Sunday, August 1, 2021

Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Los Angeles FC

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions, MLS 20 Jul 2021

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Verdict: Away win

Best odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: Betfair

On Wednesday evening (early Thursday morning in Europe) at the Providence Park in Portland, Oregon, Portland Timbers will be welcoming Los Angeles FC in the MLS. The match will be the 13th of the season for the hosts, and 14th for the visitors.

Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers as we know them today were founded in 2009, though they bear the name of a club originally formed in 1975. They’ve been a part of the MLS since 2011, and they finished top of the Western Conference twice so far, in 2013 and 2017.  Last season they ended in third place.

At the moment, the team led by Giovanni Savarese occupy the seventh place in the conference with 16 points, five less than LA FC in fifth, two less than Minnesota in sixth (though they have a game in hand on both), and on the same tally as Real Salt Lake in sixth.

Their form cannot exactly be called sparkling, with three defeats, two wins and one draw in their last six matches. They were beaten away to Philadelphia by 3-0, then they won 2-1 at home against Sporting KC, drew 2-2 in Houston against Dynamo, lost at home to Minnesota by 0-1, got hammered 4-1 away to Austin, and eventually beat FC Dallas at home by 1-0, courtesy of an 84th-minute strike by Jeremy Ebobisse.

Team News

Savarese’s team has been severely hampered by injuries. Winger Andy Polo (tendon crack), striker Jaroslaw Niezgoda (ACL), midfielder Cristhian Paredes (thigh muscle strain), left-back Ismaila Jome (Achilles tendon rupture) and goalkeeper Jeff Atinella (thigh muscle rupture) are all unavailable for selection for this match, and most of them will remain out for a long time yet.

Los Angeles FC

Los Angeles, more commonly referred to as LA FC, were established in 2014 and joined the MLS as part on an expansion in 2018. They were crowned the MLS champions in 2019, their only title so far. In 2020, they finished seventh in the Western Conference.

As has been said, LA FC are currently fifth in the conference with 21 points from 13 matches. Colorado directly above have the same tally, and city rivals LA Galaxy in third have three more.

Unlike Portland, Bob Bradley’s team are on a fine run of results, having won four of their last six matches, drawn once and lost once. They started the run with a 1-1 draw at home against Houston Dynamo, followed by a 2-0 triumph at home over Dallas, a 2-1 defeat away to Sporting KC, a 0-1 win away to Real Salt Lake, and 0-2 win away to Austin. In the end, they beat Real Salt Lake again by 2-1, this time at home, with Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela scoring either side of Aaron Herrera’s strike for the visitors.

Team News

Bradly has all his players at his disposal but one; forward Kwadwo Opoku hasn’t played for a while now with a serious knee issue.

Vela and Rossi should lead the line again together.

Conclusion

It is a very important match for both sides, but LA FC will certainly look to take advantage of the home team’s poor form and injury problems to establish a firmer foothold for the places leading into the final series play-offs. If they enter the contest focused, they should come out of it victorious.

Verdict: Away win

Best odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: Betfair

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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