Gallery: Exclusive images as Dempsey rescues Seattle a point in 2-2 draw at Portland

Heineken MLS Rivalry Week was rounded off with a typically dramatic Cascadia Cup clash as the Seattle Sounders scored in the dying seconds of the game to earn a point in a dramatic 2-2 draw at Portland Timbers’ Providence Park on Sunday night.

The Sounders took the lead inside the first half an hour as Joevin Jones scored from his own rebounded shot, but the game turned on its head just before halftime. Brad Evans brought Darlington Nagbe down inside his own box, denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, which led to the Timbers being awarded a penalty and Evans being sent for a very early shower.

Fanendo Adi scored his 50th MLS goal from the spot to get the Timbers supporters on their feet, and they wasted no time in taking advantage of their numerical advantage as Dairon Asprilla headed the hosts in front in first-half stoppage time.

The Sounders went in down a goal and down a man. But they had Clint Dempsey to turn to. The attacker was a surprise omission from the starting lineup but Brian Schmetzer’s choice paid dividends. He sent Dempsey on for Jordan Morris in the 56th minute and it proved decisive.

The scorching heat caused by a heatwave in the Pacific Northwest meant that kickoff had to be delayed, but Seattle showed great character and even better fitness levels to stay in the game and they were rewarded when Dempsey rose above Amobi Okugo in the 94th minute to head in a Roman Torres cross to ensure the points were shared.

The result moves Portland up to third in the Western Conference, five points of leaders Sporting KC, while Seattle stay eighth but are just one point outside the top six. Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s match below, courtesy of MLSGB Photographer Denise McCooey.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – Montreal Impact vs. Portland Timbers
Venue: Stade Saputo – Saturday, May 20 – 15:00 ET (20:00 BST)
Match Odds – Montreal Impact 5/4 – Draw 23/10 – Portland Timbers 2/1

Match Preview

Montreal Impact host Portland Timbers on Saturday as they look to climb off the bottom of the Eastern Conference. With the Impact currently sitting fifteen points off top spot Toronto, a win is priority for a club that should be challenging for a playoff spot at the very least.

With just two wins from ten thus far, it’s fair to say Montreal are struggling. We put it down to as mentioned in previous weeks, an over-reliance on Ignacio Piatti as well as ill-discipline. With three red cards already, the Impact have been in the book way too often.

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They lost 3-2 at home to Columbus last weekend and have now suffered defeat in back-to-back home games after a run of six unbeaten beforehand.

Portland have dropped off after a good start. After winning their first three, the Timbers looked fresh and exciting, but with one win in their last five they have fallen off the pace and need to bounce back.

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Their recent away form has also been something to worry about as they have only managed two wins in their last 22 trips in the league, including their disappointing 3-0 drubbing at the hands of San Jose two weeks ago.

This genuinely feels like a game that has balance to it, we expect a cagey start but this game can open up very quickly as both sides will feel three points are manageable.

Team News

Montreal Impact will be missing Andres Romero (hamstring), Victor Cabrera (ankle) and Matteo Mancosu (thigh) through injury. Shamit Shome is a doubt with a foot injury.

Portland Timbers are without Gbenga Arokoyo, who is out for the season with an achilles tear, while Chance Myers is out with a hamstring injury. Darlington Nagbe and Jeff Attinella are doubts with hamstring injuries themselves.

Key Points

Montreal Impact’s last five: W/D/W/L/D

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

Key Stat: Montreal haven’t beaten Portland at home in MLS since April 2012.

Key Player: Fanendo Adi –  The Nigerian frontman has been in the goals once again this season. With six so far, he is the Timbers’ top scorer and will be tough to keep quiet here.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 1-2 Portland Timbers – Portland’s recent form will give Montreal hope of taking something away from the game but ultimately we expect an away win, given how good Portland are on the attack and how generous the Impact defence has been this year.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Atlanta United

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Atlanta United
Venue: Providence Park – Sunday, May 14th – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)
Match Odds: Portland 7/10 – Draw 14/5 – Atlanta 100/30

Match Preview

Portland Timbers welcome Atlanta United to Providence Park for their first ever MLS clash on Sunday night, with both sides looking for three points to lift spirits after disappointing runs of form.

Both Portland and Atlanta started the season in great form and have proven to be two of the most entertaining sides going forwards when on song. However, they both enter the weekend off the back of poor away losses and need to pick back up quickly.

The Timbers have only won one of their last four and picked up just one point from back-to-back road trips to Dallas and San Jose. A return home should give them a platform to get back to winning ways but they will need Diego Valeri back as they’ve struggled in his absence.

