Monday, June 17, 2024

St. Louis City v Portland Timbers: Carnell excited by attacking development

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Jun 2024

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Bradley Carnell is taking last week’s 3-3 draw with Inter Miami as a sign of St. Louis City making huge strides in attack, as they prepare to host the Portland Timbers on Saturday.

St. Louis sit 11th in the Western Conference, three points behind the improving Timbers, after playing out a thrilling draw with Lionel Messi and company.

That result ended a three-match losing run for Carnell’s team, and he hopes it will represent something of a turning point in their season.

“When you score three goals and create the amount of chances we did, I saw a lot of good things against a counter-pressing Miami team with a full roster,” Carnell said.

“To go away from home and score three goals, it gives me a lot of hope. We’ve been working hard on exploiting space in transition as that’s our bread and butter.

“We’re excited about the development of some of the guys, we’re happy for the success they’re now getting. That gives me hope for the games coming up.”

The Timbers, meanwhile, have taken seven points from their last three games to move into a playoff position, drawing 2-2 with the Houston Dynamo following wins over Sporting Kansas City (2-1) and Austin FC (2-0).

Boss Phil Neville said: “We’re looking forward to the game, it’s always tough to go to St. Louis. They’re a high-pressing team that don’t give you a moment on the ball.

“The players have trained well all week, coming off the back of a really good week. We put in a massive effort.

“We’re focused for tomorrow. It’s going to be a good game and we’re really looking forward to it.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

St. Louis City – Indiana Vassilev

Vassilev scored just his second goal of the year against Miami last time out.

Only Celio Pompeu (34) and Joao Klauss (21) have topped his 20 key passes this term among St. Louis team-mates, so he could hold the key to opening up the Timbers.

Portland Timbers – Evander

Evander assisted two of the Timbers’ goals last time out, taking his total to seven assists this season, along with seven goals.

No Portland player had ever reached seven goals and seven assists in fewer than 18 appearances at the start of an MLS season before this year (Diego Valeri doing so in both 2017 and 2018).

MATCH PREDICTION – ST. LOUIS CITY WIN

St. Louis and Portland both recorded 2-1 away wins over one another last season, with both games being played before the end of April. Three of the six goals in those matches were scored in the 75th minute or later.

St. Louis’ 3-3 draw with Miami last week was their 15th regular-season game with at least three goals scored, two more than any other team since they joined MLS last year.

Coming up against a leaky Portland defence, which has shipped 32 goals in just 17 matches this term, Carnell’s men could get some joy.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

St. Louis City – 43.5%

Portland Timbers – 29.7%

Draw – 26.8%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

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