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Timbers to open MLS season on the road against Vancouver; host Houston in home opener a week later

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The April 18 opener will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, because of US–Canada travel restrictions.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers 2020 MLS campaign ended in Portland in November. Now, we finally know when and where their 2021 MLS campaign will begin.

The league announced on Wednesday the home openers for all MLS clubs, and it was revealed that the Timbers will be starting their season on road against the Vancouver Whitecaps on April 18. In an interesting “only during a pandemic” wrinkle, however, their season opener will not be at BC Place. Because of travel restrictions currently in place between the United States and Canada, the game will instead be played at Vancouver’s new US-based home: Rio Tinto Stadium, in Sandy Utah.

If you recall, Vancouver used Providence Park during the restarted MLS season last year as their “home” field. This year, they have moved a little farther southwest. The end result is the Portland will start their season on the road for the first time since 2019.

Just seven days after that on April 24, Portland will host the Houston Dynamo in their 2021 home opener. It will be the first time that Portland has played Houston since the group stage of the MLS is Back tournament last summer, and the first time the Dynamo have been Portland’s first home opponent of an MLS campaign.

Portland will be in action a week before their opening MLS matches, as they face CD Marathon in the round of sixteen of the Concacaf Champions league. The first leg in San Pedro Sula is scheduled for April 6, and the second leg will be hosted in Portland on April 13, five days before the Timbers’ opening bout against the Whitecaps.

Official league guidance around stadiums hosting fans in a limited capacity have yet to be announced, so it remains to be seen if Providence Park will be welcoming back Timbers fans for its first games of the new year.

You can read the team’s full press release on the opening games of the MLS season here.