Portland Timbers Need Road Wins to Salvage the Season

PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 31: A general view of the exterior of Jeld-Wen Field before the Portland Timbers against the Colorado Rapids on August 31, 2012 at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

With the Portland Timbers now on somewhat of a win "streak" there's been a bit of a bump in fan and player morale heading into the final weeks of the season. In fact, while still unlikely, there is even a bit of renewed hope that the Timbers might just maybe make the play offs this year. Truth is, it's not entirely impossible, but in order for them to make it they need road wins.

The Timbers have never been a strong road side. In fact, they're one of the worst. Even teams like the Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact don't seem to struggle as much as the Timbers do. Why is this? Honestly, I can't say. It could be a lack of general MLS experience among the team as many players who were brought into the team were either new to the league, new to the team, or both. What we do know though is that in 29 road games so far in MLS, the Timbers have only won twice.

So here's the reality of the situation: with the Timbers having only 8 games left this season before the play offs start, five of those games are road games. The Timbers are also just 10 points away from the #5 spot in the Western Conference with 2 games in hand on Vancouver and 3 games in hand on FC Dallas.

Full break down after the break:

Western Conference Standings

# Club PTS GP PPG W L T GF GA GD HG HGD RG RGD
1 San Jose Earthquakes 53 27 1.96 16 6 5 56 33 23 36 21 20 2
2 Real Salt Lake 46 28 1.64 14 10 4 38 32 6 25 11 13 -5
3 Seattle Sounders FC 44 26 1.69 12 6 8 41 27 14 18 11 23 3
4 LA Galaxy 43 28 1.54 13 11 4 48 40 8 23 7 25 1
5 Vancouver Whitecaps 37 28 1.32 10 11 7 29 37 -8 19 5 10 -13
6 FC Dallas 33 29 1.14 8 12 9 34 38 -4 18 4 16 -8
7 Chivas USA 28 25 1.12 7 11 7 20 39 -19 8 -13 12 -6
8 Portland Timbers 27 26 1.04 7 13 6 27 43 -16 21 3 6 -19
9 Colorado Rapids 26 27 0.96 8 17 2 33 41 -8 22 8 11 -16

As you can see, if the Timbers can continue their tear in the latter part of this season overtaking Vancouver isn't beyond the realm of possibility. But that's a big if and 15 of those hypothetical points come from road wins. In fact, the Timbers can not rely on just their home games at this point because there are only 9 left which isn't enough to overtake the Vancouver Whitecaps current spot as it is today.

The Final Schedule

Date Home Team Away Team
9/5 6:00PM PDT

MLS Regular Season
at Dick's Sporting Goods Park
Colorado
Portland
NBC Sports
9/15 12:30PM PDT

MLS Regular Season
at JELD-WEN Field
Portland
Seattle
NBC
Presented by adidas
9/19 7:30PM PDT

MLS Regular Season
at Buck Shaw Stadium
San Jose
Portland
KPDX
9/22 5:00PM PDT

MLS Regular Season
at Rio Tinto Stadium
Portland
NBC Sports
9/29 7:30PM PDT

MLS Regular Season
at JELD-WEN Field
Portland
ROOT SPORTS

October, 2012

Date Home Team Away Team
10/7 6:00PM PDT

MLS Regular Season
at CenturyLink Field
Seattle
Portland
ESPN
10/21 4:00PM PDT

MLS Regular Season
at BC Place
Vancouver
Portland
ROOT SPORTS
10/27 3:30PM PDT

MLS Regular Season
at JELD-WEN Field
Portland
San Jose
NBC Sports

The unfortunate truth is that the Timbers' final 8 games are a fairly grueling lot with three Cascadia Cup matches, two matches against the league leader, and one match with perennial winner Real Salt Lake. Really the only two games that won't be an epic struggle for the Timbers will be the away game tomorrow night against the Colorado Rapids and the home game against DC United. And that's assuming the Timbers are able to find the confidence to win away on the road.

So there's the reality of the situation. With a little luck and at least a few road wins, yes, the Timbers could make the play offs. However, the schedule is not favoring their current chances.

What do you guys think of the Timbers current play off chances? Have the recent home wins renewed your hope for a successful season?

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