Despite an arguably sluggish end to the regular season for the third-seeded Portland Timbers, none of that matters now that the postseason is upon us.
After Decision Day, the Timbers knew they would host FC Dallas at Providence Park in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs in a knockout match.
Now we know when.
The match is set for Sunday, November 22nd at 7:00 p.m. to be nationally broadcast on ESPN.
With a win, Portland will advance to the Western Conference semifinals to square off against the winner of No. 2 seed Seattle Sounders FC and No. 7 seed Los Angeles FC on Dec. 1 or Dec. 2.
Under head coach Giovanni Savarese, the Timbers are 8-2-1 in postseason matches since hiring him in 2018. That record includes a Western Conference Championship in 2018 and winning the MLS is Back Tournament this past summer in Orlando.
While no fans will be permitted to attend, the Timbers will still have an advantage due to a lack of travel. Given MLS COVID-19 protocols, road teams must travel to the opposing stadium the same day as game day, and return following the contest.
“Obviously, you have an advantage if you play at home because you don’t have to fly, and as you know we are flying the same day, which is not easy," said Diego Valeri following a road loss to Real Salt Lake on October 14th.
Playing at home in the postseason will also give a sense of accomplishment to the home team. They did what they needed to do to be in the best position possible in the postseason.
"You want to make sure that at least you have that sense of feeling that 'You know what, we did what we had to do. We put ourselves in a good situation and now at home, we have to make sure that we do even better,'" said Savarese.
"It’s a good one if we can play in our home field," added Valeri.
Now, the Timbers will get a chance to get off on the right foot while trying to win the club's second MLS Cup.