The 2018 Major League Soccer schedule had been released and there are plenty of big dates to look forward to for fans of the Portland Timbers, but one surprising omission.
Despite closing out the season against the Vancouver Whitecaps for the third straight year, the Timbers will only play the Canadian Cascadians twice in 2018. While MLS’s uneven scheduling has always added an element of chance to the table, this is the first time in the current format that the Timbers have not faced both of their Cascadian rivals three times in a season.
The addition of expansion side Los Angeles FC to the Western Conference means that the Timbers will only face one opponent three times in their 34 game regular season and that honor goes to the Seattle Sounders.
The now uneven Cascadia Cup will kick off for the Timbers on May 13th when they host the Sounders before travelling to Seattle on July 30th, hosting the Whitecaps on August 11th and the Sounders on August 26th, and travelling to Vancouver to finish out the season on October 28th.
The Timbers will get their first look at LAFC at home on May 19th and will travel to face the expansion side again on July 15th.
We already knew that the Timbers would start the year on the road as construction proceeds on the east side of Providence Park, and between their season opener on March 4th at the LA Galaxy and their home opener against Minnesota United on April 14th, the Timbers will play an additional four matches on the road, visiting the New York Red Bulls, FC Dallas, the Chicago Fire, and Orlando City SC.
That extended early road trip means that the Timbers will have plenty of home games to make up, most of which will come during the summer when the Timbers have a four game home stretch in which they will host the Montreal Impact, Houston Dynamo, Philadelphia Union, and Vancouver Whitecaps between July 21st and August 11th. Additionally, the Timbers’ schedule sports four more pairs of back to back home matches, including back to back matches against the 2017 MLS Cup finalists, the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC, on August 26th and 29th.
Beyond the Timbers’ extended road trip and homestead, there is one other schedule oddity that stands out: the Timbers will not face Real Salt Lake until their third-to-last and second-to-last matches of the season, when they will play the Utah side away and home in back to back matches.
The Timbers are slated to play twelve games on national television this year, including three games against the Sounders, four against LA teams, and cross-conference matches with New York City FC and Atlanta United.
The full schedule can be read below.
Sunday, March 4 - @LA Galaxy - 7 p.m. - FS1
Saturday, March 10 - @New York Red Bulls - 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 24 - @FC Dallas - 12:30 p.m. - Univision
Saturday, March 31 - @Chicago Fire - 3 p.m.
Sunday, April 8 - @Orlando City SC - 1 p.m. - ESPN
Saturday, April 14 - MINNESOTA UNITED FC - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 22 - NEW YORK CITY FC - 3 p.m. - FS1
Saturday, May 5 - @San Jose Earthquakes - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 13 - SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC - 1 p.m. - ESPN
Saturday, May 19 - LOS ANGELES FC - 12 noon - FOX
Saturday, May 26 - @Colorado Rapids - 6 p.m.
Saturday, June 2 - LA GALAXY - 2 p.m. - ESPN2
Saturday, June 9 - SPORTING KANSAS CITY - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 24 - @Atlanta United FC - 1:30 p.m. - FOX
Saturday, June 30 - @Seattle Sounders FC - 1:30 p.m. - FOX
Saturday, July 7 - SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES - 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 15 - @Los Angeles FC - 3 p.m. - ESPN
Saturday, July 21 - MONTREAL IMPACT - 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 28 - HOUSTON DYNAMO - 6 p.m. - ESPN
Saturday, Aug. 4 - PHILADELPHIA UNION - 8 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 11 - VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC - 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 15 - @D.C. United - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 18 - @Sporting Kansas City - 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 26 - SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC - 6:30 p.m. - FS1
Wednesday, Aug. 29 - TORONTO FC - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 1 - @New England Revolution - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8 - COLORADO RAPIDS - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 15 - @Houston Dynamo - 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 19 - COLUMBUS CREW SC - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 22 - @Minnesota United FC - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 29 - FC DALLAS - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 6 - @Real Salt Lake - 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 21 - REAL SALT LAKE - TBD
Sunday, Oct. 28 - @Vancouver Whitecaps FC - 1:30 p.m.