Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers
Venue: StubHub Center – Sunday, April 10 – 21:30 ET (02:30 BST)
Match Odds: LA Galaxy 5/6 – Draw 13/5 – Portland 16/5
Galaxy currently sit fourth in the West after a solid start to the 2016 campaign which has seen them lose just once in their four outings. They come into the tie off the back of their 0-0 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps – a respectable away point which they will look to build upon this weekend.
Bruce Arena will be pleased with how his side are performing in the early stages of the season and his defensive signings have made a great impact, as they have conceded the joint-second fewest amount of goals across both conferences.
Galaxy will be more than up for this tie and as always should be feeling confident at home. They have won nine of their last 11 ties at StubHub Centre and despite their squad being hit by some injuries to key players, LA will fancy their chances here.
Portland Timbers have endured a difficult opening four games to the new season and they must now push on and start to pick up points if they are to stand a chance at retaining their MLS Cup title.
Caleb Porter’s side are sitting 9th, in the depths of the West, and that isn’t where the defending MLS Cup holders would have been expecting to be at the start of the 2016 season. There is no need for Timbers fans to panic as the season is still in its early stages.
Portland were thumped 4-1 away at Orlando last weekend, a result that not many would have predicted, and they need to bounce back into action this time out with a much stronger showing.
The Timbers haven’t travelled well against Galaxy, with last season’s win at StubHub their first in eight attempts. Worryingly for Porter, his side have conceded nine goals in their fours outings, something he will be desperately trying to improve on so Portland can work their way back up the table.
If Portland can take at least a point here it gives them a great foundation to build upon heading into their next two games, which are both at home.
LA Galaxy could be without up to six players for this tie with some key faces missing through injury. Dan Kennedy, Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard are all expected to be out, while Giovani Dos Santos, Jeff Larentowicz and Leonardo are all doubts. There will be added pressure for those filling in, but Galaxy are fortunate to have impressive depth to the squad, so they should be able to manage without those key players.
Portland Timbers have just three injury concerns. Defensive duo Andy Thoma and Liam Ridgewell are out, along with midfielder Ben Zemanski.
LA Galaxy’s form: W/L/W/D
Portland Timbers’ form: W/L/D/L
Key Stat: Goals – These sides have shared an astonishing 24 goals in their last five meetings. If that is anything to go by we should be in for a cracker here.
Key Player: Gyasi Zardes – The Galaxy forward will be expected to step up and provide for his side in the absence in some of their key players. He has netted twice already this season and has the ability to provide opposition defenders will problems.
LA Galaxy 3-1 Portland Timbers – LA Galaxy are more than capable of winning this tie despite having some key faces missing from the squad. Arena will be expecting his side to take advantage of Portland’s recent struggles and continue a very strong run of home form against their opposition. True to recent meetings between these sides there will be plenty of action and goals are to be expected.