Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy
Venue: Providence Park – Sunday, March 15 – 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT – Live on Sky Sports 1)
Match Odds: Portland Timbers 13/8 – Draw 12/5 – LA Galaxy 6/4
The Timbers began their MLS 2015 season with a 0-0 draw against Real Salt Lake last weekend, getting their first point on the board with their fourth straight MLS clean sheet a major plus for the team.
LA Galaxy picked up where they left off last campaign, winning 2-0 at home to Chicago Fire to open the 2015 season on Friday night and will be looking to make it two from two as they travel to Portland.Embed from Getty Images
The Timbers are unbeaten in their last five home games and will hope they can make home advantage count to avoid this run coming to an end against the reigning champions.
Galaxy haven’t won on the road in their last six attempts and this is a trend Bruce Arena will hope they can halt this weekend, but they haven’t beaten the Timbers away from home in their last three meetings, and face a real tough task against their Western Conference rivals.
Portland head coach Caleb Porter will be hoping his side can up their game and ensure nothing is made easy for the Galaxy this weekend as they will want to show that they’re capable of upsetting any challengers who make the trip to Providence Park.Embed from Getty Images
The Western Conference already has four teams on three points and the Timbers cannot afford to fall behind the early pace-setters if they are to push for a playoff spot this season.
LA Galaxy will want to ensure they maintain their winning start and they will also want to win more away games this season to send out a message to those looking to challenge them for their MLS Cup title.
Portland Timbers have three major injury concerns out for a large proportion of the season as Will Johnson (broken leg), Diego Valeri and Ben Zemanski (both torn ACL) are all set to miss the opening months of the new season. They could also be without Diego Chara (bruised calf).Embed from Getty Images
LA Galaxy look set to be blessed with a fully fit squad and as we know squad depth is majorly important for success. Jose Villarreal, who opened Galaxy’s account for 2015, will be under the spotlight after his impressive first performance of the season and will hope to retain his starting place on the left side of midfield. Jaime Penedo did not play in last week’s opener but he could step back in between the sticks as Brian Rowe had a couple of shaky moments in that 2-0 win.
Portland Timber’s form: D
LA Galaxy’s form: W
Key Stat: Goalfest – These two sides have scored ten between them in their last three meetings and we could be in for a treat if we are to see a similar game to previous ties.
Key Player: Gyasi Zardes – The pacy forward has added pressure to provide this season following the retirement of Landon Donovan and he will be looking to get off the mark on Sunday night.
Portland Timbers 1-2 LA Galaxy – The Galaxy’s squad depth and lack of injuries compared to their opponents will surely be a factor this weekend and their firepower up top should see them make it two wins from two.