At the moment, the Portland Timbers are playing really good soccer. And, at the moment, the Portland Timbers are currently sitting four points below the Western Conference playoff line.
I know we all have 100 percent confidence that the Timbers will continue on their tear and use their abundance of remaining home games to start charging up the table. But wouldn’t it give all of us just a little more peace of mind if some of the other Western Conference teams dropped off the pace? If a couple of the teams ahead of us maybe dropped a result or two?
Even the smallest result in MLS can have far-ranging consequences. We’ve seen one result dictate who wins the Supporter’s Shield (Hello, 2018 New York Red Bulls), who backs in to the playoffs despite not playing on Decision Day (Oh, hey, 2018 RSL), and who misses out on the playoffs by a single point (sigh … Hi, 2016 Portland Timbers).
So, in the spirit of trying to will some of these admittedly unpredictable results to break the way of benefiting the Portland Timbers, I humbly present the “Weekend MLS Rooting Guide for Portland Timbers Fans.” This is your guide of what result you should be rooting for, and why, in each MLS game this weekend.
Without further ado, this weekend’s matches (all times PDT).
DC United v. New England Revolution (Friday, 4:00 p.m.)
Two Eastern Conference teams, so no real rooting interest as it relates to playoff standing. But it’s Wayne Rooney against the revitalized Revs, so it has the chance to be entertaining, maybe?
Preferred result: An entertaining game where Rooney scores another midfield bomb and Bruce Arena shakes his head in disgust.
Houston Dynamo v. LAFC (Friday, 6:00 p.m.)
We aren’t catching LAFC, and we want Houston to drop points (especially at home). Houston is also the lowest playoff team at the moment and is the best candidate to get passed by Portland.
Preferred result: LAFC wins, taking out their anger from the US Open Cup loss (heh heh).
LA Galaxy v. San Jose Earthquakes (Friday, 8:00 p.m.)
In a perfect world, any West v. West matchup would end in a draw. But, because the chances of that are somewhat unlikely (especially in the Cali Clasico), we’ve got to pick a horse to back here. Portland plays both of these teams in Portland later in the regular season, but San Jose is only 5 points ahead of Portland with two more games played.
Preferred result: LA Galaxy win, and Zlatan gives us the newest and greatest MLS soundbite ever in the postgame.
Montreal Impact v. Toronto FC (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)
Rooting preference here is based purely on sentimental feelings towards Maxi Urruti and lingering anger towards Toronto for not winning MLS Cup in 2016. (Yes, I am still upset over that.)
Preferred result: Montreal win via an Urruti screamer from 30 yards out.
Orlando City SC v. Columbus Crew SC (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)
The Caleb Porter experience in Columbus has not been a good one: The old Timbers boss is in the middle of trying to steer his team out of a “1 win in 14 games” death spiral. I might be in the minority here, but I genuinely want to see Porter succeed in Ohio, so I’m cheering for them to start righting the ship against Orlando.
Preferred result: Columbus wins, and Caleb Porter throws a tissue at Dom Dwyer after the game.
Chicago Fire v. FC Cincinnati (Saturday 5:00 p.m.)
Remember when Portland lost 3-0 to Cincinnati back in March? For purely selfish reasons, I do not want that to go down as Cincinnati’s best win of the season (even though it probably will). Hence, I want them to stomp Chicago.
Preferred result: Cincinnati wins 3-0, and Fanendo Adi comes off the bench and scores a brace.
Minnesota United FC v. FC Dallas (Saturday, 5:00 p.m.)
The Timbers have yet to play Minnesota and have already split their only two games against Dallas, with one home win apiece. Both teams are about equally ahead of Portland in the standings. It’s a tricky one: Again, a draw would be fantastic, but I’m of the opinion that we want rival Western Conference teams to drop points.
Preferred result: A gritty and choppy 1-0 Dallas win.
Real Salt Lake v. Philadelphia Union (Saturday, 7:00 p.m.)
East v. West? A rival team right above us in the standings? A chance for more golden Mike Petke quotes? Pretty easy one to me.
Preferred result: Philadelphia wins, and then another office machine in the RSL office breaks.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC v. Sporting Kansas City (Saturday, 4:00 p.m.)
Vancouver is nipping at our heels in the standings, as is Sporting. The difference is that we haven’t faced Sporting yet, and we stand to potentially gain more ground against them than Vancouver in the future.
Preferred result: SKC wins, and Fredy Montero gets a red card.
Seattle Sounders v. Atlanta United (Sunday, 12:55 p.m.)
Umm ... Can they both lose? Or can a sinkhole open up beneath the stadium? Lingering resentment against Atlanta aside, it makes the most sense for them to take points off of a Western Conference rival. Especially that Western Conference rival.
Preferred result: Atlanta wins by a large amount of goals, Pity Martinez gets a hat trick, and Seattle decides to cancel the rest of their home games so they can host car shows instead.
New York Red Bulls v. New York City FC (Sunday 3:30 p.m.)
Nothing for Portland to gain in the standings, but should be one heck of a soccer game. I’ve always had a soft spot for RBNY and have always kind of leaned towards rooting against the Manchester City soccer empire.
Preferred result: A wild 4-3 Red Bulls win, featuring three goals in the last five minutes of play.
And there you have it! The definitive rooting guide for Timbers fans for this weekend’s slate of MLS matches. Did I get one wrong? Any other ways you’d like to see the games shake out? Let me know in the comments.