The Portland Timbers will look to continue moving forward on Sunday evening by getting the better of LAFC at Providence Park. The visitors, who’ve won three on the bounce, will be looking for a positive result too.
Having beaten LAFC by two goals to one towards the back end of July, at this venue, the TImbers will be looking for a double over their Los Angeles based opponents. The visitors go in search of revenge.
Portland Timbers – Making steady progress
It’s not been plain sailing for the Timbers this season and they’ve certainly had their ups and downs, but right now, Sunday’s hosts are on the up. Unbeaten in four, three of which they’ve won, Giovanni Savarese’s men have lifted themselves to fifth in the Western Conference.
However, they’ve not yet sorted out their defensive issues on home soil, where they’ve simply been far too open at the back. Last time out at this venue, the Timbers conceded twice on route to tying with the Colorado Rapids, while they conceded no fewer than six prior to that. It’s now been five matches since the Timbers kept a clean sheet at home, while they’ve only shut their opponents out in two out of 11 at Providence Park this season, which is worrying.
Expected Line-Up: Pending
with best odds
LAFC – Getting their act together
Much like Portland, LAFC had spent a large portion of the campaign in an unfamiliar position, floundering, but it looks as though Bob Bradley’s men have finally got it together. The visitors arrive at this junction having won three on the bounce, scoring no shortage of goals in the process.
We all know that when they’re on it, Bradley’s boys are amongst the toughest to face in all of Major League Soccer. They have individual quality and the ability to really put teams to the sword, but their defending often leaves plenty to be desired. Just one clean sheet since early July points towards a team that always leaves the door open.
Expected Line-Up: Pending
Expert Pick #1 – LAFC to Win @+160
Portland have improved of late, but their defending, especially at home, is a big worry ahead of a game against a rejuvenated LAFC side. The visitors have had defensive problems of their own, but if we examine their travelling efforts more closely, it’s easy to feel that they’re more equipped to keep things tight.
LAFC have lost seven times away from home this season, but they’ve had plenty of bad luck, that’s for sure. In terms of giving chances away, they’re up there with the best in the west. In fact, no Western Conference team has conceded fewer expected goals away from home. LAFC surrenders an average of just 1.07 xG on their travels. In contrast, Portland surrenders an average of 1.70, while they have an average expected goal difference of -0.17 at home, which isn’t great. Particularly when put up against LAFC’s average expected goal difference of +0.47 on the road.
Expert Pick #2 – Under 2.5 Goals @+155
This one goes slightly against the grain, especially as both Portland and LAFC are more than capable of serving up the goals, but if we scratch beneath the surface, supporting a low-scoring affair looks like it might just offer some value at the current odds.
For starters, Portland, though they need to prove it at home, have tightened up in recent weeks, with three of their last four matches containing less than four goals. In addition, for all they are a side capable of the outrageous in offense, LAFC have kept things quite low-key on the road. We can see above that they don’t give much away, while they’ve only scored more than once in one of their last five travelling matches, so if they were to edge ahead in a low-scoring game, it really wouldn’t be the biggest surprise.
Expert Pick #3 – Danny Musovski to Score @+235
If player props are your sort of game, then take LAFC’s Danny Musovski to find the net. The Macedonian has started to feature more of late and it’s easy to see why. He’s scored twice in just five appearances, and after a mid-week round of games, it would be no surprise to see the 25-year-old come in from the start. His average of 0.63 xG per 90 minutes is hugely eye-catching, so much so that he’s worth supporting to get on the score-sheet at appealing odds of +235.
Each of this pair is going through a positive phase, but there’s plenty to suggest that the visitors have more quality, especially when it comes to preventing the opposition from getting serious, so it is they who are fancied to come out on top.