Austin vs Portland Timbers

A place in the Major League Soccer playoffs is at stake as Austin and Portland Timbers lock horns in the Western Conference playoff six-pointer at Q2 Stadium.

Austin’s effort to qualify for the MLS playoffs for the third year in a row is still alive and kicking despite starting this round two points adrift of 9th-placed Sporting Kansas City in the Western Conference table. With two games in hand, the ‘Oaks’ are masters of their destiny, but addressing an underwhelming four-game winless MLS form (D1, L3) is imperative for Josh Wolff’s side. If it’s any consolation, Austin fought back to hold New England Revolution to an away 2-2 draw last time out and arrest a three-match losing streak. The impending return to Q2 Stadium should inspire confidence in Wolff’s corner, considering 64% of Austin’s MLS points this season have come on home turf, where they’ve also won three of their last four league outings.

In the meantime, Portland Timbers find themselves in a similar situation, as they come into this round level on points with Austin, albeit playing one game more. But after back-to-back losses to Houston Dynamo and Vancouver Whitecaps via a combined score of 8-2, the visitors have got back on track, racking up a three-match unbeaten MLS streak in the build-up to this trip (W2, D1). That’s perhaps the only comforting fact for interim manager Miles Joseph as his men come into proceedings as the worst traveling side in the Western Conference, having won just one of their 14 away league games this term (D6, L7). Moreover, they’ve failed to score on five of their last eight MLS travels.

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