Los Angeles FC vs Portland Timbers: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Portland Timbers at Los Angeles FC

Where: Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, CA

When: Sunday, March 10th at 7:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): FS1 | ESPN 710 / KFWB 980

Portland Timbers (Away)

Head Coach: Giovanni Savarese {Current: 0-1-0 (1) | Top Scorer: Diego Valeri (1), Sebastian Blanco (1)}

Key Players: Diego Valeri, Diego Chara, Sebastian Blanco

Expected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Attinella, Villafana – Cascante – Mabiala – Valentin, Guzman – Chara, Blanco – Valeri – Polo, Ebobisse

It is the same old song for the Portland Timbers. In 2018 they came up short in their run for the MLS Cup, this year they’re looking to make a similar run. Unfortunately for the Timbers, their aging players and difficult opening schedule suggest the season won’t be in their favor.

Portland still has a capable attacking unit with Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco leading them. Valeri is 32 while Blanco is 30, but both still seem to have the pace and composure needed to be successful at their current level. They overcame some difficult odds and weather in their opening weekend tie against the Colorado Rapids. They’ll look to channel that motivation when they take on Los Angeles FC.

Los Angeles FC boasts an elite team with incredible talent and proven winners t the MLS level. Bob Bradley is a coach of the year candidate as well, adding to the already impressive organization that LA has. Portland gave up a late goal to the Rapids which forced a draw in their opening match. They can’t afford to be as complacent against a talented LAFC squad.

Los Angeles FC (Home)

Head Coach: Bob Bradley {Current: 1-0-0 (3) | Top Scorer: Adama Diomande (1), Diego Rossi (1)}

Key Players: Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, Walker Zimmerman

Expected Starting XI (4-3-3): Miller, Harvey – Segura – Zimmerman – Beitashour, Kaye – Atuesta – Nguyen, Rossi – Ramirez – Vela

Going into just their second season in the MLS, Los Angeles FC’s last season will be tough to follow. Finishing fifth in the Western Conference with 57 points in 2018, Los Angeles FC will look build on their previous seasons’ successes.

They have started that process by bringing back some key assets. Young defender Walker Zimmerman is back in hopes of leading the LAFC back line while Mexican international Carlos Vela is back and looking to improve on his 14 goal, 9 assist season. 22-year-old designated player Andre Horta has also returned with a full offseason of integration under his belt to improve his dynamic with the squad.

Los Angeles FC will need to be wary against a decisive Portland Timbers side. While they only took a point from their opening weekend, their attack was precise and well-constructed. The LAFC attack when firing on all cylinders is impressive but is certainly susceptible to the counter attack – as we’ve seen in the past.

What’s At Stake?

In two matches with Portland Timbers last season, Los Angeles FC fails to take a win. Portland Timbers lead the all-time series 1-1-0 over Los Angeles FC.

Portland Timbers have the goals, but not the points. A win would help separate themselves from the middle of the pack.

A win for Los Angeles FC would keep them near the top of the standings, but barring a scoring clinic they will still be down in goal difference in the early season.

Questions to answer

What did the Timbers learn from their first match?

Can LAFC handle the pressure?

We are going to compare the Portland Timbers and Los Angeles FC in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

It Was Tough For The Timbers

The Portland Timbers were 50% of a matchup during the coldest MLS game ever played. There was a lot that went wrong in that match, where you couldn’t really tell if it was good football or just horrible conditions. The day started out well, but once the pitch was covered in snow tactics were hard to come by.

In flashes the Timbers were playing some impressive football. Before the penalty call, David Guzman played a rehearsed give-and-go to Sebastian Blanco that followed with the same play to Andy Polo which ended up getting crossed into the goal. There was a harsh red for the Rapids side, but considering the conditions, it was impressive play.

