After a couple of displeasing results, the Portland Timbers will be looking to resume winning ways on Sunday (4.30pm ET; TV: Live on Fox), and the visit of an out-of-form Los Angeles Galaxy side may just represent the perfect opportunity to do so. Can either side bounce back in the MLS at Providence Park? This preview and its picks with betting predictions should answer that.
It’s been a mixed start from the Portland Timbers, who kicked the campaign off wit h a very respectable tie against last season’s run-away Eastern Conference winners the New England Revolution. Second time out, though their first win remained elusive, the Timbers performed credibly in Los Angeles, taking a point from LAFC, a result which acted as a platform for further success, as Giovanni Saverese’s men went on to beat Austin FC at this venue. Unfortunately, they’ve since gone two games without a win, losing badly on the road at FC Dallas, before failing to overcome Orlando City in front of a home crowd last time out.
The visitors have followed a similar path at the start of this new season. They picked up a positive results first time out, beating NYCFC, courtesy of a late strike from their fox in the box Chicharito, while the Galaxy built on that win by delivering a commanding performance in Charlotte a week later. However, those wins haven’t acted as a springboard for further victories. In fact, Greg Vanney’s men have gone in the wrong direction over then last fortnight, first losing to the Seattle Sounders, then to Orlando City last time out.
What do the numbers say?
If we take a closer look at some underlying figures, then it’s easy to conclude that both teams offer plenty going forward, especially in terms of creativity. In four matches, the Los Angeles Galaxy have produced 7.1 expected goals, laying down individual game totals of 1.8, 1.4, 2.1, 1.4, which is impressive as it shows that they’re consistently threatening. The Timbers haven’t been so great overall, but at home, their numbers are strong. In three games at Providence Park, Savarese’s men have produced xG totals of 2.5, 1.1 and 1.7. When laying down 1.7 against Orlando last time out, they unfortunate not to come out on top, especially as they only surrendered 0.5.
Recent head-to-head record
LA Galaxy will be going for three straight victories in this fixture after beating the Portland Timbers twice at Dignity Health Sports Park during the previous campaign. That said, it’s not like Galaxy dominance is a running theme in this fixture, far from it. Prior to those two 2021 wins, the Los Angeles Galaxy had lost three on the spin against the Timbers, who’ve won six of the last ten renewals.
One constant is goals. Rarely is there a low-scoring game when this pair step on the field together. At least three goals have been scored in each of the last ten renewals of this fixture, while both teams have scored in seven of those ten. Six of those ten have produced at least four goals, while five or more have been netted in four of the last six. High scoring indeed.
Go for goals
There’s nothing flash about odds of -135 on ‘Over 2.5 Goals’, though it’s not terribly difficult to make a case for such a bet being shorter. As we can see above, the goals usually flow between this pair, with no shortage of goals going in when they’ve met here in recent times. Since 2019, there have been five renewals of this fixture at Providence Park, and in each of those at least three goals have been scored.
Only one of Galaxy’s four matches in Major League Soccer this time around has contained three or more goals, but we shouldn’t be put off by this, as their attacking number suggest that it probably won’t be long before they start scoring more goals. Combine this with the fact that Portland are no attacking slouches at home, coupled with the fact that the hosts haven’t exactly covered themselves in defensive glory, conceding in all but one of their five games, and it’s easy to see goals arriving. More importantly, it’s easier to see goals being slightly more likely than the current prices suggest.
After all, we’re talking about a visiting side that’s averaging 1.95 expected goals for on the road and a home team that is averaging 1.8 expected goals for at Providence Park.
Paredes to pounce
Portland’s Cristhian Paredes netted his first goal of the season from the penalty spot last time out, and his performances overall this season point towards further goals. As things stand, the Paraguayan attacker is the Timbers best performer in terms of individual expected goals, averaging a pleasing 0.54 xG per 90 minutes. The 23-year-old is also currently firing off an average of 2.01 shots per 90 minutes. At odds of +335, the former Sol de America man is fancied to keep his scoring streak going against a Galaxy rear-guard that surrendered three goals last time out on the road.