LA Galaxy goes in search of their first win in four matches when they host Portland Timbers at Dignity Health Sports Park. The visitors are also looking to bounce back after tasting defeat last time out.
The hosts will be looking to exact some revenge on their opponents, having lost each of the last three renewals of this fixture, including each of the last two at this venue. The last time the pair faced off, fans were treated to something of a classic MLS encounter, as no fewer than nine goals were scored, six of which went the way of Friday’s visitors. Both teams will be without a couple of important players on Friday thanks to international commitments.
LA Galaxy – Californians are floundering
As things stand, the Galaxy’s are in a pleasing position. They sit third in the Western Conference, and they have a game in hand on leaders Seattle Sounders. However, they approach this fixture in poor form having failed to win any of their last three, two of which they’ve lost. Additionally, Friday’s hosts have now just one of their last five. Things have been better at home, where they’ve won five out of seven, beating FC Dallas by three goals to one when last in action at this venue. Such a victory should mean that the hosts come into this game with a reasonable level of confidence. They will also be uplifted by the visitor’s lack of success away from home.
Expected Line-Up: J. Bond – J Villafana, D. Williams, D. Steres, J. Araujo – R. Raveloson, A. Saldana, S. Kljestan – K. Cabral, V. Vázquez, S. Grandsir
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Portland Timbers – Away-day woes for Timbers
Portland also lost last time out, coming off second best away at Minnesota, and it’s been their away form this season that has held them back. Friday’s visitors arrive here having won none of their last four traveling fixtures, while they’ve returned home victorious from just one road trip this season. Going forward, it hasn’t exactly been superb from Portland on their travels, but they have at least scored an average of a goal per game. However, an average of one goal for per game is nowhere near enough if you’re conceding at the rate the Timbers are. Giovanni Savarese’s men have conceded no fewer than 16 goals on the road. If they’re to improve, then they must tighten up at the back, though there have been few signs that suggest that improvement in that respect is forthcoming.
Expected Line-Up: A. Ivacic – J. Van Rankin, D. Zuparic, L. Mabiala, P. Bonilla – D. Asprilla, D. Chará, C. Parees, M. Loria – Y. Chará, F. Mora
Expert Pick #1 – LA Galaxy to Win @+110
The Los Angeles Galaxy doesn’t exactly come here in hot form, but what they’ve produced at home is hard to get away from. With five wins out of seven in front of their own fans, Greg Vanney’s men have the third-best home record in the west, averaging 2.14 points. In stark contrast, Portland has lost five out of seven on their travels, picking up an average of just 0.57 points per away game. The visitors also have the third-worst defensive record in the west, with a truly terrible goal difference of -9. LA Galaxy’s goal difference on home soil is a respectable +4.
Expert Pick #2 – LA Galaxy to Score Over 1.5 Goals @-123
This is an excellent opportunity for the hosts to not only win but notch a few goals in the process. Not only have they often thrived offensively at home, scoring an average of 1.71 goals, but the visitors have struggled at the back when playing away from the comforts of their own stadium, conceding no fewer than 16 goals in seven road matches, surrendering two or more in five out of seven. Moreover, the Timbers have conceded an average of 1.82 expected goals per traveling 90.
Expert Pick #3 – Samuel Grandsir to Score @+333
The Frenchman is yet to find the net for his new club, but there’s been plenty in his performances to suggest that his fortune will change soon enough. Grandsir has been getting himself into good attacking positions and now in Hernandez’s absence, the 24-year-old, who averages 0.22 expected goals per 90, as well as 2.27 shots, can step up. At least a match against a weak Portland backline provides the perfect opportunity to do so.
At the end of the day, this is a big opportunity for the hosts to bounce back and they’re worth betting on to do just that. Against a visiting side that has found it very difficult to get going away from home, especially in the defensive third, Galaxy can get the job done and get it done in pleasing style.