With only three weeks left in the MLS regular season, the pressure is cranking up for a few teams on either side of the red line.
One of several marquee matcheson Saturday features FC Dallas hosting the LA Galaxy. These teams are separated by five points, but the Colorado Rapids have games in hand on both sides, adding more incentive to already heated matchup.
Several of MLS' stars shined over the weekend, but it was an up-and-coming forward that sealed SBI MLS Player of the Week honors. Mauro Manotas bagged a hat-trick for the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, leading the way in a 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers.
The Portland Timbers kept their road losing streak alive, dropping a 3-1 result to the Houston Dynamo and losing vital ground in the playoff race.
The Dynamo broke the deadlock in 34th minute after a closely fought first half. A mis-placed pass from Alvas Powell across the back line was picked up by the home side deep in the Timbers' half and sent into the box from near the end line.
The Portland Timbers are looking to make a playoff push while the Dynamo are hoping to spoil their playoff hopes. The Dynamo's once growing injury report seems to be shrinking as they have more players back from injury.
The Portland Timbers can't afford to look back right now if they want to hold on to their current playoff spot. Instead, the side are facing forward toward tonight's opposition, the Houston Dynamo.
Match Preview: "Of course, the Timbers have yet to win on the road in 2016 and have lost their last four matches away from Providence Park (five if you count their CCL loss to Saprissa), so even in a match against the Dynamo, who have only won four times at home this season, there is a certain level of apprehension surrounding the match.
The Portland Timbers are in the Lone Star State and are set to take on the Houston Dynamo in today's match. With the Timbers looking to hold off the pack and finish above the red line in the race to playoffs, a result against Houston would go a long way toward securing a playoff berth for the side.
Coming off their second road win of the season the Dynamo will play the Timbers at BBVA this weekend. As the regular season is winding down Portland is in good position for postseason play but they'll need to keep it tight in their final four games to secure a playoff berth.
The Portland Timbers did not do themselves any favors in Saturday's 3-1 loss to FC Dallas, failing to bring home a road point for the 14th time this season and losing control of their playoff destiny. Of course, a road loss to the best team in the league comes as no surprise, and looking at the remainder of the Timbers' schedule, reaching the playoffs still looks like a very attainable goal.
The Portland Timbers continue this week's long, difficult road trip with today's CONCACAF Champions League match against Salvadoran side CD Dragon. The Timbers come into this one banged up and in need of a road result if they want to advance out of their group.
How Do the Timbers Advance?
With their loss to Saprissa two weeks ago, the Timbers find themselves needing a win over the Costa Rican champions if they want to make it to the CCL's elimination rounds next year.
The New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas are both teams in the thick of the MLS Supporters' Shield race, but they each have another task in focus this week: securing a place in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
The Red Bulls need just a draw against Salvadoran side Alianza on the road on Tuesday night to secure their place in the knockout rounds, and to extend an MLS-best 16-match unbeaten streak in all competitions.
At this point there really isn't a whole lot more of it to say than that. Regardless how impressive the Timbers' home form appears or how modest their opponent is, the Portland Timbers are terrible on the road.
And they were again on Saturday.
Here are three questions from the Timbers' loss in Houston:
The Old Salty Dog is hanging up his boots after the 2016 season, the Portland Timbers' club captain announced at Sunday's Stand Together Banquet.
In a fourteen year career in MLS, Jewsbury, 35, notched over 350 regular season and playoff appearances in the league, including 163 for the Timbers over the club's six seasons since joining Major League Soccer.
Defensive miscues and bad fouls sunk the Union against Portland.
1.) Ensuring domestic tranquility - The Portland Timbers had a Wednesday match against Saprissa in Costa Rica that was supposed to leave the club drained and softened up before the match against the Union. Caleb Porter rested a good portion of the Timbers starters against Saprissa, taking a 4-2 loss to make sure he had a rested lineup against the Philadelphia Union.
The Portland Timbers ground out a close first half against the Philadelphia Union before scoring a pair of quick goals off assists from Darren Mattocks in the second to earn a 2-1 win.
In a back and forth first half, both sides created chances and it was the Timbers who looked to have the better of the match but the Union who came closer to opening the scoring, nearly getting the better of the Timbers on two occasions early on.
The Portland Timbers are back in the Rose City and set to take on their final Eastern Conference opponents of the season, the Philadelphia Union. With the Timbers still just above the red line it is vital that thy keep all three points from this match.
Coming off a tough, mid-week trip to Costa Rica where the Timbers lost 4-2 to Deportivo Saprissa on Wednesday, Portland must bounce back quickly against a rested Union side.
The Portland Timbers are on the road for today's midweek match as they take on Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa in CONCACAF Champions League play. With their eyes set on the top of the group, a result here for the Timbers will go a long way toward that goal.
Coming into this match, the Timbers have not shown much of their hand as they manage a busy week, including last Saturday's 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake, tonight's match against Saprissa, and a league clash on Saturday against Eastern Conference visitors the Philadelphia Union.
The Portland Timbers are finding their form at just the right time, and have created some space in the MLS Western Conference standings as a result.
Fanendo Adi slotted home a shot off a deflected Darlington Nagbe blast, and Jake Gleeson made that goal stand up with a plethora of excellent saves to help the Timbers earn a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake at Providence Park on Saturday night.
This time of year any three points are three big points.
But Saturday night's three points were absolutely imperative. The Portland Timbers have been as hapless on the road in 2016 as they have been stellar at home. And with six games remaining coming into Saturday evening -- three home and three away -- the Timbers were in a position in which they needed to be close to perfect at Providence Park is they want to make the playoffs.
The Portland Timbers are back home and in need of a win if they want to continue their run to the playoffs, but standing between them and three points are the second place side in the Western Conference: Real Salt Lake.
"While the match ups on the wings are somewhat concerning for the Timbers, at the top of the formation, Fanendo Adi should be primed for a good match as RSL are missing both of their first choice center backs: Jamison Olave to suspension and Aaron Maund to a broken toe.
The Portland Timbers have returned home after last weekend's loss to the league leaders, FC Dallas, and are set to play host to another one of the top teams in the West as Real Salt Lake come to town. In two meetings this year the Timbers and RSL have tied twice, both ending 2-2, but shared points will not do for the Timbers this time as they need to set the pace in the run in to the playoffs.
A performance like this was coming. You could feel it, over the last couple months, but especially in the last few games. It really started in earnest with Jordan Morris' rampaging runs against the Portland Timbers, probably the first game of his professional career where he didn't factor into the scoring but still managed to make a significant impact.
The NASL announced that it will take no disciplinary action as a result of aninvestigation into allegations of a racial slur being used against Puerto Rico FC's Chris Nurse in an Aug. 28 match with FC Edmonton. In a statement Wednesday, the league said that "While the NASL in no way questions the validity of the claim, upon finishing its in-depth investigation, the league was not able to find conclusive evidence to corroborate the claim.
Chris and Jamie return to discuss the Portland Timbers' most recent 3-1 bellyflop on the road; hot take that athletes are, in fact, humans and should be regarded as such; look at The Oregonian's findings in its controversially-named series on Portland's standing as a soccer market in the United States; and recap the Portland Thorns' 5-1 romp over the Boston Breakers.