Major League Soccer (Mid)Week 24: Timbers Move Into Thick Of Playoff Race With Win

Eric Brunner's first-half goal stands up as the game-winner, moving the Timbers into a tie for the final playoff spot.

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Portland Timbers Vs. Chivas USA: Timbers Move Into Playoff Spot

The Portland Timbers are now even on points for the final playoff spot after they got a first-half goal from center back Eric Brunner and held on for a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA on Wednesday. With the win, the Timbers now sit at 32 points, the same number as the New York Red Bulls with both teams having eight games left to play. Just three of the Timbers' remaining games will be played at Jeld-Wen Field where they have claimed 26 of their points.

Brunner's goal came in the 44th minute on a glancing header from a Mike Chabala corner kick. It was Brunner's third goal of the season and Chabala's first assist as a Timber. It was also the Timbers' 15th goal to come off a set piece and their third off a corner kick.

Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was once again at the top of his game. He made six saves, including one beauty to rob David Horst of a goal in the first half.

The Timbers controlled much of the action in the first half, but Chivas USA slowly started to create more chances in the second half. Chivas USA ended up with about 58 percent of the possession, but were able to put just two of their 12 shots on target.


Portland Timbers Vs. Chivas USA: Eric Brunner Gives Timbers 1-0 Lead

Eric Brunner scored on a beautiful glancing header off a Mike Chabala corner kick in the 44th minute to send the Portland Timbers into halftime with a 1-0 lead over Chivas USA on Wednesday. It was Brunner's third goal of the season and the Timbers' 15th from a set piece.

The Timbers had the better of play for much of the first half, out shooting Chivas USA 10-4 and holding about 53 percent of the possession. They had almost taken the lead several minutes earlier on David Horst's attempt in the 32nd minute. On that play, Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy appeared to be caught going the wrong direction, but was able to recover to make a diving save.

Chivas USA has been playing a much more defensive style, with both Juan Pablo Angel and Justin Braun not in the starting lineup. Braun is nursing an injury, but is on the 18, while Chivas USA coach Robin Fraser seems to have decided to save Angel for this weekend's encounter with Real Salt Lake.


Portland Timbers Vs. Chivas USA: Lineups

Juan Pablo Angel will apparently have to wait for his encore performance. Chivas USA's newest player is not in the starting lineup, nor on the bench for Wednesday's match against the Portland Timbers. Chances are, Robin Fraser gave his 35-year-old striker the night off with the game being played on FieldTurf.

In his place, it looks as if Fraser is deploying a 4-5-1 formation with Alejandro Moreno as the lone striker, although Marcos Mondaini is listed in the starting lineup and has played forward in previous games. Justin Braun is being left on the bench while recovering from an abdominal injury.

The Timbers will counter with a lineup that has become their standard starting XI since the trade that brought over Mike Chabala and Lovel Palmer. Kenny Cooper and Jorge Perlaza will start at the two forward positions.

Timbers starters: Perkins-G, Chabala-D, Brunner-D, Horst-D, Palmer-D, Zizzo-M, Alhasssan-M, Jewsbury-M (c), Chara-M, Perlaza-F, Cooper-F. Bench: Brown-G, Nagbe-F, Dike-F, Marcelin-F, Alexander-M, Wallace-M, Purdy-M.

Chivas starters: Kennedy-G, Lahoud-D, Umana-D, Pearce-D, Jazic-D, Zemanski-M, Mondaini-M, LaBrocca-M, Nagamura-M, Courtouis-M, Moreno-F. Bench: Thornton-G, Lopes-D, Trujillo-D, Elliott-M, Flores-M, Gavin-M, Braun-F.


Major League Soccer (Mid)Week 24, Preview, Pick: Portland Timbers Need Win Badly

Chivas USA visits the Timbers with both teams separated by just two points and fighting for the final playoff spot.


Portland Timbers Vs. Chivas USA: When Three Points Mean So Much More

Three points are always important, but for Chivas USA and the Portland Timbers, they are huge tonight.

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