PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers will face off against Real Salt Lake in the West final of the Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup Playoffs on Saturday at Providence Park. Tickets for Saturday’s match go on sale Tuesday at 10 a.m. Purchase tickets here.
MLS Cup Playoffs, West final: (4) Portland Timbers vs. (7) Real Salt Lake
- Where: at Providence Park, Portland
- When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
- TV: FS1 (English) and Fox Deportes (Spanish)
- Radio: 750 AM (English) and 1150 AM/93.5 FM (Spanish)
The fourth-seeded Timbers (17-13-4) beat the top-seeded Colorado Rapids 1-0 on Thursday to reach the final. Real Salt Lake (14-14-6), the seventh seed, earned its spot in the final by upsetting Sporting KC 2-1 on Sunday.
On Monday, Timbers head coach Gio Saverese said he was prepared to go on the road if the higher-seeded Kansas City won, but he's happy that the team gets to play the conference final in front of its fans.
"We're excited to play with our fans, in our place, in our stadium," he said. "But to be honest with you, if we had to go to Kansas City, I was prepared to go there. ... Either way, for us we're focused on whoever was going to be the team. Now that we know it's Real Salt Lake, now we're preparing, now we're getting ready."
Portland will be without two starters for the West final. Star midfielder Sebastian Blanco left the second half of Thursday’s win against the Rapids with an apparent hamstring injury. Saverese said Monday that Blanco won't play Saturday, but he hopes that his star playmaker will recover in time to suit up for the MLS Cup if the Timbers advance.
"Seba is an unbelievable player in regards to the way he recovers, so we're hopeful, that maybe somehow, at some point, we can have him," he said. "We don't know yet. It's a big mountain that we have to pass in order for that to happen, but for this match, he will not be available."
Starting forward Dairon Asprilla also won't play Saturday after receiving a red card late in Thursday's match. Saverese said the Timbers appealed the red card but lost.
"We were a little hopeful that we could have gotten that overturned because we had, I think, good reasons to think so, but the reality is that it didn't happen. So we focus on what we have in front of us, and be ready to play," Saverese said.
Portland won all three matches against Real Salt Lake during the regular season, outscoring Salt Lake 12-4 in the three matches, including a 6-1 win on Sept. 25 that matched Portland’s largest margin of victory this season.
If Portland beats Salt Lake, the Timbers will advance to the MLS Cup against the winner of the East final between the Philadelphia Union and New England Revolution/New York City FC.
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