Portland Timbers v Minnesota United
The Portland Timbers somehow blew a 2-0 lead against Orlando last week. They looked set for victory with about ten minutes left, but inexplicably conceded three late goals to lose the match! Unfortunately, this rather sums up their season so far. They have been conceding goals left right and center, often late in games and it’s been a poor start to the reign of new manager Giovanni Savarese. His new system hasn’t been going down well with some players, most notably centre back Liam Ridgewell who has been mysteriously left out of recent squads. If their poor run of form continues then more players might start to become disillusioned and the atmosphere gets further poisoned.
One thing that we must remember though is that Portland has played all of their matches away from home, where in recent years they’ve been pretty poor anyway. It will be a welcome return to Providence Park and against very beatable opponents. Minnesota has been plucky at times this season, managing to bag a couple of wins and being relatively competitive in all of their fixtures. But they are a limited side who in particular have problems defending. Portland possesses a lot of skillful and fast attackers like Adi, Valeri, and Blanco who should be able to have a field day here. The Timbers will create a bunch of chances, the real question is whether or not they can keep it tight at the other end.
It’s for this reason why the idea of backing the Timbers on a -1.25 Asian Handicap is slightly concerning. I’m not sure if they can be relied upon to cover a big handicap at the moment, or even win the game outright. The way things are going they will dominate proceedings, yet somehow manage to find a way to cock things up! Therefore, I think over 3 goals is the best bet for this match. Both teams like to attack, and seemingly neither can defend at the moment, This could escalate into something ridiculous if chances are taken, but at the worst, I think at least three goals will be scored. Whether it be thanks to some great skill or defensive mistakes, this affair should be entertaining from start to finish.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3 goals at 1.840
Sporting Kansas City v Seattle Sounders
It’s a huge surprise that Seattle is currently the only pointless team in MLS this season. Ok, they have only played three games which are significantly less than most other outfits, but nobody would’ve expected them to prop up the standings right now. Seattle has encountered problems with injury and suspension and a few will be missing again here. Clint Dempsey and Kelvin Leerdam are banned, in addition to other players rated doubtful or ruled out completely. It’s never easy playing away from home in MLS anyway, especially against a hot team like SKC right now.
Sporting sits top of the Western Conference and looks a cut above anyone else in this division at the moment. Most of the better teams in MLS are situated in the East this year, but out West, it’s Peter Vermes’ men who look like the team to beat. They are seemingly a transformed side in 2018, less reliant on defense, and possessing better attacking options. I still think they lack a genuine #9 of sufficient class, but goals are being scored by many different sources at the moment and the likes of Johnny Russell and Felipe Gutierrez have been excellent. The latter missed their win at LA Galaxy last week and is rated doubtful here, but everyone else is available.
Long term, I think Seattle will be fine and they are known for finishing seasons very strongly. But right now, they aren’t in a great spot and I would fancy a number of teams to beat them. It just so happens they are playing away from home against the current best side in the Western Conference, so I don’t rate their chances particularly highly. Sporting has won the last two H2H meetings at this stadium by the same 3-0 scoreline, and something similar could happen here. They are simply the better team at the moment and taking them on a -0.75 Asian Handicap seems like the best option here. I’m expecting SKC to dominate the game and Seattle will have to dramatically improve, or get lucky to avoid defeat.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Sporting Kansas City -0.75 at 1.950