The Home/Away Switcheroo: How Hard is the Timbers' Schedule? [Updated]

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

For the last three years since adopting an uneven schedule, Major League Soccer has switched the home and away schedules of each team in the Western Conference for each new season. Last year the Portland Timbers finished the year with an astounding home record of 11-1-5, the best in the league.

So what will happen this year when the Timbers' home and away schedule is flipped?

The East

The Timbers' away schedule in the Eastern Conference is very straightforward. After playing Sporting Kansas City, the Chicago Fire, the Philadelphia Union, the Columbus Crew, and DC United on the road last year, the Timbers will instead face the New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution, Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact, and Toronto FC.

Average 2013 home points of Timbers away opponents in the Eastern Conference

2013: 25.2

2014: 29.4

The West

Looking at the Western Conference is a little more complex thanks to the Timbers' higher number of in-conference games. In 2013 the Timbers faced Real Salt Lake, the LA Galaxy, the Colorado Rapids, and FC Dallas twice at home and the Seattle Sounders, the San Jose Earthquakes, the Vancouver Whitecaps, and Chivas USA twice on the road. For 2014 those two groups will switch.

Average 2013 home points of Timbers away opponents in the Western Conference

2013: 31.00 (28.25 without points taken from the Timbers)

2014: 34.25 (33.75)

Difference: 3.25 (5.5)

Average 2013 away points of Timbers home opponents in the Western Conference

2013: 14.25 (14)

2014: 16.75 (15.25)

Difference: 2.5 (1.25)

In 2013 the Timbers had a pretty ideal schedule, facing the teams that struggled on the road in Portland and taking on those who were strong away sides at their home grounds. In 2014 that is not the case. While there will be changes in their opponents' fortunes, the Timbers face a much harder schedule this year both in terms of the teams that they will host at Jeld-Wen and those they they will face on the road.

Update: As requested, I added the points totals with points earned against the Timbers removed.

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