Seattle Sounders v Portland Timbers – MLS
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Seattle Sounders look set to be without Torres, meaning Marshall and Svensson should start at the heart of the defense. The win last week means that few changes are expected, with Evans a good option to play at right back. Shipp came into the team and scored the crucial goal, so Seattle are likely to use Morris as a striker to allow Shipp to remain in the team. Dempsey is a major threat. The mood around the club has lifted this week after a much-needed victory. The reigning MLS champions have struggled to deal with added expectations in 2017, opposing sides have raised their game against them. The players and coach are excited about this match, with this fixture one of the biggest in terms of rivalries in the MLS. A win here is crucial for the supporters. The 4-2-3-1 formation seems to work best for the hosts, with Jones attacking down the left channel and getting crosses into the area. Without the ball, Seattle will drop deeper, aware that their opponents have a strong goalscoring record this season. Playing at home, Seattle will be backed by a vocal crowd who will urge the team forward. The rivalry is intense, so it’s important to avoid defeat.
Portland Timbers will be missing a key midfielder, as Chara is suspended after his red card last week. Okugo is a contender to come into midfield and partner Guzman, whilst Olum would strengthen the defense and is likely to replace Miller. Going forward, Portland have been boosted of late by the returns of Nagbe and Valeri, the latter given the free role behind Adi. This combination is effective. Portland have not won in their last 4 games, which has slowed the progress made. Despite this run of results being frustrating, coach Porter and the players are not panicking and remain calm. This fixture is an ideal chance to get back on track, with the rivalry between the clubs fierce. A win away from home would be hugely significant, giving the players confidence heading into future games. 4-2-3-1 is the formation used in the majority of games this season. Portland are one of the most effective teams on the ball, the attacking midfield trio of Blanco, Valeri and Nagbe have provided key passes for Adi. Portland are more effective on the front foot, with a lack of clean sheets highlighting fragility at the back. The hosts are under more pressure playing in front of their own fans.
Verdict & Prediction
Seattle Sounders secured a much-needed win in their previous match, ending a run of 4 games without a win. They were highly motivated and worked hard for each other, they are now determined to continue with this approach. Take on a local rival which means the 3 points carry a greater importance. 3 of the next 4 games for Seattle are at home, the players and coach have highlighted the importance of these fixtures. Seattle secured a much-needed home win in the last match, which should settle some nerves after indifferent displays at CenturyLink Field. Fans provide great backing at home. A win in this match would be hugely significant, giving Seattle some momentum which they have been lacking all season. Taking on local rivals, Seattle will press hard for 3 points and will be backed by a vocal crowd. The Recent home win was important psychologically, fans more relaxed.
Prediction: Seattle Sounders – 0.75 Asian Handicap
Odds: 2.11 Pinnacle