Striker Armenteros stokes Timbers' hot streak
If this keeps up, area breweries will be serving Armenteros Ale and Samuel will be the most popular name given to boys born in Portland.
Samuel Armenteros scored three goals in a row over the last two matches for the Timbers — who are on a six-game winning streak entering a Saturday visit from the Los Angeles Galaxy. Each of the Armenteros tallies was special in a different way.
The first goal on Saturday in Portland's 3-2 win at Colorado involved a spin-o-rama move followed by a delicate left-footed finish. His second was a prime example of not giving up on a play as Armenteros spun free at the far post to knock home a ball Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard got a piece of.
Those followed the May 19 goal that beat LAFC, the 22-yard finish on a counterattack that was voted MLS Goal of the Week.
The 28-year-old Swedish striker has been a difference maker in each of the Timbers' four victories in May.
On May 5 at San Jose, Armenteros drew the foul that turned into Diego Valeri's winning free kick.
On May, 13, it was Armenteros' pass that freed Sebastian Blanco for the winning goal against Seattle.
Then came the goals against LAFC and against Colorado, the latter in his first start since early April.
Armenteros' mobility gives coach Giovanni Savarese a different style of attacker from Fanendo Adi, whose game is built on size and strength.
The win streak, of course, is built on more than just the confidence of one striker. Blanco, in particular, has continued to deliver. The Argentine, in his second season with the Timbers, was credited with his second and third assists of the season at Colorado (to go with five goals this season), but he also delivered the ball Howard misplayed for Armenteros' second goal. It was Blanco's long run and perfectly weighted pass on the break that split the Colorado defense and set up Valeri's goal that put the Timbers up 3-1.
n In a way, the Timbers can take credit for both of the six-match win streaks in MLS this season. Orlando City won six in a row, a run that included scoring three late goals to overcome a 2-0 Portland lead on April 8. The Timbers' win streak started one week later.
n Only six teams in MLS history have had longer winning streaks than six games. The Timbers still have a ways to go to match the league record of 15 consecutive wins. The Galaxy accomplished that twice, each stretching over two seasons (though penalty kick tiebreakers played into their 1997-98 streak).
A win over the Galaxy on Saturday would equal the seven-match win streak for Sporting Kansas City in 2012, part of an overall nine-match stretch that ranks as the fourth longest in MLS history.
n The Galaxy were seventh in the Western Conference entering a Wednesday home match against a FC Dallas team that had one loss all season through last weekend (and was tied with Portland at 20 points).
n The Timbers' Andy Polo left before the match at Colorado to join Peru's World Cup preparation. David Guzman joined Costa Rica's training camp after the win at Colorado. The World Cup in Russia starts June 14. The Galaxy are without brothers Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos, who are in Mexico's training camp.
n Saturday's 2 p.m. match at Providence Park is the first of three at home over eight days for the Timbers. That includes a June 6 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game against the San Jose Earthquakes and a June 9 visit from Western Conference leading SKC.
• The MLS Timbers aren't the only Portland team on a roll. T2 (7-3-2) have won three consecutive United Soccer League matches and climbed to second place in the Western Conference. T2 will play their next two games in Texas, including a Saturday match at San Antonio.