CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA received a first-half goal from midfielder Miller Bolaños and a third straight shut-out performance from goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to defeat the Portland Timbers 1-0 on Wednesday afternoon in front of 13,827 at The Home Depot Center.
Bolaños struck for the game’s lone goal in the 16th minute, converting a free ball in the box after Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins pushed away a dangerous ball played by Chivas USA midfielder Ryan Smith. The Timbers had the better of the scoring chances in the second half, but the Chivas USA defense held firm through Portland’s 13 second-half shots to preserve the 1-0 win. Chivas USA played the final six minutes of the match with only 10 players due to a late injury to midfielder Peter Vagenas.
Bolaños scored his first career MLS goal and attempted a team-high five shots and Smith took four shots as Chivas USA (6-7-5, 23pts) extended its unbeaten streak to four matches. Kennedy, recently named a 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star, logged two saves to earn his third consecutive shutout and sixth overall on the campaign.
Midfielder Eric Alexander and defender Steven Smith combined for five shots to lead the second-half push for the Timbers (5-10-4, 19pts). Portland registered seven of its 13 second-half shots over the final nine minutes of the contest, but could not find the equalizer and was handed a fourth straight road loss.
Chivas USA claimed an early lead on the goal by Bolaños. Midfielder Nick LaBrocca initiated the play with a long ball from midfield to Smith on the right flank. Smith worked by a Timbers defender a put a threatening ball near the goal box. Perkins was able to push the ball off course with a diving effort, but the it fell on to the path of an open Bolaños on the back side, and Bolaños knocked it into an open net.
The Timbers had their chances at the equalizer in the second half, including an early opportunity by midfielder Darlington Nagbe on a header that missed just wide of the left post in the 52nd minute.
Alexander had two shots within a six minute span just after the hour mark. He and midfielder Jack Jewsbury had a one-two combo in the right side of the box that set Alexander up for a shot that narrowly missed wide of the near post. Alexander then forced Kennedy into a save in the 69th minute with an effort from the top of the box.
In the 85th minute, Smith served a ball over the top to lead striker Kris Boyd in behind the Chivas USA backline. Boyd’s left-footed volley from 15 yards out was pushed just wide of the right post. Smith then had a curling shot from inside the box off a broken play miss wide of the right post in second-half stoppage time.
Portland’s defense held Chivas USA to just two shots on goal during the match. Perkins made his only save in the second half on a header from Chivas USA forward Juan Pablo Angel at the top of the six-yard box in the 61st minute.