The Portland Timbers have had but one 2012 match date unveiled as of January 4. With limited information from several sources, here are the potential match-ups for each round of of the 2012 season. Or better yet, here are the clubs Portland can expect not to play each week.
Given the MLS stance on travel for 2012, and the league’s indication that more interconference matches will appear earlier in the schedule than intra-conference ties, it is appropriate that the first two confirmed matches we know for the Timbers are in the first ten weeks and are both against Eastern Conference opponents. Given the May 12 trip to Toronto, it is likely that the Timbers will play another Eastern Conference team in the week preceding or following, to perhaps minimize travel in and out of time zones. With Toronto playing DC United on either side of the Portland game, with the Union game already accounted for and knowing Chicago will not be an away opponent in 2012, it stands to reason that New England, New York, Montreal, Columbus, Sporting or Houston will be played away on either May 5 or May 19.
Additionally, it seems like the Timbers might open the season with a second straight home game or play a west coast club on March 18. Four clubs are making their home debuts that weekend: Montreal, Philadelphia, Sporting and Real Salt Lake. Obviously the Timbers will not be in Philadelphia, nor are they likely to play just five days later (May 17) which is when Sporting and Salt Lake host their games. Montreal is hosting Chicago on May 17. Knowing that the Timbers play Toronto in May, that is five Eastern Conference teams already accounted for. Neither New York, New England nor Columbus make their home debuts until March 24/25, making it likely that they could start the season with two Western Conference opponents. My guess is either Red Bull, the Revolution or the Crew for March 18 at Jeld-Wen Field.
Whether or not Houston plays a home game in a ground other than BBVA Compass Stadium is unknown to me. They are slated to open that facility May 12. So unless they are to go nine games away from home to start the season, a Dynamo home game will have to be held somewhere else in town.
After that, it seems statistically likely that Portland will play a Western Conference opponent on May 26, September 15 and October 27, given that each date already has at least four Eastern Conference teams otherwise occupied.
UPDATE – It should be noted that there are 35 weeks listed below. This comes from the Toronto FC schedule as leaked by Canadian Soccer News. Because Toronto do not play during the first weekend of the season, there it is evident that Portland will not play at least one of the games listed below. Mostly likely that means not having to play one of the mid-week games, though at this point, that is completely unclear.
2012 PORTLAND TIMBERS OPPONENTS – AS OF JANUARY 4, 2012:
March 12: v Philadelphia
March 18 NOT Seattle, Montreal, Chicago, Toronto, Philly
March 24: NOT Chicago, San Jose, Toronto Philly
March 31: NOT Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Toronto, Philly
April 7: NOT Montreal, Toronto, Philly
April 14: NOT Chivas, Toronto Philly
April 21: NOT Chicago, Toronto, Philly
April 28: NOT Salt Lake, Seattle, Chicago, Toronto, Philly
May 5: NOT DC, Toronto, Philly
May 12: @ Toronto FC
May 19: NOT DC, Toronto, Philly
May 26: NOT Columbus, Chicago, Toronto, Philly
June 16: NOT New York, Toronto, Philly
June 20: NOT Houston, Toronto, Philly
June 23: NOT New England, Toronto, Philly
June 27: NOT Montreal, Toronto, Philly
June 30: NOT New York, Toronto Philly
July 4: NOT Dallas, Toronto, Philly
July 7: NOT Chicago, LA, Toronto, Philly
July 14: NOT New England, Toronto, Philly
July 18: NOT Colorado, Toronto, Philly
July 21: NOT Chicago, Toronto, Philly
July 28: NOT Houston, Toronto, Philly
August 4: NOT Chicago, Toronto, Philly
August 8: NOT Vancouver, Toronto, Philly
August 11: NOT Columbus, Toronto Philly
August 18: NOT Sporting, Toronto, Philly
August 25: NOT Houston, Toronto, Philly
Sept. 1: NOT Sporting, Toronto, Philly
Sept. 15: NOT Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Philly
Sept. 22: NOT LA, Toronto, Philly
Sept. 29: NOT New York, Toronto, Philly
October 6: NOT DC, Toronto, Philly
October 20: NOT Montreal, Toronto, Philly
October 27: NOT Chicago, DC, Columbus, Toronto, Philly