In Pictures: Timbers, SKC play out goalless draw in first leg of Western Conference Championship

Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City are as they were coming into Sunday’s Western Conference Championship series. They battled to a 0-0 draw in the first-leg at Providence Park, meaning there’s all to play for in what should be a thrilling second-leg on Thursday.

Portland had the best chances on the night, hitting the post and seeing a goal ruled out for offside following a VAR decision. They were also denied by Tim Melia time and time again, with the SKC goalkeeper making six saves on the night.

Sporting KC had a couple of chances of their own, mostly breaking on the counter wherever possible. Johnny Russell had a good sight of goal just after half-time. While Daniel Salloi had a great chance to win it in stoppage time, only for Liam Ridgewell to put his body on the line to block.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s first leg below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer, Denise McCooey.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

In Pictures: Timbers inflict MLS Playoff penalty pain to eliminate Sounders

The Portland Timbers are heading to the Western Conference Final. They edged past the Seattle Sounders over two legs , managing to survive a spirited Seattle comeback, getting the better of the Sounders in the MLS Cup Playoffs for just the second time in history.

The Sounders won 3-2 on the night at CenturyLink Field in the second leg but fell on penalties 4-2 in the shootout. Seattle’s season is over. Portland are moving on to face either Real Salt Lake or Sporting Kansas City.

Following Portland’s 2-1 comeback win in the first-leg of the series, the pressure was always going to be on the Sounders to get a result in front of their home fans. But the opening hour of the second leg was an ill-tempered battle.

Raul Ruidiaz sparked the game into life with the opening goal on 68 minutes, putting the Sounders ahead in the tie on away goals. But Sebastian Blanco put the Timbers back into the driving seat ten minutes later.

It was Ruidiaz who saved the Sounders from exiting after 90 minutes as he fired in a dramatic 93rd minute goal to make the game 2-1 on the night and 3-3 on aggregate. Extra-time then begun perfectly for Portland, as Dairon Asprilla scored just three minutes into ET.

But Seattle fought back yet again, with Nicolas Lodeiro firing in from the spot in the 7th minute of extra-time to once again level the tie on aggregate. No more goals would be scored, sending the game into penalties.

Seattle’s Will Bruin hit the post, while Osvaldo Alonso saw his shot saved by Portland goalkeeper Jeff Attinella. Stefan Frei saved Liam Ridgewell’s penalty, to briefly keep Sounders hopes alive, but Asprilla was the man who ended Seattle’s season. He tucked his penalty away, claiming a series win for Portland.

Check out exclusive photos from Thursday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Denise McCooey and Paul Kahl.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In Pictures: Portland Timbers come back to take first-leg advantage from Seattle Sounders

Portland Timbers came back to beat Cascadia Rivals Seattle Sounders 2-1 in the first leg of their Western Conference Semifinal playoff clash at Providence Park. It means the first playoff series between the two rivals in five years is finely poised ahead of the second-leg meeting at CenturyLink Field.

The Sounders took an early lead as Raul Ruidiaz converted Cristian Roldan’s cut back inside the first 10 minutes, netting what could still prove to be a crucial away goal. But Portland battled back.

The hosts leveled the tie as Jeremy Ebobisse ran on to Diego Valeri’s perfect pass on 17 minutes and they took the lead just 12 minutes later. Sebastian Blanco turned what looked like a half-chance into a fine goal, sending Portland fans crazy.

Neither team was able to breakthrough again, despite the frantic start to the game and the two rivals now head into the second leg with the score at 2-1. You can guarantee there will be drama in Seattle on Thursday night.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Denise McCooey.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In pictures: Sounders keep streak alive with 1-0 win at Portland

The Seattle Sounders are rolling. They set a club record by making it seven wins on the bounce on Sunday, beating Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers 1-0 at Providence Park.

The game’s only goal came via an own goal, with Portland’s Julio Cascante the unfortunate victim of the game-deciding moment. Seattle weren’t the better side for most of the game but they got the result they needed.

Seattle hadn’t won in the Rose City since August 2014 but they made the most of their opportunity on the night and moved in front of Portland in the Western Conference. The Sounders are now fifth, while the Timbers dropped out of the playoff spots and into seventh.

Check out exclusive photos from the match below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Denise McCooey.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In Pictures: Vancouver head to Portland and snap 15-game streak in Cascadia Cup clash

The Portland Timbers’ 15-game streak is over. Of all the teams to end their unbeaten run, they would not have wanted it to be Cascadia rivals; Vancouver Whitecaps. But that’s the way it ended as the Whitecaps ran out 2-1 in what was a dramatic night at Providence Park.

Portland were awarded two penalties on the night but couldn’t keep their unbeaten run going. The result means they have been handed their first home loss of 2018. For the Whitecaps, it keeps their playoff push alive following a draw at New York City FC before Saturday’s game. They are now two points outside of the playoffs in the West.

