The Portland Timbers will face off against the FC Dallas in the first leg of the Audi 2015 MLS Western Conference Championship on Sunday night (7:30 pm ET; FS1 in US/TSN5 in Canada) at the Providence Park, Portland, Oregon.
Pundits are expecting an exciting game between the FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers just like the Columbus-New York series in the Eastern Conference.
FC Dallas is a classic come-from behind story providing some of the most thrilling matches in MLS Cup Playoffs history after surviving a star-filled Seattle Sounders FC to advance in the Western Conference Finals. On Sunday, the FC Dallas will again have to draw from their inner strength as they take on host Portland at Providence Park expecting to be unwelcome from the thousands of thunderous Timbers Army.
FC Dallas' electric attack will meet its match when it enters the attacking third, where grizzled MLS veteran Nat Borchers and English Premier League trouper Liam Ridgewell await. Flanked by fullbacks Alvas Powell and inaugural MLS Sueño winner Jorge Villafaña, and blanketed by Adam Kwarasey between the pipes, Borchers and Ridgewell have elevated the Timbers' backline into one of MLS' stingiest. Up top, the Timbers are supported by goal poacher Fanendo Adi and a South American contingent of Diego Valeri, Diego Chara, Dairon Asprilla, and summer signing Lucas Melano. And, of course, Darlington Nagbe, who earned his first national team cap in the US national team's 6-1 thrashing of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday.
Over in Portland, the big story around the midfield group has been the team's switch from a 4-2-3-1 formation with two defensive midfielders to a 4-3-3 formation that fields Diego Valeri, plus USMNT debutant Darlington Nagbe in a new position, as attack-minded central midfielders in front of Diego Chara. This has put captain Will Johnson, who is recovering from injury, on ice, but after featuring heavily for Canada in their positive start to World Cup qualifying, Johnson will be a potent threat off the bench.
Dallas' speed on the flanks and may give them the edge in another promising matchup of two technically gifted midfield groups, but it may just come down to which Argentine playmaker - Valeri or Diaz - can provide that extra touch of brilliance.
How to Watch Online Conference Finals, Radio Stations
To watch Game 1 of the Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas MLS Western Conference Final showdown live online, go to the official WatchESPN website and log in with credentials from any major cable or satellite provider to access live, streaming video of the crucial MLS matchup.
Because the match is televised on ESPN, WatchESPN - or the WatchESPN app for mobile devices - is the only way to watch the game live online. Subscribers who paid the $74 fee for the MLS Live streaming service will find the game blacked out online. You can also watch free live streaming at Cric Free or via LiveSoccer TV.
There is one other available method to watch Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas online for free, without login info from a cable or satellite TV provider. The Sling TV Internet package includes ESPN and is available with a one-week free trial.