With Los Angeles FC leading Portland Timbers by no less than 20 points in the Western Conference – and also being the top of the table by some margin – there’s little doubt that the home team have quite the challenge ahead of them.
On the other hand, there is some room to be optimistic. Not only do Portland Timbers have the home advantage but they’ve recently managed to pull themselves out of the hole they were in through much of 2019. They’ve had solid showings throughout late April and a quality 3-1 win in their last outing against Philadelphia Union.
However, Los Angeles FC didn’t end up in their position by accident. They’ve proven very difficult to beat, with their last loss being against the Vancouver Whitecaps back in April. Do Portland Timbers have what it takes to pull off the upset? We’ll find out this Sunday.
Portland Timbers vs Los Angeles FC Prediction: Portland 1-2 LAFC
While we do think that Portland Timbers have a better fighting chance than the standings would suggest, we still have to give the edge to Los Angeles FC. Their consistency has gotten them this far and, although we think Portland do stand a good chance of dragging them to a draw, we still believe that a hard-fought victory for the LA side is the most likely outcome. With that in mind – and considering that these two rarely have a game with a clean sheet on either side – our scoreline prediction is 1-2 in the favour of Los Angeles FC.
Our recommended tip: Los Angeles FC win
Sitting in first place of the MLS standings – putting them nine places and 20 points ahead of their upcoming opponents – it’s no surprise that the bookmakers are giving the away side the edge here. To be fair to Portland Timbers, they do have good medium-risk 2/1 match odds at Paddy Power. However, Los Angeles FC have slightly safer 11/10 odds on a win. Therefore, we recommend that you back the favourites to victory here for your best chance of winning your wager.
Another reason we’re giving the nod to Los Angeles FC is their recent head-to-head history, which hasn’t seen a single victory for Portland Timbers. Their most recent match – one from a mere couple of months ago at the start of March – also saw their worst defeat yet, with a final result of 4-1. Not only is this a pretty damning indicator of the home team’s chances here, but it has to affect their confidence heading into this contest. Previous losses were recent too, with two games seeing them fail by a single point, just as we are predicting here.
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Players to watch: Brian Fernández & Carlos Vela
Portland Timbers: Brian Fernández
Although you could make a good argument for Jeremy Ebobisse – the only man to score in their 4-1 loss to Los Angeles FC – as player to watch, ultimately, what Portland Timbers need is a reason to believe this time will be different. The newly signed Brian Fernández could very well be just that. He immediately made his presence known by scoring the equaliser against Houston Dynamo and winning the game with dual goals against Philadelphia Union.
Los Angeles FC: Carlos Vela
When you consider that over half of all goals scored in LAFC’s hugely successful season thus far have had involvement from Carlos Vela – either through goals or assists – then he becomes a pretty easy pick for player to watch. Portland will certainly be keeping an eye on him. He provided the assist for the two goals and got one of his own the last time they met. They will no doubt be extremely wary of this deadly striker.