(Photo credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)
If it's September, then it must be time for a late-season run by the Portland Timbers.
The Timbers (10-11-9, 39 points), who will play host to the Colorado Rapids (4-14-10, 22 points) on Saturday night, have won three straight games and are 4-1-1 under interim coach Miles Joseph. They sit in eighth place in MLS' Western Conference, just above the nine-team cutoff line.
"I think we've shown more heart than before," Timbers defender Dario Zuparic said. "Every time when a team changes the coach, something happens. We are the same team, but I think we changed the mentality."
The Timbers are coming off a 2-1 victory Wednesday against the San Jose Earthquakes, with Cristhian Paredes and Evander scored.
Evander has scored in seven of his last 11 matches across all competitions. Only Miami's Lionel Messi (eight) has scored more during that stretch.
Paredes, who was wearing the captain's armband in place of veteran Diego Chara, who underwent an emergency appendectomy last week, was booked for time-wasting and will miss Saturday's match because of yellow-card accumulation.
"Probably our best performance so far, front to back," Joseph said. "First half, I felt like we controlled a lot of the game, especially with our ability to step into the front half of the field, press them, and cause them to make some turnovers. We would gain possession out of that in the front half of the field, which was great. Created a lot of chances off that."
The Rapids dropped a 2-1 decision to visiting Seattle on Wednesday despite Cole Bassett scoring for the second consecutive match. Colorado is 1-4-0 since the resumption of MLS play after the Leagues Cup and is tied with Toronto with a league-low 22 points.
The Rapids had gone five league matches without a goal before Bassett began scoring.
"I hope that for the coaching staff, I hope it brought them belief," Bassett said. "And you could tell on the field as well, even for myself, I thought I played a pretty bad first half, so I had to come out second half and kind of change that, and I started hot, and (the goal) just got my confidence going. Then for the rest of the half, it was good."
The Timbers and Rapids played to a scoreless draw July 12 in Commerce City, Colo., in the resumption of a game suspended by weather.
--Field Level Media