The MLS Playoffs will kick off in just over a month and it appears the Portland Timbers are peaking when it matters.
After a 1-0 win at Providence Park Sunday evening, Portland is riding a three-game winning streak for the second time this season. No other team has more than one.
The win was also the Timbers' second consecutive clean sheet, something the team never accomplished inside the Orlando bubble despite winning the MLS is Back Tournament.
For head coach Giovanni Savarese, it's a sign that the team is on the correct track.
“It allows you to build confidence. It allows you to make sure that you feel that you’re working in the right direction. It’s an example that when you all are in tune with each other and work together you can achieve the goal that you’re looking for in regard to not allowing goals against."
The Timbers coach sets a standard of constant improvement for his team and recent results, despite a taxing schedule, show his team is listening.
"Our standard, our desire is to always improve, is always to be a strong team and to make sure that we grow and evolve in so many areas to always be a better team."
As for Sunday, Savarese thought the Timbers put together a complete performance but he, as always, thinks there are areas to improve.
"They all worked together. They’ve been doing that for the past few games. We defended with everything that we had. We attacked with quality in the first half, with counters in the second. We’re very content with the result. But we have high standards. We want to continue to improve. We want to continue to be better. If we were very good with the ball, we can always be a little bit better but we cannot take away the fact that the guys did a fantastic job to get a very, very deserved win today.”
Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala echoed his coach's sentiment.
“We know that we… we can even do much better than what we did tonight," said Mabiala.
When the Timbers struggled at the beginning of the restart of the MLS regular season, Savarese blamed the lack of points on his team's mentality rather than anything specific on the pitch. Now running a three-game win streak, Mabiala mentioned the Timbers mentality for why the victories keep coming.
"I know it’s very good for the future going forward and I hope we’re going to keep this same mentality. I really believe that we can even be better."
Portland will get to earn another three points Saturday, October 3rd at Providence Park when they host the Colorado Rapids at 8:00 p.m. PT.
[Listen to the Talkin' Blazers Podcast with special guest Diego Valeri].