Major League Soccer: Toronto FC vs Portland Timbers
BMO Field – Saturday, August 12 – 18:00 ET (23:00 BST)
Match Odds: Toronto 4/6 – Draw 14/5 – Portland 15/4
Toronto FC vs Portland Timbers: Preview
The Reds are on course for a first Supporters’ Shield title. They have a three-point lead over their nearest chasers but know how quickly things can change in MLS. Their main focus will be continuing to pick up points to prevent the lead from slipping over the final weeks.
Toronto come into the weekend unbeaten in five games. They had to settle for a 1-1 draw away at DC United last weekend. But they’ve won eight of their last nine home games in MLS and remain undefeated at BMO Field all year.
Portland Timbers picked up an important 3-1 win over LA Galaxy last Sunday. That result moved them up to fifth in the West and they are back on track for a playoff spot.
Caleb Porter knows how tough a game this will be for his side. They have never won away at Toronto and have only won one of their last ten road games in MLS.
The Timbers have back-to-back home games against the New York Red Bulls and Colorado Rapids coming up after Saturday’s game. They know they have a better chance of picking up wins in those matches. But that should mean they can have a free roll of the dice at Toronto here.
This will be the only regular season meeting between the two sides this season. Their only chance of meeting again before the year’s up would be if they face off for the 2018 MLS Cup in December. That can’t be ruled out. But goals are expected in what should be an open contest on Saturday.
Toronto FC vs Portland Timbers: Team News
Toronto remain without Steven Beitashour, Benoit Cheyrou and Oyvind Alseth. Other than those three, Greg Vanney has a full squad to choose from.
Portland will be without Roy Miller after he picked up a suspension for yellow card accumulation in Sunday’s win over LA Galaxy. Amobi Okugo and Vytas are doubts. Chance Myers, Gbenga Arokoyo and Marco Farfan are all ruled out through injury.
Toronto FC vs Portland Timbers: Key Points
Toronto FC’s last five: W/D/D/W/D
Portland Timbers’ last five: D/L/W/D/W
Key Stat: Portland have yet to win an away game at Toronto in MLS. The Reds have won three of the four previous clashes at BMO Field, outscoring the Timbers 8-4.
Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Atomic Ant has hit form at the perfect time for Toronto FC. He has scored 11 goals with five assists in 18 games this season. Five of those goals have come in his last seven games. Portland have the fifth-worst defensive record in MLS this season, so don’t be surprised if Giovinco punishes them.
Toronto FC vs Portland Timbers: Prediction
Toronto FC 3-1 Portland Timbers – This should be a really entertaining game between two of the league’s most attacking sides. The Reds are favourites and should extend their lead at the top of the standings. They have the second-best home record in MLS in 2017 and Portland have never won a game at BMO Field. The hosts are top of the table for a reason, so expect them to prove too strong here.