MLS: St. Louis City aim to end winless rut vs. improving Timbers

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St. Louis City will try to snap a four-match winless run on Saturday night when they host a Portland Timbers side that has shown considerable signs of improvement in recent weeks.

The form sheet isn’t all bad for St. Louis (3-4-8, 17 points), which earned an impressive 3-3 draw in its visit to play Lionel Messi and Inter Miami last weekend.

Although Bradley Carnell’s side gave the lead back on three separate occasions, a performance that included goals from Indiana Vassilev and Chris Durkin contained plenty of promise.

“I saw a lot of good things against a very good counter-pressing Miami team with their full roster,” Carnell said. “The way we created chances, the way we gained momentum, the way we put pressure on their back line gives me a lot of hope.”

That said, St. Louis has continued to be far more forgiving in defense, conceding multiple goals on four consecutive occasions. The three it allowed against Miami came despite seven saves from goalkeeper Roman Burki.

Portland (5-7-5, 20 points) also earned a draw in its most recent performance, 2-2 at home against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

Evander contributed his seventh and eighth assists on goals by Felipe Mora and Nathan Fogaca to help the Timbers twice overcome a one-goal deficit and make it 10 points earned from their last five matches (3-1-1).

After a dreary start for first-year coach Phil Neville, Portland now sits in ninth place in the Western Conference standings, possessing the second wild-card spot. The Timbers will be looking for their first back-to-back away wins after a 2-0 victory at Austin two matches ago.

“I think what we’ve done over the last five games is we’ve set a benchmark of what’s now our level, in terms of discipline and concentration and shape,” Neville said. “And we’re not going to go away from that.”

Both teams will only be mildly impacted by MLS’s decision to play through a summer period of international play.

The Timbers will be without defenders Kamal Miller and Miguel Araujo, and goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau. St. Louis will be missing defender Kyle Hiebert.

–Field Level Media

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