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Timbers Advance to Championship Game

Play for MLS Cup Sunday in Ohio

12/1/2015, 4:34 p.m.
The Portland Timbers are Western Division champions of Major League Soccer and will play for the MLS Cup in a ...
The Portland Timbers celebrate winning the Western Conference championship against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The win puts Portland in the title match for the MLS Cup championship on Sunday against Columbus Crew SC in Columbus, Ohio.

The Portland Timbers are Western Division champions of Major League Soccer and will play for the MLS Cup in a league championship game Sunday against the Columbus Crew Soccer Club in Columbus, Ohio.

The match will begin at 1 p.m. (PST) and broadcast on ESPN. Both teams finished with the same record (15-11-8) over 34 games. Columbus is playing in their second MLS Cup final, having claimed the 2008 title with a 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls in Carson, Calif.

Portland, in their fifth year as an MLS club, is playing in their first MLS Cup final; they played in the former North American Soccer League for a championship in the club’s original inaugural season in 1975, but lost the title match. The Timbers were also Western Conference Champions in 2013.

This will be the second MLS Cup championship game hosted in Columbus; San Jose beat the LA Galaxy 2-1 in the 2001 final. Early forecasts for Sunday's weather call for mostly sunny skies and a high of 51 degrees.

When the Portland Timbers joined MLS five years ago, they were celebrated as a club that seemingly had everything: a rich history in the origins of professional soccer in North America, a rabid fan base and an unparalleled atmosphere in their cozy downtown stadium.

What lacked over the course of their first half-decade in the league was a major trophy to add. That changed Sunday night at Toyota Stadium, with Portland pulling out a thrilling 2-2 draw to win the Western Conference Championship 5-3 on aggregate goals over two legs.

“When we started the year, we wanted to get into the playoffs and win a trophy,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said in his postgame comments outside a champagne and beer-drenched locker room. “That was the goal, and here we are. We’ve won one, and now we want to win the big one. So it’s very satisfying.”