Halfway Through 2014: Looking Forward

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

We take a look forward at the rest of the Timbers' season.

Halfway through the season, the Portland Timbers have a full, demanding slate of games ahead of them. With the U.S. Open Cup continuing, the CONCACAF Champions League starting soon, and a gap to close between where they are and where they need to be to get into the playoffs, the Timbers are going to be busy between now and December.

The Timbers start the second half of the season in earnest this Friday with an away match against the LA Galaxy, then they follow that up with a pair of visits to Seattle the following week, first for the Open Cup and then for a regular season match. Three road games over a nine day period against two strong teams will make this a very difficult stretch for the Timbers.

The rest of the season may not feature another pair of matches against the league leaders in a single week, but there will be plenty of busy periods. As of right now, the Timbers are slated to play four MLS matches each month in July, September, and October, as well as five MLS matches in the month of August.

Already added to the month of July is next Tuesday's Open Cup match against the Seattle Sounders. Should the Timbers win and move on, the semifinals of the Open Cup will be held August 12th and 13th and the final will be held on September 30th or October 1st.

The Champions League, for the time being, remains an unknown. The dates have not been officially announced yet, although Caleb Porter hinted last week that they had already been set. In 2013, however, the Champions League spread out the six group stage matches between early August and late October. If the Champions League were to play three matches in August, like they did in 2013, the Timbers could find themselves with as many as nine matches that month, as well as the MLS All-Star game in Portland on August 6th that Porter will be required to coach.

The amount of travel that the Timbers' are slated for will only serve to exacerbate the team's congested schedule. In MLS matches alone the Timbers will be on the road for ten of their final seventeen matches, three of which will have the Timbers flying across the country to visit teams in the Eastern Conference. Additionally, three of the team's guaranteed CCL matches are away as well thanks to the home and away format of the tournament's group stage. And don't forget that the Timbers' Open Cup match next week will be in Seattle as well.

This all amounts to a schedule that will be busy and requite extensive travel. Given the Timbers' recent road success, maybe this is a good thing, but historically the road is not the best place to pick up points for a playoff push.

The Timbers find themselves going up against a group of teams that in MLS play are, collectively, 99-80-92, or have taken about 1.44 points per game. The Timbers, meanwhile, come into the second half of the season with a record of 4-5-8 and an average of 1.18 ppg.

Here is the full potential schedule for the Timbers:

July

MLS

7/4 @ LA Galaxy

7/13 @ Seattle Sounders

7/18 vs. Colorado Rapids

7/27 @ Montreal Impact

USOC

7/9 @ Seattle Sounders

August

MLS

8/2 @ LA Galaxy

8/9 vs. Chivas USA

8/16 @ New England Revolution

8/24 vs. Seattle Sounders

8/30 @ Vancouver Whitecaps

USOC

8/12 or 8/13 Semifinals

CONCACAF

8/6-8/8 Matchday 1 (2013)

8/20-8/22 Matchday 2 (2013)

8/27-8/29 Matchday 3 (2013)

Other

8/6 MLS All-Star Game

September

MLS

9/7 vs. San Jose Earthquakes

9/13 @ Colorado Rapids

9/20 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

9/27 @ Toronto FC

USOC

9/31 Final (or 10/1)

CONCACAF

9/17-9/19 Matchday 4 (2013)

9/24-9/26 Matchday 5 (2013)

October

MLS

10/4 @ San Jose Earthquakes

10/8 vs. San Jose Earthquakes

10/17 vs. Real Salt Lake

10/25 @ FC Dallas

USOC

10/1 Final (or 9/31)

CONCACAF

10/22-10/24 Matchday 6 (2013)

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