The Columbus Crew and Portland Timbers are similar in many ways this season but face slightly different outlooks when it comes to the standings in their respective conferences of Major League Soccer.
Both teams have identical 12-8-8 records for 44 points each. Both teams are 9-2-3 at home and 3-6-5 on the road. Columbus has a plus-1 goal differential (35-34), as does Portland (41-40).
However, as they head into Wednesday’s match at Portland’s Providence Park the Timbers are tied for fifth in the Western Conference, four points ahead of Vancouver for the final playoff spot.
Columbus is more comfortable in the Eastern Conference in fourth place, nine points above the playoff line.
The game will be the middle of a stretch of three in eight days for both teams. Coincidentally, they both played in Texas on Saturday with the Crew tying FC Dallas 0-0 and Portland losing 4-1 at Houston.
“You just try and get your bodies back as much as you can, do some video, and try and treat it just like another game,” Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen said. “It’s quick, it’s less rest, but we’re professionals and that’s what you have to do.”
Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala said that although each team will be dealing with tired legs, his side will have the advantage.
“When we play at home we play better than on the road,” he said. “We are going to count on the fact that we play at home. That we have our fan base, that is huge. Everybody knows when the Portland Timbers play at home it’s going to be a tough game for them.”
Both teams will rest some of their regulars with another match on Saturday: Columbus is home to play Colorado while the Timbers are at Minnesota.
—Field Level Media