PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A year ago at this time, the Portland Timbers had held their season-ending banquet, passed out their individual awards and gone home, disappointed with an eighth-place finish in Major League Soccer's Western Conference.
Now they're eyeing the conference finals.
The Timbers finished the regular season ranked atop the conference standings and hold a 2-1 advantage going into Thursday's second leg of their two-game goal-aggregate conference semifinal against the rival Seattle Sounders.
The Timbers get the second leg at home — a place where they've been tremendously successful this season with an MLS-record 11 shutouts. Portland has an 11-1-5 home record and a 15-match unbeaten streak at Jeld-Wen Field. The team's lone loss came on March 9 to Montreal.