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Los Angeles FC vs Portland Timbers: Portland Timbers Started Their New Season With a Win

Written by: Nikhil Kalro
Updated March 1, 2023
12 min read
  •   Los Angeles FC were scheduled to start the campaign against rivals LA Galaxy, but the match was cancelled due to a thunderstorm
  • Portland Timbers started their new season with a win and a clean sheet against Sporting Kansas City last week
  • When Los Angeles FC and Portland Timbers last met in the MLS, the former won 2-1

Los Angeles FC vs Portland Timbers Odds

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Los Angeles FC vs Portland Timbers Pick

Pick: Los Angeles FC to win (-213)

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Los Angeles FC vs Portland Timbers Prediction

Los Angeles FC vs Portland Timbers Predictions

Los Angeles FC were rampant in the league and the playoffs last season as they went all the way to lift their maiden MLS title after beating Philadelphia Union in the final. Momentum is with LAFC as they try to close the gap to their neighbors and arch-rivals, LA Galaxy.

It has been over ten years since Portland Timbers laid their hands on the MLS trophy for the first time. Now, Portland Timbers are a team that can have an impact on the title race if they cause an upset while facing one of the title contenders this season because the chances of Portland Timbers challenging for the title this season are extremely slim.

Keeping everything in mind, it is easy to understand why the odds heavily favor Los Angeles FC in this encounter. The opening day was unpredictable, but Portland Timbers will not be able to take points off Los Angeles FC 

Previous Meetings

The head-to-head record between these two sides is evenly balanced. In 12 previous encounters in the MLS, Los Angeles FC have won four times, Portland Timbers have won four times, and four games have ended in draws.

In the last five encounters between the two sides, Los Angeles FC have only won once, while Portland Timbers have won thrice. One of these three victories came at the BMO Stadium as well, in 2021.

If Los Angeles FC beat Portland Timbers in the next game, it will be their first victory over them at home since MLS 2020. The last time these two sides met at the venue, Mamadou Fall scored a 93rd-minute equalizer to rescue a point for Los Angeles FC.

LAFC Will Play as Defending Champions for the First Time 

After taking the Western Division by storm and blazing into the playoffs last season, Los Angeles FC managed to keep their heads in the right place and eventually emerged on top at the end as they were seen with the trophy once the dust had settled on the 2022 MLS season.

Los Angeles FC experienced something they had never experienced before and that was to wrap their hands around the MLS title. Now, in the new season, Los Angeles FC will walk out onto the pitch as defending champions.

It will be interesting to see how the side responds to this situation. Either they could use it to fuel their journey to another potential title this year, or the squad could get overwhelmed by this feeling and pressure to perform.

The latter would be catastrophic for Los Angeles FC who will surely want to compete with LA Galaxy to become the most successful side in the MLS. However, that will also take time. But this season will speak volumes about LAFC’s league domination aspirations.

Defending Champions Without Top Striker This Season 

Los Angeles FC scored 75 goals in the last campaign. Carlos Vela was influential as always after finishing the season with 12 goals and 12 assists to his name. However, Vela was still not the top scorer of the club.

With 18 goals and four assists to his name, Cristian Arango finished as the top scorer for Los Angeles FC last season. Although the Colombian was six goals behind the golden boot contenders, his 18 goals helped his side lift the title.

This season, however, Los Angeles FC will be without Arango as the striker moved to Liga MX Champions Pachuca this season. Los Angeles FC have retained other players, but the void left by Arango could be a difficult one to fill.

Vela Set for Another Spectacular Season 

While Arango is gone, Vela and the rest of his teammates are still at the club and are eagerly awaiting the start of the new season. Vela contributed to the team 24 times in the form of 12 goals and 12 assists spread across the entire season.

The Mexican is closing in on two milestones at Los Angeles FC. This season, he will touch the 150-appearances mark for his club. Also, the 33-year-old is 21 goals away from the 100-goal milestone.

Portland Timbers Need to Be Strong on the Road  

Last week, Portland Timbers got off to a winning start after a narrow 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City at home. The first points have been added to the board but now the team has to travel for the next game.

Statistically, it seems that Portland Timbers do not enjoy playing away from home. Looking at last season’s stats, that is quite obvious. At home in the 2022 MLS season, Portland Timbers lost just three out of 17 games all season.

However, when it came to away games, Portland Timbers managed to win only three out of 17 all season. While their goal difference was +9 at home, it was -9 away from home. This is something the Portland Timbers will have to work on this season.

Portland Timbers Without Goal-Scoring Centre-Back This Season 

Only 29 out of 53 goals scored by Portland Timbers last season came from open play. 12 goals came from set pieces, some of which were nodded in by Bill Tuiloma. The defender ended the season with six goals to his name.

Portland Timbers were a threat from set pieces last season and that was mainly because of Tuiloma. However, this season, the New Zealander has switched sides and is with Charlotte FC, leaving Portland Timbers with another void to fill.

The club have not even brought in any defensive reinforcement in the transfer window. Evander Ferreira has been the only eye-catching signing for Portland Timbers. The midfielder was signed from Midtjylland.

Chara Doubtful After Picking up an Injury Last Week

Yimmi Chara got off to a bittersweet start this season after concluding the last one with three assists and four goals. The start has been bittersweet because Chara provided an assist for the only goal of the game after six minutes and then limped off with an injury in the 33rd minute.

Ahead of this crunch encounter, Chara remains a doubt. If the winger is unfit to start, Santiago Moreno will be in-line to make his first start of the season. On paper, Moreno is a better player than Chara as he scored seven goals and assisted six last season.

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How to Watch Los Angeles FC vs Portland Timbers

●      Teams: Los Angeles FC vs Portland Timbers

●      Location: BMO Stadium

●      Time: Saturday, March 4 at 4:30 pm ET

●      How to watch: Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes

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Nikhil Kalro

681 Articles

With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]

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