MOENCHENGLADBACH, Germany (AP) – Sluggish offensive play is one of the biggest reasons the Chicago Fire are still seeking their third MLS victory of the season.
Taking on a Portland Timbers team that has been surrendering goals at a high rate could help them break out of their funk.
The Fire try to bounce back from having an eight-game unbeaten streak snapped when they face the Timbers, who are hoping to avoid a seventh loss in eight matches Saturday night.
Chicago (2-5-12) hasn't played an MLS game since a 2-1 loss to Los Angeles last Saturday, its first defeat since May 21.
The Fire's Cristian Nazarit scored in the 62nd minute to tie the score at 1, but David Beckham answered four minutes later with a corner-kick goal. The Galaxy's first goal also came off a set piece, the first allowed on such a play by the Fire since interim coach Frank Klopas took over for Carlos de los Cobos on May 30.
Although Chicago is coming off just its second defeat in nearly two months, the club has hardly been playing like an MLS Cup contender, managing one victory in the eight matches between losses.
Lack of offense has been mostly to blame, with the team totaling five goals in the last eight games. Chicago has been shut out three times in that span and hasn't had a multigoal performance since a 2-all draw with San Jose on May 28.
"We've showed good characteristics but we haven't been able to win," midfielder Marco Pappa told MLS' official website. "We'll have to wait to get the win that we have been searching for but for now we just have to keep working game to game."
The Fire could have better luck against a Timbers team that has yielded 12 goals in its last four matches.
Against Seattle on Sunday, Portland (5-9-3) went up 2-1 on Jorge Perlaza's fourth goal in the 69th minute, but the Timbers conceded two goals in the next 14 minutes and lost 3-2.
"I think offensively we played well," coach John Spencer said. "Defensively we let ourselves down as a team."
Portland has gone 0-6-1 in its last seven.
"At the end of the day we have to pick our heads up," said captain Jack Jewsbury, who has been selected to the MLS All-Star First XI, the group voted into line for the MLS All-Star game against Manchester United on July 27. "It's halfway through the season. There's a lot of games left and a lot of points to get."
A potential problem for Portland, however, is five of its next seven games come on the road.
The Timbers are 0-5-2 away from home, but could earn their elusive first road win Saturday as Chicago has been anything but dominant at Toyota Park.
The Fire are 1-1-6 there, with the lone victory coming in their home opener March 26.
The Timbers defeated Chicago 4-2 on April 14 for their first MLS victory. Perlaza scored two goals for Portland in the first game played at Jeld-Wen Field.