For the first time in MLS history, there will be soccer on Thanksgiving Day as Western Conference top seed Colorado Rapids play host to Portland Timbers.
The Timbers advanced to the second round with a 3-1 home win over Minnesota United, while the Rapids had a first-round bye and have not played since November 7th.
Here’s what you need to know about the second round playoff fixture in the Western Conference…
When is kick off? Thursday, November 25th, 4:30 p.m. (ET)
Where is the match being played? Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado
What TV channel is it on? Fox, Fox Deportes
What streaming is it on? Fox Sports App
Following a late-season skid from Seattle Sounders and Sporting KC, the Rapids captured the top seed in the Western Conference on Decision Day with a 5-2 win over LAFC. The team enters with no new injuries reported.
Now ready to take the pitch for the first time in nearly three weeks, the Rapids are excited to make league history by playing in the first-ever MLS Thanksgiving Day match in the team’s opening playoff match.
“We’re incredibly excited about the fact that we’re going to be in this on national TV,” Rapids general manager Pádraig Smith said. “One of the exciting things for us is to have the first-ever game on Thanksgiving and to be able to do that in front of a packed house at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park with our supporters.”
The Timbers secured a spot in the semifinals on Sunday after a stunning 3-1 victory against Minnesota United. Sebastián Blanco scored twice in the team’s opening round playoff match, helping his club advance to the second round.
Now faced with the conference’s top team in their next playoff matchup, the Timbers are confident that they can keep the momentum going.
The team reports no new injuries against the Rapids and should have a similar line up to the one used against MNUFC.
“We know it’s gonna be a tough game, it’s gonna be a tough match. Colorado’s done very well this season, they have a very good team,” head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “They have good selections and players, and the entire staff has done a phenomenal job to be able to have a good season. We expect them to be very good, but we also are preparing very well to make sure we are competitive.”
Colorado: Yarbrough; Trusty, Abubakar, Wilson, Estebes, Acotsa; Price, Beitashour, Rubio; Kaye, Badji
Portland: Clark; Bravo, Zuparic, Mabiala, Van Rankin; D. Chara, Paredes, Asprilla; Blanco, Y. Chara, Mora
Portland Timbers have a slight advantage over the Rapids in the all-time series, with a 10-9-6 lead in the head to head matchup. Colorado won the most recent meeting between the two teams, 2-0 at home on October 23rd. The teams tied 2-2 in Portland on September 15th.
The Rapids caught fire to end the regular season, and with Thursday’s contest set to be the team’s first game in 18 days, they should be well-rested and ready to take home a playoff victory. While Portland also started to heat up as of late, including a big win on Sunday, Colorado’s consistency all year long in addition to the home field advantage at a mile high in Denver plays in favor of the Rapids.
Prediction: Colorado Rapids 2-1 Portland Timbers