The Portland Timbers have back to back matches against the two Eastern Conference newcomers, Orlando City SC and New York City FC over the next two weeks. With expansion continuing apace around MLS and three (or four if Team Beckham can get their stuff together) teams set to join the league between now and 2018, let's take a quick look at the Timbers' limited history against expansion sides.
2011: 2-0-0 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
In the Timbers' first year in the league they went 11-14-9, while their fellow newcomers, the Whitecaps, logged a record of 6-18-10. While the Timbers' fell just short of making the playoffs, the Whitecaps were dead last in the league, losing out to the New England Revolution, who they were tied with on points, by the number of goals scored.
The six points that the Timbers took off of Vancouver went a long way toward keeping Portland relevant in their first year, falling just four points shy of the New York Red Bulls (yes, playoffs were even weirder back then) for the final playoff spot. Without those six points, the Timbers would have been down breathing the same rarefied air as the late Chivas USA. The points change would not have been enough to move a truly dire Whitecaps side above the Timbers in the standings, but it would have gotten them out of the basement at least.
2012: 0-1-0 vs. Montreal Impact
In 2012 MLS returned to uneven scheduling, doing so for the first time since the Timbers joined the league. As such, Portland only had one opportunity to take points off a new Montreal side that put in a decent 12-16-6 showing. The opportunity went wanting, however, as the Timbers failed to find their footing in Montreal and were shut out by Donovan Ricketts, who would be traded to the Timbers later that season.
The loss was particularly devastating as it was only the Impact's second of the season, following a 1-5-2 start to the year. The Timbers, meanwhile, were coming off a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City, the previous year's Eastern Conference Champions. The win had given Timbers fans hope as it snapped a five game winless stretch that included losses to New England, Real Salt Lake, Chivas, and the LA Galaxy.
2013 and 2014, meanwhile, had no new teams joining the league, which remained steady at eighteen teams until this year.
Previous expansion sides:
2010: Philadelphia Union, 8-15-10
2009: Seattle Sounders, 12-7-11
2008: San Jose Earthquakes, 8-13-9
2007: Toronto FC, 6-17-7
2005: Chivas USA, 4-22-6; Real Salt Lake 5-22-5