This season's playoff appearance will be the Portland Timbers' sixth in the past decade. In that ten-year period, Portland faced either Seattle Sounders or Vancouver Whitecaps in each playoff season, a possibility that exists again in 2013. Here's how the Timbers concluded each of those seasons, dating back to 2004, and how the club fared in the postseason.
2004: Byron Alvarez and Fadi Afash scored in the second half as Portland defeated ten man Milwaukee Wave United. That victory capped a ten-game unbeaten run to close a season that finished with the Timbers ten points clear of Vancouver at the top of the Western Conference.
Results: After coming from behind for a 2-1 win at PGE Park in the first leg, the Timbers lost 2-0 after extra time to Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field in the second leg. Welton scored both goals for the Sounders, who had finished fourteen points behind Portland in the regular season.
2005: A 3-0 home victory against Richmond Kickers capped a nine-goal weekend after the Timbers crushed Atlanta Silverbacks 6-1 in the season's penultimate game. Portland lost just twice in its final eleven games to sneak into the playoffs as the fifth seed in the USL First Division.
Results: Another date with Seattle met with more disappointment as Roger Levesque scored all three goals over two legs and the Timbers were eliminated 3-0 on aggregate.
2007: A second place finish was achieved when Portland drew 0-0 at Vancouver in its final game of the season. The draw was the fifth such result in the final nine games for the Timbers, costing them a chance to finish top of the table.
Results: Having lost the quarterfinal first leg at Vancouver, the Timbers routed the Whitecaps 3-0 in the second leg to win 3-1 on aggregate and book a semifinal appearance for the first time since 1989. Bryan Jordan scored a second half equalizer against Atlanta in the first leg but the second leg finished scoreless at PGE Park. The Silverbacks converted on three of their penalties while only Leonard Griffin scored for Portland as the Timbers were eliminated before a chance to play the Sounders in the final.
2009: Portland racked up a 24-game unbeaten streak during the regular season but finished the year losing three of its last five. The final game, however, was a 2-1 victory for the Timbers with George Josten scoring both goals against Cleveland City Stars. For the second time in the USL era, Portland finished on the top of the table, three points clear of Carolina RailHawks.
Results: Dropped directly into the semifinals, the Timbers were presented with Vancouver again, who had just defeated second seeded Carolina in the quarterfinals. Portland dropped a 2-1 decision at Swangard Stadium in the first leg and quickly fell behind in the second leg back at PGE Park. A furious rally ensued with Brian Farber scoring twice before half-time and Alex Nimo adding a goal in the last ten minutes, but Portland could not get an aggregate lead and lost 5-4, drawing 3-3 in the second leg.
2010: A 2-2 draw in Burnaby concluded the Timbers' final season in the second division with Kalif Alhassan and Bright Dike scoring. Portland finished the year with a ten-game unbeaten streak, placing the Timbers in fourth place on the United States Soccer Federation Division 2 table.
Results: Faced with another Whitecaps match-up in the quarterfinals, the Timbers again surrendered an early lead at Swangard when Gershon Koffie scored in the first minute of the first leg. Vancouver won 2-0 and forced a desperate final game from Portland at Merlo Field in the second leg. James Marcelin's header gave the Timbers a 1-0 win but it was not enough to overturn the first leg defeat and Portland again succumbed to a Cascadia rival on aggregate in the playoffs.