Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers are stuck in the Western Conference playoffs with two games to play in the regular season.
Just four points separate fourth-place Timbers from eighth-place Real Salt Lake as the season draws to a close. The Timbers have already secured their place thanks to LAFC and Vancouver’s 1-1 draw, but the positioning is still on its way.
Here’s what you need to know about the Western Conference match …
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When is kick off? Wednesday, November 3, 10:30 PM (ET)
Where is the match played? Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah
Which TV channel is it on? ESPN2
Los Angeles Galaxy v Real Salt Lake / Chris Gardner / GettyImages
Real Salt Lake is currently two points behind the LA Galaxy to rank seventh in the Western Conference table. A win on Wednesday night would bring the team back to the playoffs for the first time since 2019.
Former captain Kyle Beckerman will be recognized by the club before kick-off. The former RSL star retired after the 2020 MLS season after 14 years at Salt Lake, which included an MLS Cup victory in 2009. Beckerman is now head coach at Utah Valley University.
Minnesota United FC v Portland Timbers / Steve Dykes / GettyImages
The Portland Timbers are officially on their way to the playoffs for the fifth season in a row after the result of LAFC-Vancouver on Tuesday night. A win on Wednesday night would take the 4th seed for the Timbers, guaranteeing a home playoff game at Providence Park. The club cannot capture the top three in the Western world in Seattle, Kansas City or Colorado.
Marcelo Silva is hesitant ahead of Wednesday night’s match against Salt Lake. The defender has missed the last eight matches with an unknown injury.
Salt lake: Ochoa; Herrera, Glad, Holt, Chang; Luiz, Ruiz, Brody Rusnak; Rubin, Kreilach
Portland: Clark; Bonilla, Mabiala, Zuparic, Van Rankin; Paredes, Chara, Asprilla; Blanco, Chara, Mora
The Portland Timbers lead the all-time series between the two clubs by 11-8-7. At home, RSL has a 6-5-2 advantage in the series. The Timbers have won both previous games in 2021 and won 3-2 on August 7 and 6-1 on September 25, both games at Providence Park in Portland.
The Portland Timbers have been dominant against Real Salt Lake this season, and if they want to secure a home game in the playoffs, another similar effort is required. For RSL, getting back to the playoffs will require an all-out effort against one of the top teams in the conference, and a team that they have struggled a lot with this season. Winning on the road in a competitive match is easier said than done, but Timbers can do it here.
Prediction: Portland Timbers 2-1 Real Salt Lake