Portland Timbers have kept back-to-back shutouts on the road in MLS and Phil Neville is hoping that continues when his side visit San Jose Earthquakes on Thursday.

The Timbers overcame Austin FC 2-0 before battling to a goalless draw on their trip to St. Louis City, with a 2-2 home draw coming against Houston Dynamo in between.

That run of form has helped Portland climb up to 10th in the Western Conference and the improvements have not gone unnoticed by head coach Neville.

"I'm seeing improvements in the whole team defensively, not just in the back four, but the defending starts from the front," the former Inter Miami boss said.

"I think, maybe, a month ago we wouldn't have kept that St. Louis clean sheet.

"They are throwing their bodies in the way, using smart play, game management and players are confident in what they are doing, so we are really pleased."

Neville still believes his side can develop further, however.

"[Against St. Louis] we had some moments to score some goals, it was the first time our forward players just didn't have that quality in the final third," Neville added.

"It was a good point, and we've had a rest to get ready for the next one."

The Earthquakes sit bottom of the West standings after a woeful season up to the midway point.

Luchi Gonzalez's side could soon jump off the bottom of the table, however, trailing Sporting Kansas City by just three points.

Yet San Jose will need a minor miracle to save this campaign.

They have conceded nine goals in their last two matches after a 5-1 thrashing by New York City FC followed a 4-2 home humbling by FC Cincinnati.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

San Jose Earthquakes – Jeremy Ebobisse

Jeremy Ebobisse has not scored in six MLS matches against the Timbers since being traded from Portland to San Jose in 2021.

Ebobisse has played more matches without scoring against just one other opponent in his MLS career, failing to find the net in 11 career meetings with Minnesota United.

Portland Timbers – Evander

Evander remains Neville's go-to player in the Portland attack.

The Brazilian has seven goals and as many assists, with no team-mate able to match his 14 direct goal contributions this year in MLS.

MATCH PREDICTION – PORTLAND TIMBERS WIN

The Opta supercomputer struggled to split these two sides, yet Portland appear the favourites for a narrow victory considering recent form and their head-to-head record.

The Timbers have won three straight matches against San Jose in all competitions, their fifth three-match winning streak over the Earthquakes.

However, they have never won four in a row against San Jose – who head into this clash in terrible form.

The Earthquakes have lost 12 of 17 matches this year and their 11 points are tied for the third-fewest at the halfway point of a season since MLS expanded to a 34-game schedule in 2011 (D.C. United – nine in 2013, Toronto FC – 10 in 2012).

Portland have also only lost one of their last six matches, recording 11 points in those games (W3 D2), including going unbeaten in a season-high four straight (W2 D2).

The Timbers have more points in those six matches than they had in their first 12 this season (10 – W2 D4 L6) and will hope to continue that run here.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

San Jose Earthquakes – 35.2%

Portland Timbers – 38.9%

Draw – 26%