Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Toronto FC
Venue: Providence Park – Sunday, May 1 – 15:30 ET (20:30 BST)
Match Odds: Portland 1/1 – Draw 5/2 – Toronto 13/5
Portland have hardly played like MLS Cup Champions so far this term, having won just two of their first eight games. They sit eighth in the Western Conference coming into the weekend and that’s nowhere near where the club should be.
Injuries aren’t helping Caleb Porter’s quest to improve results, nor will the short recovery time after the side drew 1-1 in New England on Wednesday night.
The Timbers are a better side at home than away and will be looking for a third victory in front of their fans in this one.
Toronto, however, will offer a stiff and resolute test. The Reds have impressed despite having to play all their games away from home so far and enter the weekend in third place in the East.
Greg Vanney will be delighted with his side’s performances and they come into this one looking for a third consecutive road win for the first time in the club’s history.
The Reds have the best defensive record in MLS at this early stage, having conceded just five times in seven matches. Another clean sheet on Sunday would likely see them leave Portland with three points and that will undoubtedly be the aim.
This will be the seventh MLS meeting between the two clubs. Portland have only won one of the previous six clashes, though that did come in the most recent game at Providence Park back in 2013.
Portland have a number of injury concerns ahead of this one. Andy Thoma, Alvas Powell and Adam Kwarasey are all definitely out, while Liam Ridgewell, Ben Zemanski and Darren Mattocks are doubts. Darlington Nagbe returned to the side on Wednesday night and will hope to start again on Sunday.
Toronto will be without Benoit Cheyrou, Clement Simonin and Jonathan Osorio as all three are sidelined with injuries. Jozy Altidore will likely continue to partner Sebastian Giovinco in a 4-4-2 formation.
Portland Timbers’ last five: L/D/L/D/W
Toronto FC’s last five: L/L/D/W/W
Key Stat: Toronto is trying to win three-straight away games for the first time in franchise history, while also looking to keep three consecutive clean sheets for the first time ever.
Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – It’s impossible to overlook Giovinco. He’s usually the best player on the field whenever he plays. He has scored each of Toronto’s last five goals and will look to hurt the Timbers backline on Sunday as he did in last year’s 1-0 win.
Portland Timbers 1-1 Toronto FC – There is little to choose between these sides heading into Sunday’s game. Toronto may boast the better form but Portland are tough to beat at home. Both will expect to find the net, though ultimately, the points may be shared.