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Decision Day Match Thread: Timbers @ Real Salt Lake

A win or a draw on the final day of the regular season books Portland’s ticket to the playoffs.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Portland Timbers Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Disclaimer: The PTFC organization is currently under heavy scrutiny and pressure because of actions outlined in the recently released report from U.S. Soccer and Sally Yates into allegations of abuse in women’s soccer. It has resulted in the firing of two club executives and loud public outcry for more institutional change. As you read this article, please do not forget the pain that the players of the NWSL have suffered — and are continuing to endure.

It all comes down to this: the Portland Timbers travel to Real Salt Lake on the final day of the regular season with their playoff hopes on the line. A win or a draw is good enough for the Timbers to clinch a spot in the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Storylines So Far

This is the second game in a row that the Timbers (11-9-13, 46 points) have a chance to book a playoff spot. They blew their chance last week when they dropped a last-minute 2-1 decision to LAFC at home (and then had to watch their opponents celebrate clinching the Supporter’s Shield on their home field to boot). Portland didn’t play terribly bad in that match, but they still couldn’t get it over the line.

The result means that they now much get a result in Sandy, Utah. A draw books their spot in the playoffs, and they could land in sixth or seventh place in the Western Conference. A win books their spot, and they could end up as high as fourth place after the Decision Day dust settles and they get a bit of help from elsewhere.

A loss however, and Portland’s season ends today— regardless of results elsewhere.

Adding even more pressure to the afternoon, Portland’s opponents Real Salt Lake (11-11-11, 44 points) must win today in order to make the playoffs. Playing at home in front of a sold-out crowd, they will surely be playing like a team with nothing to lose.

The margins for the Timbers are razor-thin today, and the pressure is on.

Pregame Reading

The Sally Yates-led U.S. Soccer investigation released last week, and it outlined a culture of silence and abuse within the NWSL and women’s soccer in the U.S.

Gavin Wilkinson and Mike Golub have been fired from PTFC.

In on-field news, Naveen computed the player grades from last weekend’s loss to LAFC.

How to Watch

Location: America First Field| Sandy, UT

Time: 2 p.m. PST (2:18 PST kick-off)

Watch: ESPN2

Radio: 750 The Game & LA GranD 93.5 FM


Portland Timbers

Real Salt Lake