Western Conference Championship, Leg 1: Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas
Sunday, Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1, FOX Deportes, TSN2)
FC Dallas endured one of the most thrilling matches in MLS Cup Playoffs history to advance to the Western Conference Championship. Now, after outlasting a star-studded Seattle Sounders FC, FCD is rewarded with a trip to Providence Park, where they’ll go toe-to-toe with a surging Portland Timbers side in front a thunderous Timbers Army. Despite the gravity of the task ahead, Oscar Pareja won’t stray from the formula that has it within arm’s reach of its first ever MLS Cup: play the kids (Watch: A Coach with 30 sons).
However, FC Dallas’ electric attack will meet its match when it enters the attacking third, where grizzled MLS veteran Nat Borchers and English Premier League trouper Liam Ridgewell await (Watch: The art of defending the Timbers Army). Flanked by fullbacks Alvas Powell and inaugural MLS Sueño winner Jorge Villafaña, and blanketed by Adam Kwarasey between the pipes, Borchers and Ridgewell have elevated the Timbers’ backline into one of MLS’ stingiest. Up top, the Timbers are supported by goal poacher Fanendo Adi and a South American contingent of Diego Valeri, Diego Chara, Dairon Asprilla, and summer signing Lucas Melano. And, of course, Darlington Nagbe, who earned his first national team cap in the U.S. National Team’s 6-1 thrashing of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday.