Major League Soccer's 2015 campaign has entered the cavalry charge, and the Timbers Army has got to think that their horse has a good chance to win the race by more than a nose.
Can a no-extra-motivation-needed FC Dallas squad force a photo finish?
FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers
5:00 p.m. ET, Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas
ON AGGREGATE: Portland leads 3-1. Nat Borchers's beard had a hat trick or something.
VEGAS SAYS: On the moneyline, Dallas -125, Portland +305, draw +275.
WHY DALLAS WINS: They've got nothing to lose. Oscar Pareja's team can go for broke with all those young legs, and Dallas did win a league-best thirteen home games in the regular season. Just a win won't be enough, though. There be a mighty deficit.
WHY PORTLAND WINS: They've got their mojo working, plain and simple. The Timbers have won five of six away from Providence Park, and are on their best goal-scoring tear of the season. Nobody is playing with more confidence, and they'll get the lethal talents of Diego Valeri back after last week's yellow card suspension. Survey says Portland, no Steve Harvey required.
PHUN PHACT : FC Dallas wide man Je-Vaughn Watson boasts a tremendous story, and Charlie Boehm writes that gaffer Oscar Pareja sees a bit of himself in the 32-year-old Jamaican.
HRB'S PREDICTION: Cowpokes 2, Trees 2. Mauro Diaz opens the scoring. Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri will each notch one for the Timbers. Ryan Hollingshead will add a late garbage goal for the home team. Portland wins the Western Conference and advances to the MLS Cup Finals on aggregate, 5-3.
ABOUT LAST WEEK...