Sunday, September 26, 2021

Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, MLS 29 Jul 2021

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Verdict: Over 1.5 first-half goals

Best Odds: 5/4

Bookmaker: Unibet

Two sides who find themselves really battling for some stability, LA Galaxy will welcome the Portland Timbers to California in the early hours of Saturday morning.

LA Galaxy

Starting with the hosts, while LA Galaxy might still find themselves leading the chase to land a Final Series spot in the Western Conference, The Whites are coming off the back of a woeful display. In a performance that many have billed as a season-worst display, Head Coach Greg Vanney saw his side get hit with a shock 4-0 drumming away at FC Dallas. Despite opening the 2021 campaign with a string of praise from across the MLS, they have recently shown the same issues that haunted them for large spells of last year. A side that is seeking a boost and failing to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Vancouver on July 18th, the former Toronto boss has seen his side pick up just a single point from their last three attempts. Enduring a worrying spell at the back and with just a single MLS win to their name over the past month, it should be noted LA have failed to record a single clean sheet since the end of May.

Team News

Still dealing with a pair of injury issues, the duo of Sega Coulibaly and striker Javier Hernandez will once again miss out in California this weekend.

Likewise, all still away on Gold Cup duties, the likes of Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos and Efrain Alvarez will not feature on Saturday.

Portland Timbers

As for the visitors, while Portland might have managed to find a real boost thanks to back-to-back victories against LAFC and Dallas earlier in the month, The Timbers came crashing back down to earth last time out. Slipping back outside the top-seven and now in an uphill battle to clinch another Final Series spot in the Western Conference, Head Coach Giovanni Savarese last saw his side get hit with a 2-1 defeat away at Minnesota United. Heavily outplayed on the road last weekend, fans around Providence Park will have a real headache over their side’s extended issues outside of Oregon. With just a single point on their travels from their last four attempts, it should also be noted that Portland have shipped over 1.5 goals in each of those four consecutive away contests. However, a side that is also seeking a boost this weekend, Saturday’s guests should take some solace from their rampant record against LA. Including a 3-0 win when the two sides last faced off in May, The Timbers have won each of their last three meetings against the hosts.

Team News

Eryk Williamson is away with the U.S. national team in the Gold Cup so the midfielder will not feature this weekend.

The Timbers are also once again likely to be without Andy Polo, Jeff Attinella, Ismaila Jome and Jaroslaw Niezgoda due to injury issues.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When the two sides faced off back on May 22nd, Portland picked up a thumping 3-0 win on home soil.
    • In fact, The Timbers have won each of their last three meetings against LA by an aggregate score of 11-8.
    • Each of the last eight straight meetings between Saturday’s opponents have seen over 2.5 goals by the final whistle.
    • Likewise, each of the last four meetings between LA and Portland have seen over 2.5 goals in the second-half alone.
    • The four last showdowns between this weekend’s opponents in California have finished with both teams finding the net.

    Conclusion

    On paper, we could have another lively affair on our hands in California. With LA putting in a season-worst display away at Dallas last weekend and completely blown away on the road, the Western Conference outsiders are a side showing a host of issues. Gaining a reputation for their issues at the back, chances could come thick and fast on Saturday. With Portland also in the midst of what has been a torrid defensive run outside of Oregon, it should be noted that the two sides do have a habit of producing fireworks. In a matchup that famously produces plenty of drama, don’t be surprised to see another classic encounter here.

    Verdict: Over 1.5 first-half goals

    Best Odds: 5/4

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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