The Portland Timbers will host familiar foes Real Salt Lake at Providence Park to open the 2015 season. The Timbers will kick off the year off on Saturday, March 7th as a part of the league's 10 game opening weekend slate.
The opening weekend is highlighted by a matchup between the league's two expansion teams, Orlando City SC and New York City FC, on the 8th that will be broadcast on ESPN 2. Broadcast information for the weekend's other matches is not yet available.
For the Timbers, RSL seems like a very familiar opponent after facing off against the team from Utah in the final month of the 2014 season and the Timbers' second to last home game of the year. That match ended in a 0-0 draw when the Timbers were in dire need of points to make a last second push to beat out the Vancouver Whitecaps for a playoff spot.
Against Real Salt Lake the Timbers have an all-time MLS record of 2-5-4 and an all-time MLS home record of 1-1-3.
The RSL team that the Timbers will face in the home opener will have many of the hallmarks of the Salt Lake teams that they have faced before: Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman, and Nick Rimando will provide the strong spine of the team and, despite an average age of 34 by the time the season rolls around, should still be a formidable bedfock on which to build.
However, there will be some changes in the RSL's second season without Jason Kreis as head coach and their first without Gareth Lagerway as general manager. The team has already lost mainstays Ned Grabavoy, Nat Borchers, and Chris Wingert, as well as role players Robbie Findley and Sebastian Velasquez. Aside from the returning Jamison Olave at cenerback, who Real Salt Lake will bring in to replace those players remains up in the air.
The full MLS opening weekend schedule can be found here.