Playoffs - 2020 - Round One - POR vs DAL

Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas | How to watch and stream

Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs  – Round One
Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas
Providence Park – Portland
November 22 – 10:00 PM ET

TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes, TSN 3/5, TVA Sports

STREAMING: ESPN App in US

The Portland Timbers are hoping for a second tournament celebration this season. After winning the MLS is Back Tournament, the Timbers have their sights set on MLS Cup and face an FC Dallas side looking to take the next step in a Round One Match at Providence Park Nov. 22.

The Timbers were the top team in the West heading into the penultimate week of the regular season. And after a 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids, Portland were minutes from back-to-back defeats to end the season before Jorge Villafana's late equalizer in a 1-1 draw against LAFC on Decision Day presented by AT&T. Led by Sebastian Blanco, the Timbers won the MLS is Back Tournament and clinched a Concacaf Champions League berth that goes with it. But Blanco, who was having an MVP-type season, suffered a season-ending ACL injury and Jaroslaw Niezgoda suffered the same fate earlier this month. But Gio Savarese's men march on, led by the ageless Diegos — Valeri and Chara — as well as Yimmi Chara and Jeremy Ebobisse. 

After a Round One loss last year, Luchi Gonzalez is hoping to get FC Dallas to take a next step this postseason. Adversity for FCD came in the form of transfers, with Reggie Cannon and Zdenek "Kobra" Ondrasek leaving for Europe and a season-ending injury to Paxton Pomykal. While consistency in attack has been an issue throughout the season, Bryan Reynolds has been a revelation, filling in for the departed Cannon at right back. In addition to leaning on players who have come up through the club's fertile academy, Andres Ricaurte has been a huge midseason acquisition and FC Dallas' postseason success is largely tied to his influence on a game.

This is the third time the Timbers and FC Dallas have met in the postseason. In the last matchup, Valeri struck for a brace for the 10-man Timbers in a 2-1 win in the Western Conference Knockout Round en route to an MLS Cup appearance in 2018.

Portland Timbers

The Timbers absorbed more than a few punches from LAFC on Decision Day, but only conceded a 5th-minute goal by Carlos Vela and secured a 1-1 draw at Banc of California Stadium thanks to a rare Jorge Villafana goal. The fullback's first MLS goal since Decision Day 2015, set up by a sublime Valeri back-post cross, flipped the script on LAFC, which leveled in stoppage time at Providence Park in their previous meeting. 

"There’s a huge belief in the guys that we’re very strong to overcome anything that is in front of us," Savarese said after the match. "Sometimes there’s going to be moments in which outside people can worry about some things, but I know that the players are always working to make sure that we become better in every area of the game."

Now, the Timbers head into the postseason with several players who have ample experience in big games, including Valeri, who said he relishes these opportunities. 

"For me, it's the best, it's the best part of the season. It's the most exciting,” Valeri said. “You are a couple steps away from another final, from another trophy and that's very exciting for every single one of us. We played the whole season just to be in these games, so it motivates you to keep training in the last push and then if you have some luck and you perform, you can have another trophy for this club again."

Another key cog is Diego Chara, who was named to the MLS Best XI presented by Home Depot for the first time. 

Project Starting XI
  • Updated team roster
  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Sebastian Blanco (M) - right ACL injury
    • OUT: Julio Cascante (D) - left ankle injury
    • OUT: Jaroslaw Niezgoda (F) - left ACL tear
    • QUESTIONABLE: Jeremy Ebobisse (F) - concussion
  • Suspended: Dairon Asprilla (M)
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty:  None

FC Dallas

FC Dallas entered Decision Day unbeaten in four matches and riding a three-match winning streak. A win would have secured a home playoff game, but instead FC Dallas fell to Minnesota United 3-0 and instead head to Providence Park in Round One. FCD were 1W-5L-3D on the road this season, with that lone win coming against Nashville SC in Week 23. 

Perhaps because of that record, or maybe its experience vs. youth. But Luchi Gonzalez believes firmly his team are heavy underdogs in this Round One matchup and he wouldn't want it any other way. 

"It seems like everybody's already made up their mind that Portland's going to win this game," Gonzalez told reporters on his Tuesday video call. "They're already looking at who they play next: Is it LAFC or Seattle, and what does that matchup look like, is it going to be the Cascadia Cup again. That's fine. If we're going to be overlooked or that big of an underdog, no problem. That's fine. Let's work the best we can to do something about those opinions. And I know the group is in that mindset, I don't have to say too much to them, they already know we're not the favorites in this. We're going to embrace that role because it is about the given night, the given day. 

"Portland know that in defeating us when we were a higher seed a few years ago here in our home stadium," he continued. "So, hey, this is what makes our sport exciting this time of year in the playoffs. I'm just proud of our players to reach this level and want to make sure I can support them the best we can to take the next step. I have yet to win a playoff game myself personally. This is probably the hardest game of our season, but nothing's impossible and we're going to keep believing and keep working and taking steps."

Project Starting XI
  • Updated team roster
  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Paxton Pomykal (M) - hip injury
  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty:  None

Series Matchup at Portland Timbers

  • Timbers: 6 wins, 16 goals
  • FC Dallas: 1 win, 10 goals
  • 3 draws

MLS Cup Playoffs

  • Timbers: 2 wins, 7 goals
  • FC Dallas: 0 wins, 4 goals
  • 1 draw

Officials

  • Referee: Ted Unkel
  • Assistant Referees: Jason White, Cory Richardson
  • 4th Official: Drew Fischer
  • VAR: Chris Penso
Series: