The Portland Timbers are streaking. 15 games unbeaten, no losses on the road at all this year and their only loss of the season came in their second game all the way back in March. Alas, all good things come to an end and this streak will too.
Here are the next five games on the schedule:
July 7th at Columbus Crew (16 games)
The Crew have a 1-3-1 record over their last five games and are currently on a two-game losing streak.They will be without one of their forwards, Jairo Arrieta, due to a call up for the Gold Cup but that pales in comparison to who the Timbers are losing. Would it be a surprise to see Columbus beat Portland? No. Road games are never gimmies, but this is not the game when Portland takes a loss.
7/13 Los Angeles Galaxy at Jeld Wen Field (17 games)
The Galaxy are the two time defending champs but lately they have not been playing well. Over their last five games they have lost 5-0 to New England, 3-1 to RSL, tied Portland, beat Chivas 1-0 and lost to San Jose 3-2. On top of their recent roller-coaster form, they will be missing a key cog to their offense in Landon Donovan. Once again a loss here would not be surprising but this is not the game that ends Portland's streak.
7/20 at Philadelphia Union (18 games)
Philadelphia is a team that was consistently inconsistent early in the season but has been playing better lately. In their last five games they have suffered just one loss but currently are on a four game unbeaten run. During the run they have beat Columbus and New York by 3-0 scorelines and tied Dallas and Toronto FC. The Union will more than likely be without the services of Jack McInerney but will have had three games to find someone to fill the void. This is a game that I think Portland could lose, but it depends on whether Will Johnson is back from the Gold Cup
7/27 At San Jose Earthquakes (19 games)
What a difference a year makes. San Jose could barely find the net over their first eight games and only scored four goals over that span. Lately they have upped their goal scoring production to 11 over the last 10 games but have still been shutout three times over the last 10 games.
Their offensive and defensive frailties will only get worse if the USA makes the semifinals on July 24th. This would mean San Jose would be without Chris Wondolowski and Clarence Goodson. However, they did just pull of a comeback win against the Galaxy, which is what sparked their amazing run last year. I still expect Portland to get a result from this game.
8/3 Vancouver at Jeld Wen Field (20 games)
Predicting any of these game, especially the ones that are during the Gold Cup, is just plain silly but wouldn't it be awesome if Portland made it to this game with the streak intact? Beating Vancouver to set the record and to keep the Timbers in the hunt for the Cascadia Cup would be amazing. If streak does get to this game Portland's chance of breaking the record are good, especially with Vancouver's history of playing at Jeld-Wen.
When will the streak end? Will Portland break the record? Am I too optimistic?