Portland Timbers and Columbus Crew Hop on the Bus to MLS Cup Glory

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I don’t want to call you foolish if you haven’t been following MLS playoff action, but I will say that I think you’ve made a pretty terrible decision. These playoffs have been spectacular since day one.

Even if you’re just now hopping on the MLS Cup bus, you’re in luck – last night’s second-leg thrillers set up a killer championship matchup between the Columbus Crew and the Portland Timbers, set for December 6 at 4 p.m. EST at MAPFRE Stadium.

The Timbers were the first to get the job done last night with a 2-2 draw away to FC Dallas, giving them a 5-3 win on aggregate. Portland’s Fanendo Adi got the scoring underway in the early going of the second half before Mauro Díaz found Ryan Hollingshead in the 68th to tie things up at one apiece. No more than a couple minutes later, Panamanian striker Blas Pérez gave the home side a 2-1 advantage:

“YES! We have a series!” thought each and every member of the Inferno, Dallas’ most loyal and well-known hinchada. Little did they know, 22-year-old Argentine Lucas Melano was out to ruin their hopes and dreams in the most devastating way possible.


The Crew were up next. Despite suffering (perhaps more accurately described as relishing) a 1-0 defeat at Red Bull Arena, the boys from Columbus won 2-1 on aggregate, successfully pulling off a stellar upset against the Supporters’ Shield winners to reach their second-ever MLS Cup final.

Just when it seemed like things were settled, New York Red Bull’s Anatole Abang scored on a header in injury time. Now that I think about it, we shouldn’t have expected anything less, given the way that these playoffs have been going. A few seconds later, Bradley Wright-Phillips’ header trickled towards the goal line for what seemed like an eternity and bounced off the post before being cleared out of bounds by Kei Kamara. Wow.

Columbus currently holds a three-game win streak at home. But to add a little fuel to the fire, it was Portland that last defeated the Crew at MAPFRE 2-1 on September 26. The Timbers are vying for a first-ever championship title, while the Crew are looking for a second after winning the Cup in 2008 against NYRB. Bring it.