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.
My next pick of this weekend’s action sees Canadian outfit, Vancouver Whitecaps make their way to Providence Park in Oregon to take on Portland Timbers in an all-Western Conference clash…
Portland Timbers are sitting pretty right now in the Western Conference as they occupy second place and an automatic Final Series play-off spot as the hosts prepare for Saturday evening’s clash with Canadian outfit, Vancouver Whitecaps.
Their current league position is made even more impressive as they started the MLS season in extremely slow fashion having failed to win any of their first five matches of the new term.
When you delve a little deeper though, there’s an obvious reason for their disappointing start to this campaign; Portland were handed five away matches on the trot by the MLS scheduling system which didn’t do Giovanni Savarese and his team any favours early in the piece.
The Timbers’ situation changed dramatically though as soon as they got back to Providence Park in Oregon as they’ve embarked upon an impressive 15-match sequence without defeat which has helped lift them to the top of the Western Conference.
During this extended run of solid form, Portland have picked up 10 wins out of the last 15 matches played, and no doubt Savarese and his charges will be seeking to collect an 11th win here this evening.
In addition, Portland Timbers have scored 2 goals or more in 5 of their last 6 matches overall, with the likes of Kristian Armenteros (7 goals), Diego Valeri (8 goals, 8 assists) and Sebastian Blanco (6 goals, 3 assists) the main contributors.
Home Form & Team News
Along with Los Angeles FC, Portland Timbers are the only side in the Western Conference to still remain undefeated on home turf, and they possess a far better record than the aforementioned Los Angeles FC with a record of 7-3-0 19/8 under their belts.
As with Los Angeles FC, Portland also possess the best defensive record at home in the Conference as they’ve conceded just 8 goals throughout this campaign so far at Providence Park.
The hosts have kept four clean sheets to date at the back, and at the business end, Portland have failed to hit the back of the net on just one occasion from their 10 home matches played, so they look a good bet to bulge the Vancouver night in this encounter.
The bigger picture shows that Portland Timbers have suffered just one defeat from their last 17 matches on home soil, which was a 2-1 loss to Houston Dynamo back in November of last year.
The Timbers also hold a good record at home against tonight’s visitors, Vancouver Whitecaps as the hosts have won the last three encounters against the Canadian club with winning margins of 2-1, 2-1 and 4-2 respectively.
Manager, Giovanni Savarese has no fresh injury worries ahead of this encounter other than long-term absentee, Eryk Williamson who hasn’t figured this season anyway.
Vancouver Whitecaps currently sit just outside the top six in the Western Conference as they make their way over to Oregon for this Saturday night clash against in-form Portland Timbers.
The visitors trail sixth placed Real Salt Lake by a margin of four points, so even if they do manage to take all three points here, they’ll still remain outside of the Final Series play-off positions.
Vancouver have produced mixed results in recent weeks in the MLS as they’ve picked up wins against Chicago Fire and Minnesota United, but these victories have been offset by defeats to DC United and Seattle Sounders, both of which were away from home.
The Canadian outfit also picked up a point in last week’s 2-2 draw away at New York City which was a valuable point gained, but there’s been a regular theme in recent weeks where Vancouver Whitecaps are concerned.
The theme is where Vancouver are involved, there have been plenty of goals on the menu as 33 have been scored in their last eight matches which is a staggering statistic.
It therefore may not surprise you to know that Vancouver have failed to keep a single clean sheet in their last 14 matches on the trot in the MLS, with their last shut-out being achieved at the end of April this year.
Another staggering statistic where Vancouver Whitecaps are concerned is that they’ve conceded 2 goals or more in 11 of their last 14 matches overall, and a leaky defence in this encounter may well end up receiving further punishment tonight.
Away Form & Team News
Away from home, Vancouver Whitecaps have failed to win any of their last four on their travels which includes three defeats at Philadelphia Union 4-0, DC United 3-1 and Seattle Sounders 2-0 respectively.
Last week’s draw away at New York City in the aforementioned 2-2 stalemate means that the visitors have earned just one point from the last possible 12 on offer, and their away-day woes could deepen in Oregon in this encounter.
Indeed, The Whitecaps have gained just one win on the road from their last nine matches which was a 2-1 win at second from bottom outfit, Colorado Rapids, but they’ve shipped plenty of goals in the process and this has made life extremely difficult for the visitors.
Vancouver possess a disappointing away record of 3-2-7 13/29 and along with Los Angeles FC and Minnesota United, they’ve conceded the most goals away from home in the Western Conference so far this term.
Manager, Carl Robinson will be without the services of injured midfielder Jordan Mutch for this clash, but he’ll be looking to forward Kei Kamara (9 goals, 3 assists) as well as support players, Christian Techera (6 goals) and Alphonso Davies (5 goals, 8 assists) to provide the spark.
However, Alphonso Davies was on the bench for last week’s visit to New York City and he may well not start again this week.
Portland Timbers are definitely the form team coming into this encounter, and having won the last three meetings at home against The Whitecaps, along with needing to maintain their automatic play-off position, the hosts have plenty of incentive to grab all three points here.
As I’ve already highlighted in this preview, Vancouver Whitecaps have had terrible problems at the back and it looks highly unlikely that they’ll keep a clean sheet here.
It should therefore be a straightforward home win here for Portland Timbers.
The Bet: Portland Timbers -208
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