Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers MLS Game Preview, Predictions, Betting Picks: Offensive Weakness

Jordan MorrisThe Seattle Sounders will welcome their old foes the Portland Timbers to Lumen Field, where the pair will do battle in Major League Soccer for the third time this season (10.30pm ET Saturday). Can the Sounders finally get a win against their rivals? Or will the Timbers dig their heels in once again? This preview with its predictions and betting picks should clear up those questions.

It has been a bit of a mixed bag for the Seattle Sounders since Major League Soccer resumed following the conclusion of the Leagues Cup. They got back down to business with a home defeat to Atlanta United, but have since improved, drawing away against Minnesota, which isn’t overly easy to do. Then they won on the road in Austin last time out, scoring a late winner through Albert Rusnak, who scored his third of the season.

Much of the same can be said for the Timbers, who also got off to a poor start following the wrapping-up of the Leagues Cup. They went away to the Houston Dynamo only to be humbled, conceding five goals and failing to score, while they struggled on home soil after that, and despite scoring twice, lost to the Vancouver Whitecaps. Fortunately, ahead of this big game, Giovanni Savarese’s men improved to beat Real Salt Lake in front of a home crowd last time out, boosting their confidence at the right time.

Sounders starting to stand firm at home

The Seattle Sounders were beaten when they were last in action at Lumen Field, which certainly won’t please head coach Brian Schmetzer, who likes his team to make the most of their home advantage. However, prior to that defeat, the Seattle men had started to dig their heels in at home. They certainly were not blowing teams away, but they were avoiding defeat, drawing three and winning one prior to that Atlanta game.

During that spell of four games at home without tasting defeat, Saturday’s hosts conceded just one goal. The problem is, they only scored two. Like the Timbers on the road, they have struggled for goals at home, which is worrying. Even with the all-important Jordan Morris now fighting fit again, the Sounders continue to find it tough to get the ball in the net.

Traveling troubles for the Timbers

The Portland Timbers do come here off the back of a confidence-boosting win, and as we’ll see below, they have a very good record against the Sounders, but their recent away form in Major League Soccer leaves plenty to be desired, that’s for sure. Saturday’s visitors have lost each of their last three away games (in all competitions), while if we narrow the focus to look at just MLS games, then we can see that they have lost two of their last three on the road, winning none of their last seven.

One of those seven games on the road without a win was a 0-0 draw at Lumen Field, where they failed to show any end-product of note, which has become a common theme away from the comforts of Providence Park. The Timbers come into this game having failed to score in their last two away games. They have scored just one goal in their last five road Major League Soccer fixtures. Therein lies the problem.

Timbers on top

This will be the third time that the teams have faced off this season. First off, the Timbers won by four goals to one at Providence Park, while they tied 0-0 at this venue back in June.

In recent times, the Sounders have found it hard to get the better of the Timbers. In fact, Saturday’s hosts have now gone five competitive games without a win against their rivals, who have won four of those five. Somewhat crazily, the Timbers are now unbeaten in seven competitive games at Lumen Field too, five of which they have won.

Lack of goals appealing at the prices

If you are looking to bet on this fixture, then you may want to consider going for ‘Under 2.5 Goals’ at what appears to be a generous price of +113 with the main sportsbooks for American bettors.

We know that the Timbers have struggled for goals on the road for some time, that’s very evident, while the hosts have very similar issues at home, there can be no getting away from that fact.

Since the start of June, the Sounders have scored an appalling average of 0.33 goals per home game, while during the same time, the Timbers have notched an average of just 0.28 goals per game on the road. Such numbers certainly don’t point towards a high-scoring game.

What is more, we have recently seen the pair tie 0-0 at this venue. In that game, although a few chances were created, neither team really hit the heights in terms of creativity, while the lack of end-product was there for all to see. Cristian Roldan being out for the hosts is a real blow as he is a player who can make something happen offensively, while the Timbers are without one of last season’s shining lights in Jaroslav Niezgoda.

Of course, as touched on above Jordan Morris being fit for the Sounders is a boost, but he’s yet to do much since returning from injury, while the Timbers really don’t seem to have anyone to score regular goals on the road.

Ultimately, with neither side looking in hot offensive form, and with each of Seattle’s last seven home games containing less than three goals, ‘Under 2.5 Goals’ really is hard to ignore given the early odds. So this is the sole betting pick for this MLS matchup preview and its predictions:

  • Under 2.5 goals @ best odds of +113 with Bovada.