MLS: New England Revolution - Portland Timbers
This is the one Wednesday game where one of the teams is not only clocking up the air miles, but are travelling coast to coast, West to East, for just a single midweek fixture. Portland have played six of their seven matches on the West Coast this season, either at home in Oregon, or in California, the other was a quick hop out East to face Orlando City where they lost 4-1. They had a 15 days break prior to that game, so I doubt that it makes too much difference that tonight's fixture comes after they have enjoyed a ten day hiatus, especially as they are back home again on Sunday and have another five straight games in the West. The large number of West Coast games to start their campaign as MLS Cup champions has been a blessing, after their season was extended into December, to put that into some context, Revolution, who did themselves make the post season, were done and dusted by late October, some 39 days earlier. Timbers would have had media commitments after that and their off season was some 4-7 weeks shorter than almost anyone else. Therefore, we can argue that the drain on playing staff is even greater than normal for a 3,000 trip East ,across several time zones, to play a single game.
Since opening their campiagn in Houston, New England have stuck to the East like a limpet, they will be looking to build on this kindness of schedule and after two road games, will be hoping to get into top of the table contention by making the most of back to back home games this week. Portland will be without suspended Diego Valeri, who has 60 goals/assists in 109 appearances, Timbers have scored just three road goals this season and the Argentine playmaker has assisted with two of those , he had a lengthy absence last season and it took six games for Portland to win without him and remember, we are talking about the "best" team in MLS in 2015, so, a big loss.
Portland were very slow starters last season (they have an identical record after seven games this year) and did not hit their stride until mid/late May and given their shortened off season, we can expect more of the same, maybe even a few weeks later before we see them at their very best. Revolution have to start turning draws (5/8) into wins and this looks a good opportunity.
New England Revolution -0.5 ball 2.11 asian line/Sportmarket