Timbers Secure Spot in 2021 MLS Cup with 2-0 Win over Real Salt Lake

December 4, 2021 – Major League Soccer (MLS) – Portland Timbers News Release

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers captured the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Championship, advancing to MLS Cup for the third time in club history with a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake in front of a sold-out crowd of 25,218 fans at Providence Park on Saturday afternoon. Portland will host MLS Cup on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Providence Park, squaring off against the winner of the Eastern Conference Championship between New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union.

Cup Bound

With the win, the Timbers advanced to their third MLS Cup (2015, 2018, 2021). It marks Portland’s second trip to MLS Cup in the last four seasons. It is the fourth time the club has advanced to the league final in the club’s history, including 1975. It will be the first time the Timbers have hosted MLS Cup after playing on the road in 2015 against Columbus Crew SC and Atlanta United FC in 2018. Notably, Portland is the 10th team in league history to reach MLS Cup at least three times.

Playoff Firsts

Mora and Moreno scored their first career MLS Cup playoff goals for Portland in the match. The goal was Moreno’s first of his MLS career. Marvin Loría and Moreno each earned their first MLS postseason starts. Dario Zuparic recorded his first assist in MLS Cup playoff action with the Timbers.

Timbers Postseason

In 22 all-time MLS playoff matches, the Timbers are 11-6-6 overall with a record of 5-2-4 at Providence Park. In 2021, Portland has outscored its opponents 6-1 in three playoff matches, including a margin of 5-1 at home. The Timbers have recorded shutouts in two of their three matches with back-to-back shutouts against Colorado (Nov. 25) and Real Salt Lake. Four different players have scored at least one goal for Portland in the 2021 postseason, including three goals from Sebastián Blanco, two goals from Larrys Mabiala and one goal each from Mora and Moreno. Goalkeeper Steve Clark has posted a save percentage of 91.7 percent during the 2021 playoffs, making 11 total saves.

Savarese File

Including his time as head coach of the New York Cosmos in the NASL, Giovanni Savarese has qualified for the league final six times in nine seasons. He has recorded 12 wins in his 19 playoff games as a professional manager and has made the league semifinals or further in seven of his nine seasons he has been a head coach. Since joining Portland in 2018, Savarese has posted a record of 6-3-2 in MLS postseason play.

Goal-Scoring Plays

POR – Felipe Mora, 5th minute: Mora played a quick back-heel pass to Yimmi Chara making a run down the right side of the box. Chara delivered a cross to the center of the box and Real Salt Lake’s Aaron Herrera attempted to clear the ball, but Mora continued his run and deflected Herrera’s clearance just inside the left post.

POR – Santiago Moreno (Dario Zuparic), 61st minute: Zuparic played a chipped pass to Moreno near midfield. Moreno dribbled forward before unleashing a strike from the distance that bounced off the left post and into the goal.


Portland will play host to MLS Cup at Providence Park for the first time in club history. Both of their previous trips to MLS Cup were road matches.

The Timbers advanced to a league final for the fourth time in their club history (1975, 2015, 2018, 2021). In all eras of the club, Portland has now played 52 playoff games with an all-time record of 22-22-8.

Portland won its third Western Conference Championship (2015, 2018, 2021) to advance to their third MLS Cup.

The Timbers are the 10th team to reach MLS Cup at least three times in league history.

Portland has earned a berth in MLS Cup twice in their last four seasons (2018, 2021) and three times in the last seven seasons.

In the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs, the Timbers have outscored their opponents 6-1, including by a margin of 5-1 at Providence Park.

Portland has recorded back-to-back shutouts in the postseason.

Dating back to the regular season, the Timbers have won six consecutive matches, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 14-2. During that span, Portland has four shutouts and has scored two or more goals in five of the six matches.

Santiago Moreno and Marvin Loría earned their first career starts in an MLS playoff game.

Moreno scored his first career goal with the Timbers in the match.

Moreno is the youngest player to score a goal for Portland in an MLS playoff game at 21 years and 228 days.

Felipe Mora scored his first career playoff goal for the Timbers.

Mora and Moreno are the 18th and 19th players to score MLS playoff goals for Portland.

Mora’s goal in the fifth minute was the second-fastest goal scored in Timbers MLS postseason history. It is the fastest goal scored in a home game for Portland in the MLS playoffs.

Diego Chara made his 20th appearance in the MLS postseason. Only Diego Chara and Diego Valeri (21 games) have appeared in 20 or more MLS playoff games for Portland.

Larrys Mabiala appeared in his 10th MLS playoff game with the Timbers. He is the 11th player to feature in 10 or more postseason matches for Portland.

Dario Zuparic registered his first career MLS postseason assist. He is the 19th player to record an assist in a playoff game for the Timbers.

Goalkeeper Steve Clark has posted a save percentage of 91.7 percent during the 2021 playoffs, making 11 total saves.

Portland posted a record of 4-0-0 against Real Salt Lake in regular season and playoff matches in 2021, outscoring RSL 14-4 in those games.

Next Game

The Timbers will play host to the winner of the Eastern Conference Championship match between New York City FC and Philadelphia in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Providence Park. Beginning at 12 noon (Pacific), the match will be broadcast on ABC and UniMás.

Portland Timbers (No. 4 Seed) vs. Real Salt Lake (No. 7 Seed) – Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Final

Dec. 4, 2021 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)

Goals by Half 1 2 F

Real Salt Lake 0 0 0

Portland Timbers 1 1 2

Scoring Summary:

POR: Mora, 5

POR: Moreno (Zuparic), 61

Misconduct Summary:

RSL: Herrera (caution), 58

POR: Moreno (caution), 61

RSL: Herrera (caution, ejection), 79

RSL: Ruiz (caution), 90+2


POR: GK Clark, D Van Rankin, D Mabiala, D Zuparic, D Bravo, M Paredes (Fochive, 90), M D. Chara ©, M Loría (Valeri, 80), M Y. Chara, M Moreno (Bodily, 90), F Mora (Niezgoda, 60)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Ivacic, D McGraw, D Bonilla, D Tuiloma, M Blanco

TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Moreno, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Y. Chara, Moreno, 2); FOULS: 11 (Bravo, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 3

RSL: GK Ochoa, D Brody, D Glad, D Herrera, D Silva, M Ruiz, M Kreilach, M Rusnak ©, M Besler (Menédez, 71), M Julio (Meram, 58), F Rubin (Wood, 58)

Substitutes Not Used: GK MacMath, D Morgan, D Toia, D Holt, M Chang, M Portillo

TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Kreilach, Ruiz, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Kreilach, 2); FOULS: 17 (Glad, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 4

Referee: Alan Kelly

Assistant Referees: Cameron Blanchard, Jeremy Hanson

Fourth Official: Joe Dickerson

VAR: Geoff Gamble

Attendance: 25,218

Weather: Rain, 49 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial

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