Valeri has missed the past two games with a hip injury but is listed as ‘questionable’ for Sunday’s game and therefore could make a welcome return. If he isn’t healthy, the Timbers will need to dog dip to pull a win out the bag.

Atlanta arrive at Portland off the back of a disappointing 3-1 loss at NYCFC, in which they paid the price for two lapses in concentration in quick succession during last weekend’s game at Yankee Stadium.

Tata Martino is learning about the league with each game, while his players are still adapting to his tactical demands. They have shown glimpses of real quality but need to now perfect their game plan week by week.

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It’s tough for any expansion side to succeed when they come into MLS but Atlanta’s job has been made even more difficult after playing six of their first nine games on the road. A great start to life in Major League Soccer only raised expectations but they must now work on finding some consistency.

Sunday’s game in Portland offers Atlanta a really tricky test but they do have back-to-back home games against Houston and New York City FC coming up so they will look to take something promising into those fixtures with a solid result here.

Team News

Diego Valeri could make his return from a hip injury here. He is listed as ‘questionable’, along with fellow playmaker Darlington Nagbe, who is nursing a hamstring strain. Gbenga Arokoyo and Chance Myers are definitely out, while the same applies to Jack Gleeson and Ben Zemanski.

Josef Martinez is still out for Atlanta, who desperately need to get their pacey striker back as soon as possible. Jacob Peterson will also miss out again as he continues to deal with a leg injury.

Key Points

Portland Timbers’ form: W/L/W/D/L

Atlanta United’s form: D/L/W/L/L

Key Stat: Portland and Atlanta are the two leading scorers in MLS so far this season, coming into the weekend, having netted 39 goals in 19 games between them.

Key Player: Fanendo Adi – With or without Valeri, Adi will need to make himself a real nuisance for the Atlanta defence on Sunday if the hosts are to prevail. He has scored six goals and added two assists in nine games so far.

Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 3-1 Atlanta United – We’re expecting goals in what should be an open and entertaining contest between two of the league’s most attacking sides on Sunday. Both need to win after poor losses last week but the home advantage gives Portland a major edge and they should be able to get the job done in front of their own fans.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Seattle Sounders

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders

Venue: Providence Park – Sunday, August 28 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

Match Odds: Portland 21/20 – Draw 12/5 – Seattle 12/5

Match Preview

The Portland Timbers go to battle with the Seattle Sounders for the second-straight week in another crucial clash, with the sides separated by just a point in the Western Conference playoff race.

Portland are in a terrible run of form, losing four of their last five. They fell 3-1 in Seattle last weekend and need to bounce back immediately if they are to remain on course for a place in the postseason.

Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers 2016 Steven Taylor Liam Ridgewell

The Timbers don’t look like the same team that went on to win the 2015 MLS Cup but Caleb Porter still has time to turn things around this term. A win here would be enormous.

Seattle head to Providence Park in high spirits. They are now unbeaten in five after following up the win over Portland with a 1-1 draw in Houston on Wednesday, thanks to a last-gasp strike from Nicolas Lodeiro.

The Sounders looked dead and buried a month ago but things have turned around dramatically and they will now expect to make the top six in the West.

They won’t be able to call on Clint Dempsey this weekend, and that will be a real blow for interim head coach Brian Schmetzer.

Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers 2016 Clint Dempsey

This season’s Cascadia Cup series is set to go down to the wire. Vancouver and Portland are currently tied on six points, with Seattle on three, so the Sounders need to win this if they are to claim a third series win in six years.

Team News

Portland Timbers are still without Nat Borchers, while Zarek Valentin, Ben Zemanski and Darren Mattocks are all doubts. Fanendo Adi will be pushing for a start after having to come off the bench in last weekend’s loss in Seattle.

Seattle will be without last week’s hero, Clint Dempsey, as he is undergoing tests for an irregular heartbeat. Nicolas Lodeiro should be available, despite having an international match against Argentina to play on Thursday. Aaron Kovar and Roman Torres are still out.

Key Points

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

Seattle Sounders’ last five: D/W/W/W/D

Key Stat: None of the last nine clashes between these sides has ended in a draw. Seattle have won six of the last nine, with Portland edging just three matches.

Key Player: Fanendo Adi – The powerful striker should have started last week’s game in Seattle. He proved that by scoring late on and will now be looking to hurt the Sounders in front of his own fans here. He has scored six goals against Seattle since 2014 and will be looking to provide the spark the Timbers need on Sunday.

