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The Comeback: Two Goals

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The Timbers have fought back from the brink of defeat over and over this year and, as far as Caleb Porter is concerned, next weekend will be no different. We look at the history of the 2 goal deficit and scoring in the playoffs.

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

I think that last goal was big, really big. It's a 2-0 margin; that's not insurmountable. That can happen. It has happened this year. We have come back.

After yesterday's practice, Caleb Porter addressed the press, talking repeatedly about how the Timbers are not out of their playoff series against Real Salt Lake just yet.

We scored three goals in 50' against Seattle... We were down 3-1 at halftime against the New York Red Bulls and came back to level at 3-3 in 45'. We were down 2-0 to [the Colorado Rapids] with 35' left and we scored two goals in 35' to go 2-2. We're capable of going to another level and turning it up a notch... We've shown that this year.

The Timbers have come from behind to snag the tie several times this year. Most impressively they have come back from two goal deficits twice, as Porter pointed out after practice.

The Timbers have also posted multiple-goal scorelines in 23 games this year, including three of their five matches against RSL and 20 league matches.

I'm strangely excited about the way this has played out. Obviously I wouldn't have scripted it this way. This is not the way we wanted it to be. We were disappointed by the last game, but we know what we need to do and what we need to do is win the game by more than two goals.

As pointed out by Stacey (h/t Mike Donovan and Chris Rifer) in this week's postscript, a two goal comeback in the playoffs is rare, but not unheard of. Here is a breakdown of the results of every playoff series with a two goal deficit after the first leg since aggregate goals were adopted by MLS in 2003.

The only two teams to come back from such a deficit were the Kansas City Wizards in 2004 and the San Jose Earthquakes in 2003. Both teams were at home in the second leg and both teams managed to win outright, rather than going to extra time.

2012

Conference Semifinals

First Leg Second Leg Aggregate
Sporting Kansas City 0 1 1
Houston Dynamo 2 0 2

Conference Final

First Leg Second Leg Aggregate
Houston Dynamo 3 1 4
DC United 1 1 2
First Leg Second Leg Aggregate
LA Galaxy 3 1 4
Seattle Sounders 0 2 2

2011

Conference Semifinals


First Leg Second Leg Aggregate
Sporting Kansas City 2 2 4
Colorado Rapids 0 0 0
First Leg Second Leg Aggregate
Seattle Sounders 0 2 2
Real Salt Lake 3 0 3

2005

Conference Semifinals

First Leg Second Leg Aggregate
San Jose Earthquakes 1 1 2
LA Galaxy 3 1 4

2004

Conference Semifinals

First Leg Second Leg Aggregate
DC United 2 2 4
Metrostars 0 0 0
First Leg Second Leg Aggregate
Kansas City Wizards 0 3 3
San Jose Earthquakes 2 0 2

2003

Conference Semifinals

First Leg Second Leg Aggregate
Chicago Fire 2 2 4
DC United 0 0 0
First Leg Second Leg Aggregate
New England Revolution 2 1 3
Metrostars 0 1 1
First Leg Second Leg Aggregate
San Jose Earthquakes 0 5 5
LA Galaxy 2 2 4