The Whitecaps took the lead in the 14th minute, with Kei Kamara heading in from Kendall Waston’s pass to silence the home crowd. But Waston was then at fault as he brought down Diego Valeri in the box in the 40th minute, with the Timbers being awarded a spot-kick.

But Valeri missed the penalty, dragging his shot wide. And just moments later, the visitors doubled their lead. Brek Shea crossed in and Cristian Techera headed in Vancouver’s second, just a couple of minutes before half-time. The missed penalty and second Vancouver goal sucked the life out of Portland before the break.

The Timbers did come out fighting though and Valeri made up for his first-half penalty miss when he slotted in from the spot on 71 minutes. Portland pressed, looking for the equaliser to extend their unbeaten run to 16 but couldn’t find the goal. Vancouver held on, for what could prove to be three vital points come the end of the season.

Check out exclusive photos from Saturday’s Cascadia Cup clash below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer, Denise McCooey.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In pictures: Timbers make it 15 unbeaten with 3-0 win over Union

The Portland Timbers tied a club record by stretching their unbeaten run to 15 on Saturday night. Portland scored two penalties on the way to a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Union at Providence Park.

The teams went into half-time with the score locked at 0-0 but Portland head coach Giovanni Savarese told his players to go after the Union after the break. And they did.

Penalties scored by Diego Valeri and Dairon Asprilla put Portland 2-0 up before David Guzman headed in the final goal in the 87th minute. Asprilla and Guzman scored their first goals of the season on the night.

The result moved Portland up into second place in the Western Conference and stretched their home unbeaten run to 10. For Philadelphia, they sit seventh in the East, two point behind New England and Montreal, who currently occupy the final two playoff spots with 12 games to go.

Portland’s impressive run stretches all the way back to mid-April, when they beat Minnesota 3-2 in their 2018 home opener. The Timbers failed to win any of their five opening games to the season – all of which were played on the road – so the fact they’re now sitting second is remarkable.

Check out exclusive photos from Saturday’s game at Providence Park below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer, Denise McCooey:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy

Providence Park – Saturday, June 2 2018 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

UK TV Coverage – Live on Sky Sports Football

Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy: Preview

Portland Timbers welcome LA Galaxy to Providence Park on Saturday evening, looking to extend their impressive run to seven consecutive MLS wins. LA Galaxy arrive with some key absentees are and are up against it as they try and bounce back from their midweek loss to FC Dallas.

The Timbers are the league’s hottest team right now. Portland have won six-straight games – four of which have come at home – and have climbed to fourth in the Western Conference, five points behind leaders SKC with two games in hand.

Portland’s players have clearly now taken on Giovanni Savarese’s philosophies and they are paying dividends. They come into this one off the back of last weekend’s 3-2 win at Colorado Rapids, with Swedish striker Samuel Armenteros netting a brace.

LA Galaxy will be looking to their own Swedish striker to try and guide them to victory here. Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned from suspension by scoring twice in Wednesday night’s home clash with FC Dallas. However, those goals weren’t enough as LA fell 3-2.

The Galaxy have now lost five of their last seven games and sit eighth in the West heading into the weekend. Sigi Schmid’s men have more than enough quality to be performing better than they are. They just need to start putting a few good results together. Winning at Portland on Saturday would go a long way to helping.

This will be their second meeting of the season after the Galaxy beat the Timbers 2-1 on the opening weekend in Giovanni Savarese’s first MLS game as a head coach. However, Portland did win the only league clash at Providence Park last term, winning 3-1.

Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy: Team News

Portland Timbers

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Vytas (thigh), Jeremy Ebobisse (thigh), Kendall McIntosh (thigh).

🚑 Out: Roy Miller (Achilles), Liam Ridgewell (quad injury), Jake Gleeson (back), Jack Barmby (lower leg).

🌎 International Duty: David Guzman and Andy Polo.

LA Galaxy

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Bradford Jamieson IV (concussion), Rolf Feltscher (shoulder surgery).

🌎 International Duty: Jonathan dos Santos, Giovani dos Santos, Ola Kamara.

Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy: Key Stats

Portland Timbers’ MLS form: W/W/W/W/W

LA Galaxy’s MLS form: L/L/W/W/L

Key stat: Portland have won 10 of their last 11 MLS games at Providence Park, outscoring their opponents 26-8 in that time.

Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy: Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-1 LA Galaxy: Both teams have plenty of attacking threats, even with key international absences. Portland are on an incredible run and don’t look set to drop their form here. The Galaxy had a tough time midweek and need to try and shake off the disappointment quickly. However, it’s hard to see them stopping the Timbers, who should make it seven wins on the bounce.

