PORTLAND, Ore. -- Next up, Real Salt Lake.
Fresh from their dominating victory over the Seattle Sounders Thursday night, the Portland Timbers will travel to Utah to play the first leg of the Western Conference final against Real Salt Lake Sunday at 6 p.m.
The Timbers, who won the semifinal series against the rival Sounders 5-3 on aggregate, will face Real Salt Lake in the first of the two-leg conference final on Sunday in Salt Lake City. The second leg of the away-and-home goal-aggregate playoff will be contested in Portland on Sunday Nov. 24 at 6 p.m., after a one-week pause for international soccer matches. PHOTOS: Timbers dispatch Sounders
RSL defeated the two-time defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0 Thursday night to win the series 2-1 on aggregate.
The Timbers were winless against RSL in the regular season, with two ties and two losses, including a 4-2 defeat in the Open Cup. But after dominating the Sounders, Timbers players expressed confidence and excitement about taking the next step.
"Now we're locked in," Timbers midfielder Will Johnson said. "We're in the zone."
“We want to go all the way. We want to win the MLS Cup,” said coach Caleb Porter after Thursday’s win. “We don’t want to celebrate just beating Seattle, it’s the semifinals. We’ll be happy, you cannot take that from the boys, but we don’t want to be too happy like it’s the end of the season.”
Thursday’s 3-2 victory over Seattle extended Portland's winning streak at Jeld-Wen Field to 16 games. The Timbers went 11-1-5 at home in the regular season with their lone loss on March 9 to Montreal. They had an MLS record 11 shutouts at home this season.
“We are three games away, and we have two teams in our way,” said coach Caleb Porter.
The Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City are facing off in the Eastern Conference championship. If Houston were to win the East, and the Timbers were to advance in the West, Portland would be the host team for a one-game MLS championship game on December 7.