MLS Western Conference Finals Preview


Photo via MLS

Arik Weizman, Staff Writer

The Portland Timbers (+100 favorites) face off against Real Salt Lake FC (+259 odds) in the Western Conference Final on December 4th. 

Real Salt Lake, the number 7 seed in the West, scraped a playoff win in penalty kicks after a 0-0 full time scoreline against the runner ups from the 2020 MLS Playoffs, Seattle Sounders to make it to the Conference Semifinal. The Salt Lake goalie, David Ochoa, faced 21 shots but only 3 were on target. Meanwhile, Salt Lake took 0 shots and had one corner to the Sounders’ 15. Freddy Montero, the Colombian striker for Seattle, was put at fault by the fans after squandering great chances. As a result, he was taken off to start the second half. They faced Sporting Kansas City in the Conference Semifinal where they dominated, and got a result that reflected their performance, a 2-1 win .

The Portland Timbers beat the Colorado Rapids 1-0 with a 90th minute winner from Larrys  Mabiala but in the dying minutes of the game, Dairon Asprilla drew a questionable red card after the Rapids’ Brian Galvan and Dairon got into a scuffle. Dairon was trying to waste time which Galvan would not let, so he started pushing him to take the ball. Dairon did the slightest touch to the Colorado midfielder’s head which caused Galvan to flop to the ground causing the referees to send Dairon off, which means if the Timbers don’t win on Saturday, Dairon will have played his last game of the season. The Timbers tried to appeal the decision, but the decision stood.

The Western Final will be held at Providence Park, Portland and the last time the two met there, the Timbers took a decisive 6-1 victory. However, with both teams playing at elite form, a close game is to be expected. The lineup for Portland is expected to look the same as it has been during their playoff run. Salt Lake, on the other hand, will have to change their attacking three, because, so far in the playoffs, their starting attackers have yet to score a goal, and relying on your substitutions and defense will not always work.