It's been well over a month since either the Portland Timbers or Minnesota United FC have lost a match.
Each side looks to extend their respective unbeaten streaks to seven games Sunday in Saint Paul, Minn.
While Minnesota (10-7-5, 35 points) is four points better than Portland (9-8-4, 31 points), both clubs entered the weekend over the playoff line in the Western Conference. The Timbers, 4-0-2 since losing at Montreal on June 26, have the better winning form while looking to match their season high with a third consecutive triumph.
After winning at Cascadia rival Seattle on July 21, Portland got a brace from Cristhian Paredes in a 4-0 home rout over the Los Angeles Galaxy last weekend. The Timbers, who have outscored their last six opponents 11-4, prevailed minus star midfielder Diego Chara because of yellow-card accumulation.
Jeremy Ebobisse scored his seventh MLS goal of the season and Diego Valeri had his sixth for Portland, which returns to the road where it played the first 12 games of 2019 while its home park was remodeled.
"When you have this unbeaten streak, it brings you a lot of confidence," defender Larrys Mabiala told the Timbers' official website.
"It was a tough beginning of the season, so we won't be overconfident."
Especially not against Minnesota, which is 4-0-2 since losing three straight from May 29-June 8. United are 6-1-4 at home, but played to a scoreless draw there against lowly Vancouver last weekend. That followed a 1-1 finish at Real Salt Lake on July 20.
Among the league leaders with 38 goals, Minnesota has just two over the last three matches and knows the challenge that awaits Sunday. However, the home team has won each of the four previous league meetings in this series.
"When you look at the results that (the Timbers have) been having, they've been picking, we know it's going to be a difficult game for us," coach Adrian Heath told Minnesota's official website.
Minnesota's Darwin Quintero (seven goals in 2019) has a goal with two assists in two games vs. Portland. Valeri has recorded four goals and two assists in four games against Minnesota.
These clubs will meet again Wednesday night at Saint Paul, but in U.S. Open Cup play.
--Field Level Media