Major League Soccer

Portland Timbers reach Conference semifinals after 3-1 triumph over Minnesota United

Lizzy Becherano
Portland Timbers secure their spot in the conference semifinals against the Colorado Rapids
Portland Timbers secure their spot in the conference semifinals against the Colorado Rapids / Michael Janosz/ISI Photos/GettyImages
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The Portland Timbers qualified for the Western Conference Semifinals after overcoming an early concession to defeat Minnesota United 3-1 at providence Park on Sunday night. The victory secured the Timbers a Thanksgiving day matchup against the Colorado Rapids

Minnesota striker Franco Fragapane opened up the scoring in the 11th minute, setting up the pace for the rest of the match. The team’s momentum didn't last long, inspiring the Timbers to pounce on the attack. 

Larrys Mabiala pulled one back for Portland, equalizing the match at the 43 minute mark. The center back skyrocketed to reach a Claudio Bravo short corner kick and launched his header past Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair to find the back of the net. 

The Timbers didn’t let halftime stop their rhythm, inspiring Sebastian Blanco to bag the go-ahead goal shortly after kick off. The Argentine player found a loose ball and positioned himself to strike the unstoppable shot inside the far post.

Blanco then secured the lead with a second goal, the team’s third, in the 66th minute, pulling up to drive the ball past a diving St. Clair. 

Things heated up before the final whistle with a testy exchange following a hard foul by Fragapane on the Timbers’ Diego Chara. Mabiala came to Chara’s defense, setting off players on both sides to resort to pushing and shoving. Eight yellow cards were handed out throughout the match, with six going to Minnesota. 

The Timbers concluded the match outshooting their opponent 17 to eight. While Minnesota concluded the 2021 campaign one spot lower than their playoff opponent, they simply could not match up. 

Portland finished the 2021 regular season in fourth on the Western Conference table with 55 points and a record of 17-4-13. They advance to the next round against conference leaders Colorado Rapids, who concluded 2021 with 61 points and a record of 17-10-7.

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