Portland Timbers vs Orlando City Prediction, Odds & Picks
- Nani is looking like an MVP candidate with his impact for Orlando
- Orlando manager Oscar Pareja is making waves with his revival of the team
- Portland won’t go down without a fight and will make this an electrifying encounter in the MLS Is Back final
Portland Timbers vs Orlando City Odds
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Portland Timbers vs Orlando City Predictions and Picks
This is as close as they get. Heading into Tuesday’s MLS Is Back championship game, it’s obviously clear that there is no clear cut favorite in this much-anticipated battle.
Regardless of the fact that the title could be decided by the narrowest of margins, I’m going with Orlando here for a couple of big reasons.
Orlando to win +155
How to Watch Portland Timbers vs Orlando City
|Portland Timbers vs Orlando City Information|
|What||Portland Timbers vs Orlando City|
|Where||ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (Bay Lake, Florida)|
|When||Tuesday, August 11th at 8:30 PM ET|
|How to Watch||ESPN Deportes, Watch on ESPN+ here!|
Weeks of preparation, constant COVID-19 testing, and countless matches have all led up to this moment. With just Portland and Orlando left in the chase, the two teams will face-off this Tuesday for the MLS Is Back title.
For Portland, their place in the final isn’t much of a shock. It doesn’t take too much work to look back and find success in recent seasons. The Timbers have qualified for the playoffs four times in the last five seasons and have two MLS Cup final appearances and one title during that run. In the current MLS Is Back tournament, Portland continued that momentum with an undefeated six-game sprint to the competition’s final.
With a roster that is filled with seasoned veterans and exciting up-and-comers, Portland was always an outside contender or dark horse for the MLS Is Back title.
The same couldn’t be said for Orlando.
As impressive as the resume is for new manager Oscar Pareja, there seemed to be too many questions regarding his roster.
And yet, thanks to his leadership and some brilliant moments from Nani on the pitch, Orlando has become the Cinderella story of the tournament with massive wins over Los Angeles FC and Minnesota United in the knockout round.
Nani Appears Eager To Standout Once Again For Orlando
Having Nani on the field almost looks like a cheat code at this point. With three goals and three assists in his last six games, the 33-year-old Portuguese winger has been on a tear in MLS Is Back.
Arguably the leading candidate for the MVP of the competition, Nani has been one of the main reasons why Orlando is in the final. Along with his impact in the final third, the former Manchester United star can also add plenty to defense when needed through his aggression.
After scoring twice during the semifinal against Minnesota, Nani helped his backline secure a 3-1 win with crucial clearances, interceptions and blocked shots on his own half of the field.
Orlando Are Revitalized Under Pareja
Of course, there’s much more to the team than just Nani.
As the new manager, Pareja has instilled a more organized and cohesive presence to his squad. With his impressive resume, this was likely expected, but what wasn’t anticipated was that he would do it in such a quick manner in a matter of months.
So far in MLS Is Back, Orlando has out-passed all but one of their opponents and have averaged a decent 1.5 xG (expected goals) tally in their six matches in the competition. Defensively, the six teams Pareja’s men have played have accumulated a lower xG tally, 1.13, against them.
All That Said, Portland Won’t Make This Easy
Let’s not forget to talk about Portland either.
Although I’m picking Orlando to win this, it’s important to remember that Portland has just as good of a chance of finishing Tuesday night with a victory. As mentioned earlier, their roster is an admirable one that has a number of high-quality players. With three goals and five assists, Sebastian Blanco is another candidate to point to for MVP of the tournament. In support, Jeremy Ebobisse has also been near-perfect with his four goals. Diego Valeri has also been looking like a game-changer with his goal and assists in the last two games.
Even if Orlando does end up winning this match, Portland will be sure to make this a thrilling and intriguing championship clash.
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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.