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Timbers Weekly Update: December 6, 2018

December 6, 2018 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Portland Timbers News Release

PORTLAND, Ore. - Making their second MLS Cup appearance in the last four seasons, the Portland Timbers take on Eastern Conference-champion Atlanta United FC in MLS Cup on Saturday, Dec. 8, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., at 5 p.m. (Pacific). The match will feature a national television broadcast on FOX and UniMás, with coverage beginning at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific).

MLS Cup history

With a 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City on Nov. 29, Portland won its second Western Conference Championship in four seasons to earn its second trip to MLS Cup during that span. The Timbers won the club's first-ever MLS Cup in 2015, defeating Columbus Crew SC 2-1 at MAPFRE Stadium on Dec. 6, 2015. Among the nine teams that have joined MLS since 2010, the Timbers have more MLS Cup appearances than the other eight teams combined.

Postseason success

Saturday's MLS Cup appearance marks the third time (1975, 2015, 2018) Portland has advanced to the league final in the club's history. With their win against Sporting Kansas City in the second leg of the Western Conference Championship, the Timbers improved to 8-4-5 all-time in MLS Cup Playoff matches.

Road playoff form

Saturday's match marks the second time Portland will play on the road for MLS Cup, with the club previously winning its first MLS Cup in 2015 on the road against Crew SC. The Timbers have posted the most road playoff wins (5) in MLS since 2013 and have the best road winning percentage (.667) in MLS history. Portland has scored two or more goals in eight of its nine road playoff games, posting a plus-three goal differential, which is the best road playoff goal differential in MLS history.

Dynamic duo

Sebastián Blanco and Diego Valeri have combined for seven goals during the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs for the Timbers. Blanco and Valeri are the only set of teammates to each have scored three or more goals this postseason. They are the first pair of teammates to have scored three or more playoff goals each for a Western Conference team since Mike Magee and Robbie Keane in 2012. With his goal against Sporting Kansas City, Blanco has scored three goals in his last four matches and is the only player to score in three different MLS Cup Playoff games in 2018. Valeri currently leads all goal-scorers in the playoffs, and his four goals are the most scored by a Western Conference player in a single postseason since 2012 (Robbie Keane).

Savarese finds success

Dating back to when he was head coach of the New York Cosmos in the NASL, Giovanni Savarese has qualified for the league final five times in six seasons. He has recorded nine wins in his 13 playoff games as a professional manager and has made the league semifinals or further in all six seasons he has been a head coach. In his first MLS season, Savarese recorded 15 wins, which is tied for the third-most wins by a first-year head coach. Notably, Savarese is just the second head coach in the last 14 seasons to advance to MLS Cup in his first year in MLS.

Scouting Atlanta United FC

Saturday's match marks the third MLS meeting all-time, including playoffs, between the Timbers and Atlanta. It is the second time these two teams have squared off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with Portland earning a point on the road in a 1-1 draw on June 24, 2018. Atlanta finished second in the Eastern Conference, tallying a league-best 70 goals in its second MLS season led by MLS MVP Josef Martinez, who tallied an MLS record 31 goals during the 2018 regular season.

TEAM NEWS

Join the Timbers official viewing party Saturday at McMenamins Bagdad Theater

Fans are invited to attend the club's official viewing party at McMenamins Bagdad Theater (3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97214) to watch the Timbers square off against Atlanta United FC in MLS Cup; doors open at 3 p.m. (Pacific). Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. (Pacific) and the event is open to fans of all ages. There, fans can watch the match with other Timbers supporters and Timber Joey and enter to win prizes, including a pair of vouchers to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies, a pair of Danner Boots and prizes from Sunset Porsche and Audi.

McMenamins will also be showing the match at Kennedy School, St. John's and Edgefield with doors opening at 4 p.m. (Pacific).

There are more than 20 official Timbers pub partners across the greater-Portland area that will all being showing the match. Click here for a full list of Timbers Pub Partners.

TEAM MEDIA SOURCES

Television: "Timbers in 30"

Throughout the season, "Timbers in 30," hosted by Jake Zivin and Ross Smith, will offer inside access to the club and provide analysis with in-studio appearances from Timbers coaches and players. Previously aired shows and "Timbers in 30" features can be found at www.timbers.com. This week, "Timbers in 30" airs on Friday at 6:30 p.m. (Pacific) on FOX 12 Oregon with Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella in studio.

Radio: "Talk Timbers"

The Timbers' weekly radio talk show, "Talk Timbers," airs every Wednesday evening beginning at 6 p.m. (Pacific) on flagship station 750 The Game. "Talk Timbers" provides team and league news as well as interviews with Timbers coaches and players during the season, and also features regular updates on T2 and Portland Thorns FC. Timbers goalkeeping coach Guillermo "Memo" Valencia and midfielder Sebastián Blanco joined this week's show. Fans can submit questions, provide comments or simply follow the conversation on the show on Twitter with the hashtag #TalkTimbers.

Fans can tune in to the show live on 750 The Game or listen online at www.750thegame.com. Available podcasts can be downloaded at www.timbers.com/news/timbers-podcast-network.


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