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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers

Toyota Park – Saturday, March 31st 2018 – 18:00 ET (23:00 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football

Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers: Preview

Chicago Fire take on the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening, with both sides still looking for their first win of the 2018 season. Chicago have opened the season with back-to-back losses, while Portland have taken just one point from a possible nine.

The Fire have only played two games but the early signs are worrying. They fell 2-1 at Minnesota United last weekend but lost a crazy game at home to Sporting KC 4-3 in Week 2 to open their campaign. That result was the more concerning, given the fact they looked so poor defensively and that they came from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 with seven minutes left before caving in.

Head coach Veljko Paunovic does have a number of injuries to deal with, which isn’t helping the Fire’s cause. But the concern is that they are in danger of falling a long way behind in a competitive Eastern Conference before they can get their season going.

Portland entered last week’s game at FC Dallas in the same position Chicago are in now, with two losses from two outings. However, they bounced back from a 4-0 drubbing at the Red Bulls by coming from behind to earn a valuable point at Dallas. Sebastian Blanco’s fine strike ensured Giovanni Savarese picked up his first point as an MLS head coach and he’ll now be looking to build on that.

The Timbers are preparing for the fourth of five-straight away games to open the 2018 season. They would love to get a win here, taking their points tally to four from four games. However, they haven’t won any of their last six away games in MLS.

This will be the ninth clash between the two sides and Chicago are still looking for their first win over Portland. The Timbers have won four of the previous eight games, with four ending all square. Their last two meetings have ended level, including last season’s entertaining 2-2 draw at Providence Park.

Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers: Team News

Chicago Fire

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Grant Lillard (knee)

🚑 Out: Matt Polster (knee), Djordje Mihailovic (knee), Michael de Leeuw (knee), Jonathan Campbell (facial fracture), Jorge Corrales (infection).

Portland Timbers

❌ Suspensions: Lawrence Olum (red card)

❓ Doubts: Jeff Attinella (right thigh)

🚑 Out: Vytas (right thigh), Roy Miller (left Achilles).

Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers: Key Stats

Chicago Fire’s MLS form: L/L

Portland Timbers’ MLS form: L/L/D

Key stat: Chicago Fire have scored in a club-record 33 consecutive MLS home matches. In that time, they’ve posted an 18-5-10 record.

Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers: Prediction

Chicago Fire 2-2 Portland Timbers: The past two games between these two have ended all level and that looks likely to be the outcome on Saturday evening too. The Fire will be desperate to get at least a point on the board but know they have defensive problems to address. Portland, meanwhile, will be looking to build on last week’s result at Dallas. Both sides have issues to address but that should lead to an open and entertaining clash.

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers

Toyota Stadium – Saturday, March 24 2018 – 15:30 ET (19:30 GMT)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers: Preview

FC Dallas welcome Portland Timbers to Toyota Stadium as one of just five Week 4 MLS fixtures as a result of the international break. The Timbers are looking for their first points of the season after losing their opening two fixtures.

FC Dallas had to wait a long time to play their second game of the season but made the rest count as they saw off Seattle Sounders 3-0 last Sunday. Dallas opened the season with a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake before having a bye week in Week 2.

Saturday’s clash with Portland will be the third of four-straight home games to open the season. They have picked up four points so far and will be expecting to beat the Timbers here.

Portland haven’t made the start they were expecting. New head coach Giovanni Savarese has started life in MLS with back-to-back losses. However, both have come on the road and this will be their third of five consecutive away games to begin 2018.

The Timbers have had two weeks to reflect on their worrying 4-0 loss at the Red Bulls last time out. They will hope to be stronger at the back and will need to try and create more chances if they are to leave Texas with anything on Saturday.

This will be the 19th regular season meeting between the Western Conference sides. Dallas hold a narrow advantage based on previous fixtures, having won seven compared to Portland’s six. There have been five draws, including their only meeting at Toyota Stadium last season. Portland won 2-0 at Providence Park in the most recent clash last June.

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers: Team News

FC Dallas

🌎 International duty: Tesho Akindele (Canada).

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Jesse Gonzalez (knee).

🚑 Out: Kellyn Acosta (hernia), Brandon Servania (compartment syndrome), Jesus Ferreira (Core Muscle Repair surgery).

Portland Timbers

🌎 International duty: David Guzman (Costa Rica), Andy Polo (Peru).

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Diego Chara (foot), Alvas Powell (foot).

🚑 Out: Vytas (thigh), Jeff Attinella (thigh), Roy Miller (Achilles).

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers: Key Stats

FC Dallas’ MLS form: D/W

Portland Timbers’ MLS form: L/L

Key stat: FC Dallas are unbeaten in eight home games in MLS (W3 D5).

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers: Prediction

FC Dallas 3-1 Portland Timbers: Portland will hope to have made good use of their two-week break but the fact is they haven’t looked anywhere near good enough so far and Dallas are expected to be too strong. The hosts did well to tear a weakened Sounders side apart last weekend and could have scored more than three. If they can take their chances, expect them to run out comfortable winners for the second-straight weekend.

Radio Cascadia Episode 143: Sounders dare to dream, while Timbers left with plenty to think about

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.

In a spicy hot Radio Cascadia, the gang takes a look at a pair of surprising weekend results including a historic victory in Houston and a shocking display in Harrison. In the Champions League, tune in for an in-depth breakdown of a gutsy Seattle home win over Chivas Guadalajara as well as a tactical preview of the second leg. 

Episode 143 Playlist:

10:45 – Vancouver Whitecaps: Brek-ing the Streak

25:00 – Portland Timbers: Well That Sucked

35:15 – Seattle Sounders: Dare to Dream?