four matches since returning from a thigh injury.
The Portland defense will be missing a key figure as Liam Ridgewell (quadriceps) will be sidelined after being injured during last Saturday’s 2-1 win over Los Angeles FC.
“Right now, for sure, we know that these next two weeks he’s not going to participate,” Savarese told reporters. “Then we’ll continue to evaluate him. What I can say is he was feeling a lot better than before. Hopefully, he’s going to continue to feel better and better.”
One good trend for the Rapids is that they have owned the series with the Timbers when playing at home. Colorado is 6-1-3 and has outscored Portland 19-8 in the Mile High altitude.
—Field Level Media