PREVIEW | Timbers back in Texas, visit Austin FC as postseason hunt intensifies

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Portland make their first and only trip to the Texan capital for a Sunday night duel with Austin FC at 5:30pm PT from Q2 Stadium.

The Timbers are turning up the heat as the season winds down, and are fully in the fight for a spot in the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. Next up for Portland is an opponent that is right in the thick of the race with them – Austin FC.

Portland (11th, 8-11-9, 33pts) and Austin (10th, 9-12-6, 33pts) meet for the second time this season (and seventh all-time), having drawn 2-2 at Providence Park back on May 6. The result was the first draw in the regular season series between the two, with the Timbers holding the series advantage at three wins and only two losses.

Playoffs Outlook

There are only six games remaining in 2023 for the Timbers, and as they sit one point from the final playoff spot it will be crucial to earn as many points as possible out of the 18 that are up for grabs in the next month-in-a-half.

Even though just five points separate the Timbers from as far up as sixth place in the West, many of those teams have games-in-hand on Portland:

Race to the Playoffs!
Games In-Hand
Pts. Diff. to PTFC
8San Jose0+4

With the opportunity for Portland to make up ground in the race if any of the teams in the green zone fault, here are the weekend matchups to keep an eye on as the Timbers look to inch closer to the postseason:

Sat. September 16

Vancouver at Toronto

Minnesota vs Kansas City

San Jose vs Salt Lake

Dallas vs Seattle

Notes and stats to know ahead of the showdown in Austin:

16th and 5th

Portland's scoring has been in form. The Timbers have scored multiple goals in their last four matches, finding the back of the net eight times. It's been a season where nearly everyone has contributed on the scoresheet, and last weekend centerback Larrys Mabiala became the 16th player overall and fifth defender to score a goal for the Timbers this season. It was his first goal of the 2023 campaign and first goal in all competitions since scoring the game-winner against the Colorado Rapids in the MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on the Thanksgiving match on Nov. 25, 2021.


Upon their debut in MLS, Austin FC shocked Cascadia by defeating Portland in their first two (of three) meetings back in their debut 2021 season. Austin would take both wins at home with a goal differential of +5, but the script would change soon after. In their third meeting that year, the Timbers disposed of the Verdes in a 3-0 drubbing at Providence Park. Since then, Portland have not lost to Austin, earning a 3-0-1 record, amassing their own +5 goal differential over that span.


Portland's no. 30 Santiago Moreno tallied his team-leading ninth assist of the season in the team's 2-0 win over LAFC. His nine assists this year surpass his previous season best of eight set last year during the 2022 campaign. Moreno is now also tied for third-most assists in a season (9) by a Timbers player in the last five seasons.


The Portland-Austin matchup, although relatively new, has produced a fair amount of goals. In the six matches disputed, a total of 20 goals evenly split between the two have been scored when they go head-to-head. Historically, the Timbers have been most lethal with the ball between the 16th and 75th minute of play – scoring all 10 of their tallies in that period.