The Portland Timbers started Sunday with a chance to make the playoffs with a win, loss or draw. However, with FC Dallas up 2-0 in 12 minutes versus Sporting KC, fans knew what the players didn’t. The Timbers needed a result.

Portland struck first with Larrys Mabiala scoring in the 29th minute, but 10 minutes later Chris Wondolowski scored the equalizer.

The Timbers and Earthquakes entered the break tied at 1-1.

In the second half, the Timbers played with the urgency of a team that knew if they won, they were headed back to the postseason.

To the surprise of no one, Mr. October, Dairon Asprilla, gave the Timbers the go-ahead goal in the 59th minute.

Each passing minute, you could feel the anxiety, but calmness from the players. Portland didn’t fall into the trap of “just don’t lose.” They stayed aggressive.

The Timbers earned a free kick 10-12 yards outside the 18, and Sebastián Blanco buried a beauty in the 75th to put Portland up 3-1.

Portland held on the final 15 minutes, plus three for stoppage time, and the Timbers make their return to the MLS Cup Playoffs.

With the results in the rest of the Western Conference, Portland (#6 seed) will travel to Real Salt Lake (#3 seed) in the opening round of the MLS Playoffs. The Timbers beat RSL both times they battled in MLS play 2019; 2-1 in Salt Lake and 1-0 in Portland.

The Timbers will play Real Salt Lake at 7 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 19.

Highlights:

Larrys Mabiala 29th minute, 1-0 Timbers

Chris Wondolowski 39th minute, 1-1

Dairon Asprilla 59th minute, 2-1 Timbers

Sebastián Blanco 75th minute, 3-1 Timbers

Final Call: Timbers win, 3-1

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