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Portland Timbers creeping toward a dubious distinction

Gavin Wilkinson

Portland Timbers interim coach Gavin Wilkinson stands on the sideline before their MLS soccer game against the Los Angeles Galaxy in Portland, Ore., Saturday, July 14, 2012, in Portland, Ore. The Galaxy won 5-3. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)


In years ahead, the Portland Timbers will surely not count this season among their more glorious. They won’t achieve much in 2012 beyond the participation ribbon; everyone in Stumptown knows it.

Still, no one around Jeld-Wen Field wants to recall this wayward campaign as one of the worst in MLS history. There are mile markers approaching at destructive speed that would signal exactly that.

Portland is 0-9-3 on the road this year. The Timbers, therefore, have five chances remaining to dodge the dubious distinction of going winless on the road over an entire campaign. That has happened just four times in MLS history (the most recent just last year, as Vancouver failed to win outside of beautiful British Columbia.)

The best chance for interim manager Gavin Wilkinson (I simply cannot dip into the English-footy lexicon and call him “caretaker” manager, even if that’s a more apt description at this point) comes tonight at DSG Park outside Denver.

Portland meets the similarly hapless Rapids; kickoff on NBC Sports Network is 9 p.m. ET.

Colorado hasn’t been terrible at home; at 6-5-2, Oscar Pareja’s Rapids haven’t quite dipped into Chivas USA territory just yet.

Still, this is clearly the Timbers’ best chance to win away from Jeld-Wen. Here’s why:

Portland’s other four road games on schedule are against potential playoff teams. The next plane trips are into San Jose, Real Salt Lake, Seattle and Vancouver. Combined home record for those teams: 35-10-9.