MLS Preview: Chivas USA vs. Portland Timbers

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They need some help, but Portland can still grab hold of the Supporters’ Shield.

First things first, they need to get past Chivas.

That shouldn’t be a major hurdle, but you never know on the road in the MLS.  Chivas may have only 26 points on the season, but 22 of them have come at the Stubhub Center, where they’ve beaten the likes of New York, Vancouver, and Dallas among others.

But for the in-form Timbers, it’s not about who or where they’re playing, just about what’s on the line.

“There’s no reason to believe that anything is going to be different in these games moving forward because we’ve seen everybody, we’ve played home and away and we’ve been in every game we’ve played,” said Portland coach Caleb Porter said. “We’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

The Timbers are on a 7-match unbeaten run and have only lost five times all year. But they need to win to grab the top spot in the league.

For Portland, who hold the third-highest points total in the MLS with 54, their potential win must be coupled with a Kansas City loss or tie at Philadelphia and a New York loss against Chicago on Sunday.

Even if they don’t pick up the Supporters’ Shield, Portland can still extend a record – another shutout would add to their MLS record 11 clean sheets this season. The mark was set last week when Donovan Ricketts and company held Real Salt Lake to a 0-0 draw.

For Chivas, it hasn’t been as bad of a home stretch as last year when the club had to toil in the offseason with a 14-match unbeaten run to close out the season on their minds.

Still, improvement is seriously needed with the bottom spot in the West clinched long ago and the potential for their final nine matches of the year to garner just four points for Chivas.

Whether the side is heading into the playoffs (for the first time in club history) or moving to the long offseason, it’s always important to end the regular season on a high note, and that’s what is at stake Saturday night at Stubhub Arena.