PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)Dairon Asprilla scored on a header in the 61st minute and the Portland Timbers downed Minnesota United 1-0 on Saturday night.
The Timbers have won a season-best four straight matches as they jockey for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Minnesota has lost three straight games after losing just once in the previous 11.
Portland (11-8-12) moved up the Western Conference standings into fifth, while Minnesota (13-12-5) dropped to sixth, just in front of Real Salt Lake.
”I’m very happy to be able to continue this streak and just to win in general,” defender Claudio Bravo said through a translator. ”It gives us all the confidence we need, and as a defender, it’s good to keep the goals at zero.”
Portland goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic saved two attempts by Minnesota’s Mender Garcia in the first 17 minutes. But neither side could break through and it was 0-0 at the half.
Asprilla’s goal came off a corner and sailed to the far corner, well out of Minnesota keeper Dayne St. Clair’s reach. Asprilla celebrated his eighth goal of the season with a backflip.
”It’s a little bit tough to take,” Loons coach Adrian Heath said. ”I don’t think we deserved to come away from here with nothing.”
Loons midfielder Emanuel Reynoso did not play because of a swollen ankle from last weekend’s 3-0 home loss to FC Dallas. Forward Franco Fragapane was suspended because of card accumulation. Forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane did not travel to Portland with a knee injury.
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