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Portland Timbers

Soccer is called the ballet of the masses. On Saturday, the Portland expansion Timbers will dance onto the pitch for the side’s first Major League Soccer match. The Timbers open their season on the road against the Colorado Rapids, the defending MLS Cup champs. Portland will get their first chance to see the club play in person on March 29, when the Timbers are scheduled to play host to Chivas USA at University of Portland’s Merlo Field in a U.S. Open Cup play-in game. The MLS home opener at the newly named Jeld-Wen Field will be at 8 p.m., April 14 against the Chicago Fire. After finishing the preseason with a 2-0-6 record, the Timbers are looking at 34 regular-season league matches, facing each side in home and away. Portland is in the Western Conference with Vancouver, Seattle, San Jose, Chivas USA, the Los Angeles Galaxy, Colorado, Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas. The MLS regular season ends Oct. 23, with playoffs starting Oct. 27. As a young team new to the MLS, the Timbers could face a rocky road this season. But coach John Spencer believes they are ready to contend. “Anything that’s worth having doesn’t come easy,” Spencer says, “and it’s not going to be easy to win games this year, at home or on the road. “Teams are going to come prepared and fit and ready to fight us. We need to make sure we match them for 90 minutes with an aggressive attitude.” — Stephen Alexander