Lawrence Olum's Portland Timbers booked Handwalla Bwana's Seattle Sounders in Major League Soccer (MLS) Western Conference semifinal playoff after seeing off FC Dallas 2-1 in the wee hours of Thursday 1 November at the Toyota Stadium.
The Timbers - Sounders match-up, to be played over two legs, was decided after sixth-place Real Salt Lake's upset of third-place Los Angeles FC in a 3-2 win at the Banc of California Stadium also on Thursday.
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A pair of goals by Diego Valeri in the 23rd and 71st minutes saw ten-man Timbers stave off hosts FC Dallas in the knockout encounter. Powered by super fine goal tending by Jeff Attinella, Dallas were restricted to a consolation coming at the death via Matt Hedges.
The complexion of the game changed twice when an opening goal by the home team on 12 minutes by Reto Ziegler was adjudged to have been offside by VAR. And on 58 minutes Timbers were reduced to ten when Larry Mabiala impeded goal-bound Dominique Badji thereby earning an instant red card from centre referee Allan Kelly.
Cameo for Olum
With double figures Valeri was to exit the game with nine minutes to spare paving way for defender Olum - capped four times for Kenya - to nail his 23rd league appearance with Timbers this season.
Since Salt Lake finished sixth in the standings behind Timbers, they will face first-place Sporting Kansas City in their conference semifinal series as the former face second placed Sounders. Had Los Angeles won, the Timbers would have faced Kansas City.
Timbers will host the first leg of the semis on Monday 5 November at the Providence Park in Oregon. The reverse fixture will be four days later at the CenturyLink Field in Washington.