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Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-1 Seattle Sounders – The Sounders are in great form coming into this one, but the loss of Clint Dempsey significantly hampers their chances. Portland know this is an enormous clash and they cannot afford to drop three more points against their Cascadia rivals. Home support should help the Timbers narrowly edge this one.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: Providence Park – Sunday, June 26 – 23:00 BST (18:00 EDT)

Match Odds: Portland Timbers 4/5 – Draw 13/5 – Houston Dynamo 7/2

Match Preview

Portland Timbers host Houston Dynamo on Sunday night, live on Sky Sports 2 for UK fans. Both sides are searching for some form as they both hunt a playoff place in the Western Conference but both need to recover from a poor first-half of the campaign to do so.

Portland have been a shadow of the side that won the MLS Cup last year. Injuries have affected the side that lost depth in the offseason, but their results have not been good enough regardless.

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Portland will be hoping to regain some form with Darlington Nagbe coming back into the side and Caleb Porter knows they still have a great chance of making the playoffs, as they sit just a point outside the top six heading into the weekend.

Houston were meant to progress this year, but that hasn’t happened and Owen Coyle’s exit has done little to help their position at the bottom of the West.

The Dynamo are without a win in four and have now drawn three on the bounce. They are stuttering through the season and will need a miraculous turnaround if they are to enjoy success from this point.

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Both sides need to start winning matches. This is a great chance for the Dynamo to end their barren away run, although Portland will fancy their chances of closing the gap in the Western Conference playoff race in front of their own fans.

Team News

Portland Timbers will be without goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey, who remains out until early July. Alvas Powell and Darren Mattocks are both doubts.

Houston Dynamo are only missing Rob Lovejoy, who has an ankle problem.

Key Points

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

Houston Dynamo’s last five: W/L/D/D/D

Key Stat: Houston Dynamo haven’t won away in their last 16 matches in MLS.

Key Player: Fanendo Adi – The Nigerian international will lead the line for Portland once again on Sunday and we are expecting him to play a huge part in this one. He is the second-highest goalscorer in the league with nine and will hope to add to that tally here.

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Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-0 Houston Dynamo – Given Houston’s poor away form and the fact that Portland have won four of their last five at home, all signs point towards a Portland win here. The Dynamo have had a tough season and their road troubles don’t look set to improve on Sunday night.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Saturday, June 18 – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST) 

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 5/4 – Draw 12/5 – Portland Timbers 21/20

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake welcome Portland Timbers to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday as Major League Soccer returns following the international break.

Real Salt Lake won their last MLS outing, away against New York City in that thrilling 3-2 tie. They’ll be hoping for a repeat this weekend in front of goal, but will have looked at tightening up at the back.

Jeff Cassar’s side played in the US Open Cup during the international break, where they won on penalties after they came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in normal time.

Real Salt Lake are currently 3rd in the Western Conference, trailing top spot by five points. They will feel like their impressive home form can continue to push them in the right direction.

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Portland Timbers won in their last MLS outing too. Their 1-0 win over San Jose extended their unbeaten run to three as they look to continue to improve on what has been a below-par start to the season.

Caleb Porter’s side also played in the US Open Cup during the break, repeating their win again San Jose, beating them 2-0 this time around.

Portland are sitting 7th in the West but have closed the gap on the top six to just one point. They have to make sure they finish in the top six to avoid an embarrassing attempt to defend their MLS title and that means improved results are needed now.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers

Team News

Real Salt Lake currently have no injuries or suspensions. They will however be without Kyle Beckerman, who remains on international duty with US Men’s National Team.

Portland Timbers have three injury concerns as Alvas Powell, Adam Kwarasey and Darren Mattocks all look set to miss out.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake’s form: L/L/W/L/W

Portland Timbers’ form: L/L/W/D/W

Key Stat: Real Salt Lake have won their last four games at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Key Player: Fanendo Adi – If Portland are to continue their run of form and end RSL’s home streak they will need their key man to be on form. He has netted eight goals so far this season and is always a threat.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers

Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 1-1 Portland Timbers – A cagey return to MLS for both of these sides is expected. Portland had just found form before the break, while Real Salt Lake have been impressive at home in recent outings. Score draw.

MLS Fantasy Focus: Make the most of the DGW ahead of Round 10

By Jamie Dawe and Sam Martin

The headlines from Round 9 have all been about Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain’s mid-game row. Their exchange of words over a penalty that would have secured Kamara his hat trick – but was eventually taken by Higuain – is a story that has travelled around the world. It marred an incredible eight-goal game, but in this week’s Fantasy Focus, we promise to focus on the football being played, not the spats off the ball!

