Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers

Toyota Park – Saturday, March 31st 2018 – 18:00 ET (23:00 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football

Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers: Preview

Chicago Fire take on the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening, with both sides still looking for their first win of the 2018 season. Chicago have opened the season with back-to-back losses, while Portland have taken just one point from a possible nine.

The Fire have only played two games but the early signs are worrying. They fell 2-1 at Minnesota United last weekend but lost a crazy game at home to Sporting KC 4-3 in Week 2 to open their campaign. That result was the more concerning, given the fact they looked so poor defensively and that they came from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 with seven minutes left before caving in.

Head coach Veljko Paunovic does have a number of injuries to deal with, which isn’t helping the Fire’s cause. But the concern is that they are in danger of falling a long way behind in a competitive Eastern Conference before they can get their season going.

Portland entered last week’s game at FC Dallas in the same position Chicago are in now, with two losses from two outings. However, they bounced back from a 4-0 drubbing at the Red Bulls by coming from behind to earn a valuable point at Dallas. Sebastian Blanco’s fine strike ensured Giovanni Savarese picked up his first point as an MLS head coach and he’ll now be looking to build on that.

The Timbers are preparing for the fourth of five-straight away games to open the 2018 season. They would love to get a win here, taking their points tally to four from four games. However, they haven’t won any of their last six away games in MLS.

This will be the ninth clash between the two sides and Chicago are still looking for their first win over Portland. The Timbers have won four of the previous eight games, with four ending all square. Their last two meetings have ended level, including last season’s entertaining 2-2 draw at Providence Park.

Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers: Team News

Chicago Fire

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Grant Lillard (knee)

🚑 Out: Matt Polster (knee), Djordje Mihailovic (knee), Michael de Leeuw (knee), Jonathan Campbell (facial fracture), Jorge Corrales (infection).

Portland Timbers

❌ Suspensions: Lawrence Olum (red card)

❓ Doubts: Jeff Attinella (right thigh)

🚑 Out: Vytas (right thigh), Roy Miller (left Achilles).

Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers: Key Stats

Chicago Fire’s MLS form: L/L

Portland Timbers’ MLS form: L/L/D

Key stat: Chicago Fire have scored in a club-record 33 consecutive MLS home matches. In that time, they’ve posted an 18-5-10 record.

Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers: Prediction

Chicago Fire 2-2 Portland Timbers: The past two games between these two have ended all level and that looks likely to be the outcome on Saturday evening too. The Fire will be desperate to get at least a point on the board but know they have defensive problems to address. Portland, meanwhile, will be looking to build on last week’s result at Dallas. Both sides have issues to address but that should lead to an open and entertaining clash.


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