As the Portland Timbers look to continue their recent league success, they might have to do so without the services of their head coach for the moment.
While the Timbers eye a third consecutive MLS victory, a family issue might keep coach Giovanni Savarese from being on the touchline Saturday night against the visiting Colorado Rapids.
Savarese did not coach Portland's match against Los Angeles FC in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday while attending to a health concern involving his father in Italy, that according to the MLS official website. Assistant Carlos Llamosa guided the club in his place, and it's unsure if Savarese will back for Saturday's contest.
Portland (7-8-2) has posted back-to-back 1-0 victories, June 30 at home over FC Dallas and Sunday at New York City FC.
"We need to continue (the positive results) now because we have many important games moving forward," said Sebastian Blanco, who scored in the 14th minute and also was booked with one Portland's five first-half yellow cards against NYCFC. "We feel happy and will continue working."
The Timbers also seem to be getting more comfortable with their new-look surroundings at Providence Park. After falling 3-2 to LAFC in the home opener on June 1, Portland has outscored Houston and FC Dallas 5-0 in the two games that have followed there.
Portland and the Rapids (5-10-4) played to a 3-3 draw to open the season on March 2, but the Timbers have outscored them 16-3 during an eight-game home winning streak that dates to a 1-0 loss in June 2011.
Colorado will try to bounce back after its 5-0-2 stretch ended with a 2-1 home defeat to surging New England on the Fourth of July. Down 2-0 at the 52nd-minute mark, the Rapids managed to pull one back on Diego Rubio's goal in the 71st.
The Rapids' recent undefeated run followed an eight-game losing streak that was part of the worst start in club history. Trying to prevent back-to-back league losses won't be easy this weekend, but Colorado is a different team than it was two months ago.
"Just doing what we did during the unbeaten streak, we've got to stay compact … we got to try to stay patient," midfielder Cole Bassett told the Rapids' official website.
This contest might be hard to top the 2019 opener between the two sides at Colorado. Diego Valeri (four goals, 10 assists in 2019) had a goal with an assist for Portland, which went ahead 3-2 on Deklan Wynne's own goal in the 66th minute. However, Andre Shinyashiki (four goals) equalized for the Rapids with a stunning goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Colorado's Kei Kamara has a team-leading eight goals, but just one in his last eight league contests.
Updated July 11, 2019