Both Portland Thorns FC and the Portland Timbers kick off their 2021 seasons this week, with the Thorns hosting Kansas City NWSL on Friday night (7:30pm PT, Paramount+) at Providence Park in Challenge Cup division play while the Timbers are in Honduras to take on C.D. Marathón in Tuesday's Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League action (3pm PT, FS1).
What's on tap
The Timbers kick off 2021 with their match in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. It will be the third different year that the Timbers have played in the SCCL, having also played in 2014 and 2016.
Friday night's Thorns match at Providence Park will welcome fans back to the stadium for the first time since the Timbers hosted Nashville SC on March 8, 2020. The match will be the first Thorns home match with fans since the club played the Washington Spirit to a 0-0 draw on Oct. 12, 2019, a span of 545 days.
Timbers Opponent Connections
Marathón will be the second Honduran team the Timbers have faced, with Portland having played two matches in 2014 against C.D. Olimpia. The manager of Olimpia in 2014 was Hector Vargas, who currently manages Marathón.
Thorns Opponent Connections
Kansas City NWSL will be playing its first competitive match when they take on Thorns FC. It is a return to NWSL for the city which fielded FC Kansas City from 2013-2017. KC NWSL head coach Huw Williams was general manager for FCKC's five seasons.
- Tuesday's match is the first competitive match for any MLS club in 2021, with Atlanta United scheduled to take on Costa Rica's Alajuelense two hours after Portland's match kicks off.
- The Timbers have twice before had its first competitive match of the year take place outside the United States. In both 2006 and 2009, the Timbers played their first match at Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
- Thorns FC's first four matches of the season will all be played on different days of the week with matches on Friday, Thursday, Wednesday, and Sunday.
Five numbers to know
5In their two CCL campaigns, the Timbers have won five of their eight matches. Portland is one of two MLS teams, along with Los Angeles Football Club, to have won more than half the Champions League games they have played.
7Thorns FC scored seven goals in their two home matches in the NWSL Fall Series last season. Dating back to 2019, the Thorns are on a four-game home unbeaten streak and have lost just once in their last 11 matches at Providence Park.
+9The Timbers have scored in all eight CCL matches the club has played in, scoring 22 goals while conceding 13. The +9 goal differential is the third-highest of all MLS teams in the competition's history.
1Friday night's match will be the first NWSL match to be broadcast on Paramount+. The Thorns also featured in the first NWSL matches broadcast on ESPN2, Fox Sports Go, FS1, Lifetime, ESPNews, and CBS.
2Diego Valeri has scored twice in CCL, with both goals coming in the 2016 competition. Both of his goals have come against Central American competition, with a game-winning goal against El Salvador's CD Dragon and one against Costa Rica's CD Saprissa
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