Portland play the second of a two-match homestand against Western Conference foes Colorado Rapids. Kickoff from Providence Park is scheduled for 7:30pm PT.
The Timbers are running rampant as of late and take their three-game win streak into Saturday evening's matchup with the Colorado Rapids. In what will be the penultimate home match of the 2023 regular season, Saturday will be another crucial match in the pursuit of the best possible finish above the playoff line.
Portland (8th, 10-11-9, 39pts) and Colorado (14th, 4-14-10, 22pts) will duke it out one final time in 2023 having already played once (although technically, twice) before. The two faced-off on the Fourth of July in Commerce City, Colo. and encountered a rare weather-delay that forced the final 45 minutes of the match to be postponed to July 12th. The uncommon experience made no impact on the scoreline as both halves ended scoreless.
Honoring the Best of the best
The Timbers will be honoring club legend Clyde Best at Saturday's match with an array of festivities leading up to game time and a half-time recognition. Best played for the Timbers from 1977-81, scoring 38 goals and 27 assists in 115 matches. As one of the first Black athletes to play in the first division of English football prior to his stint in green and gold, Clyde Best is a true pioneer in Soccer City, USA and the world.
[Updated] Playoffs Outlook
The points have been on the table, and the Timbers have snatched them all up in their last three matches. Looking back at the lead-up to LAFC (Sept. 10), Portland had 21 points left to fight for in the regular season, and were on the outside-looking-in of the playoff picture. They've collected 42% of the available points, and have climbed into eighth place in the crowded Western Conference.
Now there are only 12 points remaining from four matches, with a home-away-away-home schedule up ahead. In order to secure the postseason, the Timbers will need to keep their form going while keeping tabs on Western Conference rivals Minnesota United FC and FC Dallas who are right on their tails, and with games in hand. If the Timbers can handle the Rapids, they'll continue to solidify their place in the Western Conference playoffs zone:
Minnesota and Dallas are hunting down Portland's eighth seed, and with both clubs having matches in-hand, the Timbers will be keeping a close eye on these matchups over the weekend:
Saturday, September 23
Minnesota vs St. Louis
Dallas vs Columbus
Here are some notes and stats to know ahead of Saturday's matchup with the Rapids:
Since entering the league, the Timbers have only lost twice to the Rapids when playing at Providence Park. Their first ever encounter in the Pacific Northwest on June 11, 2011 resulted in a Colorado victory, but Portland have only suffered one other loss in the dozen years since. The Timbers are 9-1-2 since that first loss (+16 GD) as they welcome the Rapids for the 14th all-time regular season meeting in Portland.
The form Portland has been in their last five games is season-altering. They are undefeated and have posted a 4-0-1 record with a +5 goal differential with each match producing a multiple-goal result over that span. It is the most successful unbeaten run in 2023 for the club, and their three most recent wins are their most consecutive wins this season.
Although scoreless (in two separate halves) in their only other matchup this year, historically both the Timbers and Colorado are clinical when facing one another. Both teams have inflicted the same amount of damage unto the other with 37 goals scored on both sides over 28 all-time regular season matches.
Cristhian Paredes took the captain's armband and led the team to a well-earned victory over the Earthquakes on Wednesday night. His goal and his 90-minute performance earned him a spot on the MLS Team of the Matchday bench for matchday 33. He will however be out for Saturday's clash with Colorado due to yellow card accumulation, giving him some extra rest before Portland's back-to-back road matches stretch.