For the first two seasons of their existence, the Portland Timbers were known more for their passionate fanbase and eccentric owner but now the team on the pitch is making noise with every match they play.
Currently, the Timbers are in the midst of a 14-match unbeaten run that was extended on Wednesday night at the newly-named StubHub Center in Carson, CA against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
If you had told anyone who covers Major League Soccer week-to-week that the Timbers would be in this position after their Week 1 draw with the New York Red Bulls at home, they would have laughed in your face. In that draw, Caleb Porter’s club scored two second-half goals against a lackluster Red Bulls defense. That result was followed up the next week with a loss to the current Eastern Conference leaders, Montreal Impact, at home.
Ever since those two early-season matches, the Timbers have shocked the league, earning eight draws and six victories in their last 14 matches. During this 14-match spell, the Timbers have taken away results from clubs that they should have taken points away from like D.C. United, Chicago Fire and the San Jose Earthquakes.
Now with the spotlight pointed directly on them, the one question to ask about the Timbers is how long their streak will last.
Next on the schedule are the Colorado Rapids, a club that drew with the Timbers in Colorado back on March 30. The match against the Rapids Sunday is at the Cascadian fortress of JELD-WEN Field, and a result is expected out of the club that is tied for the fourth-longest unbeaten streak in the history of MLS.
After a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match with F.C. Dallas and an international friendly against Morelia, the Timbers will visit a depleted Columbus side that is without two key cogs in their midfield, Glauber and Eddie Gaven because of injury.
If the Timbers can hold their own at Crew Stadium on July 7, the unbeaten streak could extend all the way into August.
Six days after the match in Columbus, the Timbers will host the Galaxy before they embark on a trip across the country to Philadelphia to play the Union at PPL Park. The month of July ends with a trip down the Western Seaboard to Buck Shaw Stadium to play San Jose.
If Portland are able to make it to August with their unbeaten streak, they will be licking their chops at what the schedule brings them in August. Three consecutive home matches against Vancouver, FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake will await the Timbers, all three of which are winnable matches especially since they are at home.
While there are eight matches before their August 25 Cascadia Cup showdown with the Seattle Sounders, supporters of the Timbers must already have that match circled on their calendar as the biggest match of the season.
It is difficult to predict how far this Timbers side can go with their unbeaten streak, but if they keep their current form, all signs point to a Cascadia Cup showdown at CenturyLink Field in front of a potentially record-breaking crowd.
That match should be the first time the Timbers should legitimately fear for their streak before the match is even played.
Yes, the unexpected loss can always occur in the funny game of soccer, but given the current form of Portland, expect some type of historic run from the club dominating the MLS headlines right now.
Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.
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