Los Angeles FC will provide a real test for the Portland Timbers. We harp on about the pitch conditions for Portland in their last game, but the truth of the matter is that a 3-3 draw in -7 degrees Celsius and 5 centimeters of snow doesn’t promise any sense of familiarity with how a team plays. We will see the true Timbers against Los Angeles FC.

Teams Are Pressing LAFC

First in the preseason against the Crew and now in their opening weekend, Los Angeles FC have faced very aggressive defenses. While Los Angeles boasts an impressive attacking trio, teams have made it a point to pressure their defenders on the ball to create chances.

Sporting Kansas City was able to press up the field when LAFC were trying to play out of the back. As Los Angeles tried playing the ball out, Sporting was able to crowd out the available passing lanes which eventually lead to the opening goal of the match. It may have taken a disappointing deflection off the referee, but LAFC are yet to prove they can play such technical style.

Bob Bradley has made it a point that LAFC want to play a technical, possession style of football that plays out of the back. For a newer club, it is an entertaining and tactical style of play that markets well to their new fans. Unfortunately, there are concerns about whether or not they have the personnel. When the ball gets to Lee Nguyen in the midfield LA is generally safe, but their defensive line must improve on the ball.

Portland Timbers Roster Notes

GK Aljaz Ivacic – 15 Feb 2019 – OUT (Tibia Fracture) – Ivacic will be out 6-8 weeks as he recovers from a fractured tibia.

GK Kendall McIntosh – 5 Mar 2019 – OUT (Thigh) – McIntosh is not expected to be available for selection when Portland and LAFC meet.

D Bill Tuiloma – 4 Mar 2019 – Questionable (Lower Leg) – it is unknown whether Tuiloma will be fit for the match against LAFC.

Los Angeles FC Roster Notes

M Alejandro Guido – 5 Mar 2019 – OUT (Quad) – is not expected to be available against the Timbers.

M Andre Horta – 4 Mar 2019 – OUT (Quad) – LAFC hope that Horta’s injury can be managed quickly, but he will not be available for selection against the Timbers.

F Josh Perez – 4 Mar 2019 – Questionable (Hamstring) – Perez has been training but it is not certain whether or not he is fit and available.

Head-to-Head: Jeremy Ebobisse (POR) vs Mark-Anthony Kaye (LA)

Look no further than two young North American players to play a key role in the upcoming match between Portland Timbers and Los Angeles FC. Jeremy Ebobisse is looking to make up for a quiet performance against the Rapids while Mark-Anthony Kaye is looking great in his return from a devastating ankle injury.

Jeremy Ebobisse

Forward | 184cm, 78kg (6-0, 174 lbs) | United States | Exp. 4 Years

52 Apps | 26 Starts | 0.31 Gls/90 | 0.51 G+A/90 | 0.65 SoT | 1.16 Fls | 0.03 Crd

Portland Timbers made it a point this offseason to not bring in a DP striker. They’ve chosen to rely on Jeremy Ebobisse, who in the preseason rewarded their faith by banging in goals left and right. In the opening weekend against Colorado though, he was nearly invisible. Perhaps it was the record-setting conditions that affected him, but Ebobisse has the talent and intelligence to make an impact in this coming match against LAFC.

Mark-Anthony Kaye

Forward/Mid-Field | 186cm, 70kg (6-1, 154lb)| Canada | Exp. 6 Years

93 Apps | 74 Starts | 0.13 Gls/90 | 0.26 G+A/90 | 0.58 SoT | 1.31 Fls | 0.17 Crd

Canadian midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye has had a tough road back to the pitch. A diligent representative for LAFC in the midfield, a broken ankle left LAFC weakened last season. Back this season Kaye was impressive in his return. He was able to find Diego Rossi for a scoring chance and his play with Nguyen in the midfield seemed well rehearsed. It wasn’t a pretty debut, but Kaye had flashes of brilliance that suggest he could be the key that unlocks LA’s scoring threat.

Portland Timbers at Los Angeles FC Predictions and Odds

The odds will be updated as they are made available.