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So begins the final push towards this year’s MLS playoffs.
With October’s window for international games now behind us, both the LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers now have six games left in the 2021 regular season.
And that is where most of their similarities end.
While the Timbers are soaring with an eight-game undefeated streak, the Galaxy have been on a decline through a nine-match winless drought.
These are two very different teams that will be heading into Saturday’s matchup.
Although the argument could be made that the Galaxy have been given some time to readjust themselves, they’ll also likely have some tired starters returning from international duty.
Pick Portland for the win. (+275)
At the moment, the Galaxy and Timbers are essentially polar opposites.
The Timbers, who were once struggling in August, have skyrocketed up during the last couple of months with seven wins in their last eight games.
Carried by influential members of their roster like Sebastian Blanco, Yimmi Chara, Felipe Mora, and others, Portland are now one of the most exciting teams in MLS.
The Galaxy, on the other hand, have serious room for improvement.
They’re without a win in their last nine games, and unfortunately for them, they won’t have their full squad at 100% this Saturday.
A total of six Galaxy players were involved in international duty for recent World Cup qualifiers.
Danilo Acosta, Jonathan dos Santos, Oneil Fisher, Niko Hämäläinen, Sebastian Lletget and Rayan Raveloson all joined their national teams over the last couple weeks.
It’s always a good sign for a club team to have this kind of representation on the world stage, but in a crucial point of the season, this may ultimately hurt the Galaxy’s playoff chances.
Game-changers like Dos Santos and Lletget will at least be jet-lagged before the weekend…
It really is amazing to see the change that Portland have had during the end of the summer.
After seeming to have lost their grip on the regular season, they rebounded exceptionally with their current undefeated streak.
It’s not as if they’re going up against weak teams either.
Through their run, they’ve faced the Seattle Sounders, the Colorado Rapids, and Real Salt Lake — who all appear to be playoff-bound.
It’s an incredible group effort from all involved, but if we’re looking at a true influential piece, we need to recognize one of their leaders in the midfield.
Since returning from injury, Blanco has been on an absolute tear for the Timbers.
As not only a playmaker but also a goalscorer, the Argentine #10 elevates his squad to another level whenever he is on the pitch.
And although he had some slight injury issues return a few weeks back, all signs point to Blanco being at full fitness once again this weekend for Portland.
Keep an eye on the veteran who has two goals and three assists in his last eight appearances.
|LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers Information|
|Teams||LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers|
|Location||Dignity Health Sports Park (Los Angeles, California)|
|Time||Saturday, October 16th at 7:30pm PT/10:30pm ET|
|How to Watch||ESPN+|
Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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