In pictures: Timbers strike late to earn victory in 100th clash against Sounders

Portland Timbers emerged victorious in the 100th meeting with Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders on Sunday night. It was a cagey game with just three total shots on target, but Sebastian Blanco’s late goal sealed three important points for the home side.

Seattle set up to frustrate their fierce rivals, with Brian Schmetzer opting for a 5-4-1 formation at Providence Park. That plan worked for 86 minutes until Blanco lifted the winner over Stefan Frei to the delight of the home crowd.

The result moved Portland up to fourth in the West. They have now kept three-straight clean sheets and look to be going from strength-to-strength under Giovanni Savarese. Their next challenge comes in the shape of LAFC on Saturday evening.

Seattle still find themselves at the bottom of the Western Conference. The 2-1 win at Toronto FC was impressive but they will be disappointed to have lost Sunday’s derby clash, especially so late on. They have only scored seven goals in nine games and need to pick up soon.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Denise McCooey.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Radio Cascadia Episode 150: Oddities

MLSGB has joined up with the Radio Cascadia podcast for the 2018 season, giving our readers the chance to catch up on all the latest news from the Pacific Northwest, where MLS clubs Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps look to continue to dominate the Western Conference. 

Radio Cascadia is a weekly podcast and is an authoritative steward of the Cascadian perspective, representing the most passionate, unified and unique fan bases in the country. Their passion is well justified, not only by the clubs’ nearly fifty years of shared history but also thanks to rampant success in the MLS era.


Vancouver’s 2-0 win over RSL last Friday night relieved pressure on Carl Robinson and gave the crew an interesting lineup to dissect in the headline segment of Ep. 150. How will they hold up at counter-oriented Minnesota this Saturday?

Ed Pham and Tenzin Choephel pick lineups and results for a well-rested Portland team facing a road match up with the Earthquakes this week. Can Gio buck Timbers’ historical struggles in San Jose and make it nine points from their last nine?

The gang saves the painful stuff for last in Ep. 150, recounting the opening of Banc of California Stadium and Seattle’s 1-0 loss to hosts LAFC. Ari Liljenwall gives his take on the newest stadium in the league and Sounders’ performance in the last-minute loss. Can Seattle bounce back this weekend? It’s not an easy test with the Columbus Crew visiting town.

The results have been mixed but we can genuinely make the case that all three of our clubs are going in the right direction! Silver linings, only on Radio Cascadia.

Playlist:

00:00 – Whitecaps earn much-needed victory over RSL, look to make Cascadia 3 for 3 against Minnesota United in 2018

16:30 – Timbers ride two game winning streak down to San Jose, will they grab a third on the trot?

31:20 – Heartbreak in LA for Sounders, tricky home tie with Columbus awaits next

Radio Cascadia Episode 149: Good news, bad news

MLSGB has joined up with the Radio Cascadia podcast for the 2018 season, giving our readers the chance to catch up on all the latest news from the Pacific Northwest, where MLS clubs Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps look to continue to dominate the Western Conference. 

Radio Cascadia is a weekly podcast and is an authoritative steward of the Cascadian perspective, representing the most passionate, unified and unique fan bases in the country. Their passion is well justified, not only by the clubs’ nearly fifty years of shared history but also thanks to rampant success in the MLS era.


Seattle Times writer Geoff Baker calls in to discuss his new book: 100 Things Sounders Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is an extensive review of Sounders history and culture from the 1970’s to the present. An impressive diversity of topics are featured, ranging from stories told by NASL-era legends to candid and fair analysis of the club’s highs and lows in MLS. Even the most attentive members of the fan base will find fascinating moments from the club’s past unknown to them prior. The work presents the most honest and refreshing assessment of Seattle’s first decade in MLS available in print. Check it out here.

Portland’s 3-0 win over league leaders NYCFC headlines our Cascadia coverage this week as the crew analyses how the Timbers pulled off the big victory. Interviews with former Timber Rodney Wallace and centerback Liam Ridgewell from the locker room follow.

Sounders finally picked up a first victory of the MLS season, winning 3-1 against Minnesota United. Ari Liljenwall of MLSsoccer.com and John Marshall of MLSGB give their takes on Svensson’s rocket, a couple of questionable subs, and Alex Roldan’s solid performance. The group takes picks for Sunday’s road match at LAFC after a quick postgame exclusive with the Seattle University product.

Like the episode title says, last week featured some good results and some… well, terrible results. The crew tries to make sense of 9-man Vancouver’s 6-0 thrashing at Sporting KC and questions if they’ll be able to recover mentally in time for Friday’s home test against Real Salt Lake.

Playlist:

00:00 – Introduction & Geoff Baker on 100 Things Sounders Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

22:55 – Timbers topple league leaders 3-0

37:15 – Sounders pick up first league win, LAFC away awaits

57:15 – Whitecaps struggle in SKC, need result on Friday