Welcome to my MLS Soccer picks, and with the season already well underway, there’s plenty of betting opportunities available for us all to make more money off the bookies.
Next up is an all-Western Conference clash between Play-Off candidates Portland Timbers and basement strugglers, Colorado Rapids at Providence Park in Oregon – Kickoff: 2030hrs (EST)
Portland Timbers currently occupy the last remaining Final Series Play-off spot in the Western Conference ahead of Saturday evening’s date with Conference strugglers, Colorado Rapids.
Just one point now separates Portland from the chasing teams such as Vancouver Whitecaps as the battle for a top six place intensifies ahead of this weekend’s action in the MLS.
Portland recently experienced something of a wobble as the hosts suffered four defeats on the trot with seriously threatened to de-rail their play-off ambitions, but their last two matches have seen them return to a more even keel.
Defeats to Play-off rivals, Vancouver Whitecaps along with losses to DC United, Sporting Kansas and Seattle Sounders put Giovanni Savarese’s side on red alert, but a subsequent 2-0 home win over Toronto FC and a point in a 1-1 draw away at New England Revolution has helped steady the ship.
The hosts now return to Providence Park for Saturday evening’s important encounter and all three points in this clash could see them move level on points with fourth placed Real Salt Lake.
Home Form & Team News
The Timbers will be keen to continue their revival at Providence Park on Saturday night where they possess a pretty reasonable looking record of 8-3-2 22/11, and to build upon their recent win over Toronto FC.
The home side possess the second best defensive record on home turf in the Western Conference behind second placed Los Angeles FC who have conceded just one less goal than Portland Timbers to date.
Portland will be particularly keen to make the most of this home fixture against Colorado Rapids as their last three matches on home turf will be against teams that are higher placed than them.
Columbus Crew in 4th place in the Eastern Conference as well as Dallas and Real Salt Lake who sit top and fourth place respectively in the Western Conference.
Portland have kept five clean sheets to date at Providence Park, and they’ve won the last seven meetings between themselves and Colorado Rapids, so the hosts will be keen to keep the upper hand here.
Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and defender Roy Miller remain on the sidelines with long-term injuries, while the usual ‘keeper Jeff Attinella is rated as doubtful for this clash.
If Attinella is ruled out, deputy stopper, Steve Clark is expected to start between the sticks. The good news for Savarese though is that influential forwards, Diego Valeri (9 goals, 8 assists) and Samuel Armenteros (8 goals) are both fit and will once again forge their impressive partnership up front.
Attacking midfielder, Sergio Blanco (6 goals, 4 assists) is just one yellow card away from suspension, so manager Giovanni Savarese may opt to hold him back here.
Andre Flores, David Guzman and Alvas Powell will miss out though as they’re all on international duty this weekend.
Portland’s dominance over Saturday night’s visitors Colorado Rapids have seen the hosts take a lead at half-time and win at full-time in 6 of the last 7 encounters between these two sides.
Colorado Rapids could be forgiven for wishing this disappointing MLS campaign to come to an end sooner rather than later as they sit second from bottom in the Western Conference.
Following a creditable 2-2 draw at home with LA Galaxy, The Rapids have conceded 8 goals in their last two matches as they’ve slumped to a 2-0 defeat away at Los Angeles FC and were then handed a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Real Salt Lake.
To rub salt into their wounds (no pun intended), the latter defeat was inflicted upon them at their Dick’s Sporting Goods Park where they’ve won 5 of their 6 wins overall in this season’s MLS.
For Colorado to lose in such complete and convincing style will have been a major blow to them, and they now face the very difficult task of dusting themselves down and travel to Oregon for Saturday’s clash against a Portland Timbers outfit who have dominated them for a long period.
In addition, the warning signs are very evident for the visitors who have conceded at least once in each of their last seven league matches overall, as well as possessing a poor record away from home so far this term.
Away Form & Team News
Colorado Rapids’ away record stands at a very fragile looking 1-3-8 9/23 and along with Minnesota United and Houston Dynamo, they’ve won the least number of away matches in the Western Conference so far in this campaign.
To make matters worse, Colorado have also found it very difficult to hit the back of the net on their travels with just 9 goals to their name; the lowest goal tally on the road in the Conference.
Colorado have failed to score in 5 of their 12 away matches to date, and indeed, have managed to record just 2 away wins from their last 32 outings which is a very damning statistic in itself.
The news doesn’t get any better either for Rapids manager Anthony Hudson as defender Axel Sjoberg is ruled out with a knee injury while midfielder Bismark Boateng (1 goal) and Niki Jackson (2 goals) are both suspended.
Midfielder Sam Nicholson (2 goals) is doubtful with a back injury while Kellyn Acosta and Sam Vines are both missing on international duty.
The visitors will once again turn to defenders Eduardo Castillo and Tommy Smith (3 goals apiece and 8 assists between them) for inspiration, but in truth, Colorado should lack the firepower to trouble Portland Timbers in this match.
History is certainly stacked in Portland Timbers’ favour as they welcome Colorado Rapids to Providence Park, and with the extra incentive of needing the points to hang onto 6th place, I’m fully expecting Portland to take the spoils this evening.