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Timbers-Chivas USA Preview
By JEFF BARTL
(AP) -- Portland general manager Gavin Wilkinson knew his team would go through an adjustment period after he fired John Spencer and assumed the coaching duties.
It also may be the reason he accepted blame for the Timbers' worst-ever defensive performance in his first match on the bench.
Portland will look to bounce back and end a 10-game road winless streak Wednesday night when it faces a Chivas USA team that has lost once in its last eight contests.
Wilkinson told his players, "This one's on me," following the Timbers' 5-3 loss to Los Angeles on Saturday. Portland gave up its highest goal total since entering MLS as an expansion team last season.
"They could've had another couple (goals) - so could've we - but I think that when you have a couple of players in key positions have poor performances and the players that they're playing against have great performances, it makes the gap a little bit bigger, and we were punished because of it," Wilkinson told the team's official website.
Portland (5-9-4) got two goals from Kris Boyd and another from Kosuke Kimura, playing only his second game with the club.
"It's been a really crazy last week," said Kimura, who joined the Timbers on July 5. "Everything happened so quick."
The club did have its best offensive showing since a 3-1 season-opening win over Philadelphia on March 12.
"I think that's a positive," said Boyd, who scored in a 2-1 loss to Chivas on April 7. "But when you do score three goals at home, we should be winning the game."
The Timbers have been outscored 14-2 while going 0-6-2 on the road this season, including being shut out in their last five. Their last road victory was Oct. 2, and Chivas will look to extend that drought in its first MLS contest since playing Vancouver to a scoreless draw July 7.
Chivas (5-7-5) is coming off a 4-1 loss to Seattle in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal match last Wednesday, and gets back to league play with two games this week.
"Our focus (now) is on MLS play and obviously trying to get into the playoff race and get our spot that way," defender James Riley said.
Chivas has recorded back-to-back scoreless draws and is 2-1-5 in its last eight games. Ties, though, may not be enough for the club to reach the postseason.
"We speak about (the urgency) in a broad spectrum but we've identified key areas where we just need to be a bit more urgent, a bit more forward-thinking in certain aspects of the game," Riley said.
Chivas is 2-0-1 versus Portland, getting two assists from Ryan Smith in the most recent meeting.
Updated July 17, 2012