MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. Portland Timbers

Venue: BMO Field – Saturday, May 23 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 3)

Match Odds: Toronto 13/10 – Draw 12/5 – Portland 2/1

Match Preview

Toronto FC host the Portland Timbers this weekend in a fixture that usually produces plenty of goals. The Timbers will end their three-game away streak in this tie before heading back to Providence Park next weekend.

Toronto are coming off a hard fought draw away at Gillette Stadium last weekend, taking a point from MLS Cup runners-up New England Revolution in a 1-1 draw. Michael Bradley scored his first goal of the season in that game and will look to build on that on Saturday.

The Reds will be rocked by the news that Jozy Altidore is out for 4-5 weeks with a hamstring injury, as their leading goalscorer was injured and subbed off in the 18th minute last weekend and will definitely miss the upcoming USA games.

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They have acquired ten points so far this season, a number not to be sniggered at, with eight games played away from home so far this season due to work being done on BMO Field. The home loss to Houston Dynamo was demoralising and didn’t do any favours for head coach Greg Vanney and he will be hoping for a positive result from Saturday’s match.

Vanney is still under pressure to deliver results and a win here could ease some of that pressure as back-to-back home games are on the horizon for Toronto, and that could see them deliver maximum points and bring some confidence back into the side.

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The Timbers have been rather underwhelming so far this season with three wins, four draws and four losses so far. They sit ninth in the Western Conference and their stop-start campaign is what could hamper their chances of finishing in the playoff spots come the end of season.

The acquisition of MLS veteran Nat Borchers from Real Salt Lake has seen the experienced defender become an important part of the defence and also the attack. He is the Portland Timbers’ second-highest goalscorer so far this season with two goals and has a good partnership with Liam Ridgewell at the back.

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Fanendo Adi is the leading goalscorer as he has four of the team’s ten so far. The Nigerian needs to keep up that momentum and lead his team into Western Conference playoff places now, as the Timbers are only three points off tenth place in the Western, but also three points off sixth.

Portland are sitting 12th in the form table and something needs to change quickly. This is an away fixture Portland haven’t enjoyed in the past as they have failed to win on their previous three visits to Toronto.

Last season, the two sides played out a classic, resulting in a 3-2 victory for Toronto FC back in September.

Team News

As mentioned for Toronto, Jozy Altidore will miss the game with a hamstring strain. Clement Simonin will miss out after surgery on his knee, while there are doubts over Steven Caldwell, Robbie Findley (both achilles) and goalkeeper Joe Bendik (foot).

Portland Timbers will still be without Will Johnson, who is recovering from his broken leg, while Michael Nanchoff (hernia) and Ben Zemanski (torn ACL) are both still out too.

Key Points

Toronto’s last five: L/W/W/L/D

Portland Timbers’ last five: W/L/D/W/L

Key Stat: There have been 19 goals in the last five meetings between these two.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – Although fellow new signing Jozy Altidore is out for the foreseeable future, Giovinco has four goals himself and will look to penetrate the leaky Portland defence that have conceded twelve so far this season.

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Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-2 Portland Timbers – This fixture often sees goals and this one will be no different as a new look attack for Toronto could see more chances for goals. Portland Timbers have Diego Valeri back, while Fanendo Adi is pushing to add to his tally. It could be goals, goals, goals in this one.