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Draw Or Orlando
This is a battle between one side that is struggling in attack and one that has been pretty woeful in defense. Orlando City have scored just 4 goals this season, while Portland Timbers have conceded 7 times already – both in the span of 4 games.
Orlando City travel to face Portland Timbers this weekend in the MLS. The two sides are separated by only 2 points in the table, but there are 6 teams between them on the Supporters’ Shield standings.
Timbers went on an unbeaten three-match run to start the season but lost last weekend to FC Dallas. Their unbeaten run, although great in theory, was nothing to particularly be proud of, as they were games that could have resulted in more than just draws – like the first two games – and a 1-0 win.
Orlando started their season with a win and a draw but lost to FC Cincinnati at home. They bounced back with a win over LA Galaxy last weekend and would be looking to build on that result this Sunday. They are finding it hard to score goals this season and need to create more chances.
It is tough to pick a winner between these two on paper, but the ideal bet for this match would be to back Orlando or a draw. The Timbers just do not look like themselves this season so far and could suffer a loss this weekend.
Portland Timbers have not lost a game in which Yimmi Chara has a goal contribution this season. The Colombian winger has notched up two spectacular goals and has an assist to his name in the four games so far.
Giovanni Savarese’s side kicked off their 2022 campaign against New England Revolution and struggled in the first half. They were unable to get behind their opponent’s defense and had to work hard to get their first goal in the second half. Dairon Asprilla’s goal canceled out Brandon Bye’s opener, but Timbers were level for just 3 minutes before Sebastian Lletget restored New England’s lead.
While the home side tried attacking from all sides, the away team was determined to keep their lead and leave with all three points. That was until a stunning overhead kick by Chará with just over 10 minutes left in the game saw both teams share points.
Timbers were up against Los Angeles FC in the second game week, 1-0 early in the first half. Chará was again the scorer, and it was yet another overhead kick. The goal seemed to be the only thing separating the two sides before Mamadou Fall scored deep into injury time – helped by the red card picked up by Claudio Bravo in the 62nd minute – to force the points to be shared.
Timbers, still on the hunt for their first win, were up against Austin at home, and they finally got the coveted three points. While the performance was far from perfect, and arguably their worst of the season, Savarese’s side got the result they wanted. Chara was not on the scoresheet this time too, but for his assist to Bill Tuiloma for the lone goal of the game.
FC Dallas handed them a reality check just as they were building confidence though, and in a pretty brutal fashion. Jesús Ferreira scored a hat-trick in the first half before Paul Arriola scored towards the end of the game to give the Texas side a huge 4-1 win. Jarosław Niezgoda got a goal back for Timbers in the second half, but it was not enough to pull off a comeback.
Orlando City have one of the meanest defenses in the league this season. They have conceded just two goals in four matches – the same as Minnesota United, Philadelphia Union, and Los Angeles FC.
However, while those three sides are sitting in the top 6 – with LAFC and Philadelphia leading the table – Orlando is hovering in 11th place on the Shield standings. The issue is simple – they have just not been able to score goals. With just 4 goals from their 4 games, their brilliance at the back has counted for little.
Orlando started with a 1-0 win over CF Montreal and looked solid on the pitch. They created more chances than their opponents, and despite having just three shots on target, they scored twice. But things have not been the same since.
They failed to get a single shot on goal during their goalless draw with Chicago Fire. It was one of Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina’s easier games in his life, with not a single credible test asked of him.
Orlando’s players seemed to have spent extra time in training to work on their passing in the final third, and it was shown during their clash with FC Cincinnati. However, they were again unable to convert those chances and lost 2-1 despite having double the number of chances (18) as their opponents and keeping 70 percent of the ball.
It is safe to say that Orlando has been the most inconsistent side in the league this season, and that is bound to cost them. They were lucky to win 1-0 at LA Galaxy last week, as the home side had dominated the game from the very start.
Oscar Pareja has never beaten Giovanni Savarese and will be looking for that first win. They have faced off four times, and the Portland Timbers boss has managed to walk away victorious twice.
|Charlotte FC vs FC Cincinnati Information|
|Teams||Portland Timbers vs Orlando City SC|
|Location||Providence Park, Portland, Oregon|
|Time||Sunday, March 27 at 4 pm EST|
|How to watch||ESPN Deportes, TSN2|
Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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