Sunday, January 17, 2021

MLS: LAFC v Portland Timbers preview

The second weekend of MLS action sees the Portland Timbers travel into Los Angeles to do battle with LAFC at the Bank of California Stadium on Sunday. It’s a key Western Conference matchup so both teams will be looking to gain the upper hand early in the season.

LAFC will be looking to build on a narrow win over last seasons Western Conference champions Sporting KC. It took until the fourth minute of injury time for Adama Diomande to score the winner for the home team. Ten minutes earlier SKC had been reduced to 10-men, and LAFC were able to make the extra man pay off.

Eduard Atuesta dominated the midfield for LA, and will look to continue that good performance against Portland. He was tenacious in LA’s pressing system, but also got an assist on Rossi’s equaliser just after the break. It will be interesting to see whether LA can maintain the high press feature of the game throughout the season – or if the massive amounts of energy required will take their toll.

LAFC vs Portland Timbers

Portland, on the other hand, got off to a disappointing start as they conceded a 93rd-minute equaliser against Colorado Rapids. The Rapids had been a man short since the 27th minute when Axel Sjöberg was shown a straight red.

LAFC vs Portland Timbers
LAFC vs Portland Timbers

Diego Valeri was the star of the game for the Timbers with a goal and an assist. However they will be concerned at their inability to put away the 10 men of Colorado in a game where they had 24 shots, and over 58% of possession.

It’s a tough way to start the season for Portland, as the embark on an epic 12-game road series before finally getting their first home game in the league in June.

Prediction

LA will be fired up after their late winner in week 1, while the Portland Timbers will be looking to be much more clinical in front of goal. It’s going to be a long road-trip for the Timbers so they will be looking to put some wins on the board early to keep them in contention, and I think they’ll edge a close one here 3-2.

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