The playoff math is simple at RSL this Sunday
With a win or draw this Sunday in Sandy, Utah, the Portland Timbers are in the 2022 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
It's a difficult matchup against a motivated RSL team, only a point beneath the playoff line. The Timbers' record at America First Field (formerly, Rio Tinto Stadium) is in favor of the hosts at 8-5-3. But no matter what happens elsewhere in MLS, the Timbers are in control of their own playoff hopes. Here are 3 things to know ahead of Sunday:
The Timbers consistently find ways to score.
The team has scored in 19 consecutive matches and 29 of their 33 games this season, trailing only LAFC in that metric. And the Timbers are one of just three teams with four players on seven goals or more. Santiago Moreno and Sebastián Blanco both have seven, while Dairon Asprilla, who scored Portland’s lone goal against LAFC last Sunday, and Jaroslaw Niezgoda have nine.
RSL will be coming off consecutive draws and, unlike the Timbers, will need a straight win on Sunday to earn a playoff spot.
The two teams last played to a 0-0 draw on April 24. And though the all-time record in Utah isn't as favorable, Portland won 3-1 in its last visit in 2021. RSL will look to Sergio Córdova (nine goals) and Justin Meram (7 assists) to reverse that trend.
“We have to go there in Salt Lake, not look at the record in the past—because it’s been very positive to us—but know this is a completely different game,” Giovanni Savarese said last weekend. “We need to make sure we get a good result and we have to put a good fight in.”
Portland hasn’t lost twice in a row since mid-August and hasn't lost to RSL since October 2020. And after the tough result last weekend, the Timbers will be ready.
“I will tell you right away we will bounce back great, I believe so,” Savarese said. “I know the group and it’s in the right mindset. We’re going to get up and fight again, that’s what everybody knows about us. We’re just a team that never gives up.”