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Portland Timbers clinch a playoff spot – before they kick off!

Oct 19, 2013, 10:46 PM EDT

Timbers Army 3

The Portland Timbers clinched an MLS playoff spot Saturday without so much as a kick in pre-game warm-ups at Jeld-Wen Field.

Caleb Porter’s Timbers will obviously be driven for a result Saturday against Real Salt Lake, as there’s still plenty on the line. A winner at Jeld-Wen on Saturday would take a big step toward a Western Conference crown. Plus, Supporters Shield isn’t out of sight just yet, although Sporting Kansas City from the Eastern Conference has assumed the inside track on that one.

The Timbers officially clinched a spot when the Sounders fell to FC Dallas on Saturday afternoon. And how extra syrupy sweet it must be for the Timbers to have clinched a post-season berth based on the struggles for its most bitter rival, the Sounders!

Portland becomes the third team to officially book its post-season spot (and the first from the West, which still looks like the better conference in 2013), following the New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City.

Being the first from the West to clinch is a major turnaround from a team that finished 8th among nine teams one year ago, under an interim manager, who had replaced John Spencer in mid-season.

This is Portland’s third year in MLS, where it is still mathematically easier to make the post-season than to miss.

Still, don’t forget that Toronto FC is about to complete its 7th MLS season, and yet remains desperately on the hunt for its first playoff appearance. Neither has Chivas USA every prevailed in a playoff series, although the Goats have been to the post-season, at least, since joining the MLS fight in 2005. All of that is just to show that things certainly can go wrong as these new franchises get out of the gate.

  1. hildezero - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    Everything is going right for Portland.

    • lunasceiling - Oct 20, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      That it is, hildezero. We’d have loved three points last night, but Nick Rimando had other ideas (I was sitting in the second row on the south end, and got a great close-up view…more than one world class save). Still in great position to win the West and we have a solid shot at the Shield. Sure is nice after last year’s agony.

  2. hildezero - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    I think Portland will win the Western Conference, but won’t win the Community Shield. I think NYRB will win that one.

    • SD1 Timbers Special Forces - Oct 21, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      That’s fine, I think Portland would rather win the Supporters Shield anyway.

  3. SD1 Timbers Special Forces - Oct 21, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    It is easier to make the playoffs than to miss but there wasn’t a single “meaningless” regular season game for almost the entire league. No more playoffs spots just more teams.

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