MLS: Portland Timbers - LA Galaxy
Timbers are getting everything together for a big run at the MLS Cup which they won last year, a fantastic achievement for a club who only played their first MLS game in 2011. They came on strong after a slow start in 2015, 3 wins from their opening 12 starts, 12 from their final 22 and they are building up a head of steam currently, being unbeaten in nine and, after conceding far too freely early season, back to back road cleansheets at Rapids and New York Red Bulls have been hugely impressive. They are coming off a 3-1 home win over Seattle Sounders last Sunday and will have been thinking only about this game in the interim.
Galaxy are a very big player in MLS terms and expect to be involved at the business end of every season and they will be again this year, but they had a tough battle in a 4-2 cup win over Seattle in midweek, with the two winning goals coming in the final five minutes. That was their fifth straight win in all competions, but all have been hard won, they did rest some big names against Sounders, Gerrard and Keane did not feature, but eight played some part in that and the last MLS game. We saw last season, that when on a roll and close to full strength, Timbers are a match for anybody and then some, star players Fanendo Adi, Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe, Alvas Powell, Jermaine Taylor and Liam Ridgewell have only played together twice all season (both wins) the last time was last Sunday and all are expected to feature today. The last three give the backline a very solid look, the first three have 20 goals and eight assists between them, Valeri is, if not the most influential midfielder in the MLS, then very close to it and as the Portland head coach put it, he is the "straw that stirs the drinks". Adi scored a whopping 14 regular season goals last season from the end of July onwards and when then Portland are firing, it takes a very strong team to stop them and I am not sure that LAG are quite that team nowadays, despite recent form. Home win. Late edit: Ridgewell is set to miss out for Timbers, but that alone is not enough to sway me .
Portland Timbers -0.25 @ 1.97 at Sportmarket
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