Photo: Liam Ridgewell celebrates playoff berth with Portland Timbers

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The former Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion defender saw his side seal the Western Conference's third seed in the MLS Cup playoffs with a 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids.

Liam Ridgewell had good reason to celebrate on Sunday night after skippering the Portland Timbers to a 4-1 home win over the Colorado Rapids and an MLS Cup playoff berth in the process.

The former Aston Villa and Birmingham City defender originally joined the Timbers in July 2014 after being released by West Bromwich Albion but his first attempt to get them into the post-season fell short, as Caleb Porter’s side missed out on the Western Conference’s sixth seed to the Vancouver Whitecaps last term by one solitary point.

It looked like his first full campaign in the States might end in disappointment earlier this month, too, as the club sat outside the playoff picture, needing seven points from their last three regular-season games to sneak into the West’s top six places.

They surpassed that target in the end, though, winning all three matches – including a sensational 5-2 victory at the LA Galaxy last week – to claim the No. 3 spot and set up a home clash with Sporting Kansas City in the Knockout Round on Thursday.

“It’s really clicked in the last month or so,” Ridgewell told the club’s official website after the win over the Rapids. “We’ve really figured it, defending and attacking, and it’s been a good welcome to see the goals flying in.

“I think we’ve picked just the right time going into the playoffs. Hopefully we can take this form forward and show what we’re really about.”

Ridgewell himself has certainly been key to the Timbers’ success in 2015, having started all but two of their 34 regular-season games, while building a fantastic rapport with offseason signing Nat Borchers at the heart of the defence.

The 31-year-old Englishman has even been captained the team for much of the campaign with usual skipper Will Johnson struggling with injuries, but whether he will be lifting their first-ever MLS Cup come December remains to be seen.

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