UPDATE (Oct.19): Dairon Asprilla continued his reputation for making big plays when it counts most by grabbing an equalizer for the Portland Timbers in their Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs match at Real Salt Lake on Saturday. Asprilla's goal off a corner kick pulled Portland level at 1-1 in the 47th minute.
ORIGINAL (Oct. 12): Reggie Jackson may be baseball's "Mr. October" for his clutch playoff performances, but there's a strong candidate for MLS's version of that mantle.
When Portland Timbers attacker Dairon Asprilla scored to help clinch his team's berth in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs on Decision Day presented by AT&T, it brought back the narrative that the Colombian saves his best for the crunch games of the MLS season.
Asprilla has often flattered to deceive in regular season play – this season, his fifth in MLS, he made 13 league appearances, spending much of the campaign playing for USL Championship outfit Portland Timbers 2 – and the speedy winger has never scored more than two goals in a regular season in MLS.
But he's brought the goods in the playoffs, scoring at least one goal in all three years he's featured in the postseason to date. Most recently, he scored a vital goal in a terrific Western Conference semifinal series against the Seattle Sounders in 2018, and made the gutsy call to hit the clinching penalty to send Portland through in that series.
And Asprilla is getting hot just in time for the postseason, when the Timbers will head to Utah to take on Real Salt Lake on Oct. 19 (10 pm ET | ESPNews) in Round One; Both of his goals this regular season came in the final two weeks.
For his part, Asprilla seems to not let the "Mr. October" moniker go to his head.
“It’s not really about it being October or November,” Asprilla said after the Decision Day win. “When you are given the opportunity, in any month of the year, you need to take advantage of it. Perhaps, I earned my chance now and I must make the most of it...I was given an opportunity today and I believe I showed I am capable of doing great things, so I will continue working.”