Round 9 Review 

The Good:

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The MAPFRE Stadium, home to Columbus Crew, undoubtedly provided us with the game of the weekend, where an incredible eight goals were scored in the 4-4 draw between the Crew and Montreal Impact. It had been a disappointing start to the season for Columbus, but two goals from both Kei Kamara ($11.1) and Federico Higuaín ($10.5) put Columbus 4-1 up with just over 30 minutes to play. Remarkably, the Impact came back from the dead to salvage a point thanks to Ignacio Piatti ($10.6), Didier Drogba ($11.8) and a last minute goal from Dominic Oduro ($7.6). We have once again entered the familiar territory of Piatti gaining the most points of any player this week – with an astounding 18! While Montreal may top the Eastern Conference, Colorado Rapids are the shock leaders of the Supporters’ Shield standings, following a 1-0 home victory against an equally impressive Real Salt Lake. Jermaine Jones ($8.2) netted the goal that was the difference between the two sides to earn his side three crucial points and further cement his place as one of the league’s top players even after his unceremonious exit from New England. Robbie Keane ($11.7) may have been sidelined with injuries for most of this campaign, but the Irishman netted a brace in the Galaxy’s fifth win of the campaign, picking up 13 points in his 59 minutes on the field. Furthermore, it couldn’t possibly be a good weekend without Seattle’s Jordan Morris ($8.3) getting a mention. The forward has now scored in four straight matches as Seattle won their fourth-straight home game against San Jose on Saturday.

The Bad:

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The only red card of the weekend was collected by Orlando’s Cristian Higuita ($6.7), who was sent off late on in his side’s 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls. OCSC are now on a run of five games without a win and with star turns Kaka ($10.8) and Cyle Larin ($9.2) in their side – it is fair to expect more from the men in purple. Meanwhile, Dallas failed to score and lost for the third consecutive outing. It has to be worrying the Texans with forward Maximiliano Urruti ($8.5) needing to regain the form that got him three goals in the opening four MLS games. Portland Timbers’ winless away run continued after defeat at Vancouver, while Sporting Kansas City also suffered a defeat away to Houston Dynamo. SKC are now winless in six after winning four of their opening five. Designated Players Benny Feilhaber ($10.9) and Graham Zusi ($10.1) will be expected to produce their finest form in the coming weeks, starting with this week’s DGW.

Round 10 Preview

Double Gameweek Must-Haves:

Jermaine Jones ($8.2):

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The Rapids are in tremendous form and it was sparked by Jermaine Jones’ entrance to the team. Fresh from his contract dispute with the Revs and his six-match ban for making repeated physical contact with referee Mark Geiger, the fire is very much within Jones’ play. Thrust into a more attacking role, he’s playing as well as he ever has – even at the age of 34.

Andrew Wenger ($7.2):

Houston have finally returned to some sort of form with a win over SKC and Wenger was instrumental in achieving the victory. Fixtures against San Jose and Real Salt Lake aren’t easy – but they’re certainly not the most difficult cards to be dealt at this point in the season. I would be shocked if Wenger didn’t pick up 10 points across the two games this week. If you don’t fancy Wenger, teammate Alex ($6.1) is bound to pick up a solid number of points at a cheap price.

Fanendo Adi ($10.3):

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The pinpoint in the Timbers’ MLS Cup winning attack, Adi is in fine form and with Diego Valeri ($10.5) pulling the strings behind him, he looks set to keep firing in goal after goal. He may be whisked away for international duty with Nigeria in Round 12, but he will be back in a flash – unlike other forward options like Giles Barnes ($8.5) and Chris Wondolowski ($10.7), who will exiting the league for the Copa America Centenario.

Maynor Figueroa ($6.7):

This is a risky one. Dallas may’ve lost three on the trot, but the former Wigan defender has performed solidly throughout and is still garnering plenty of bonus points. If Dallas were to keep a clean sheet in either of their two home games this week against the Sounders or the Timbers, it would be a shame to miss out on almost certain double figures. It’s also hard to ignore that Dallas are the only side to play both their games at home this week and Figueroa represents a solid pick.

Which players will you transfer in for Round 10’s DGW?

MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. Portland Timbers

Stadium: Gillette Stadium – Wednesday, April 27 – 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT)

Match Odds: New England 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – Portland 5/2

Match Preview

New England Revolution welcome Portland Timbers to Gillette Stadium on Wednesday night as both sides kick off the first of their double game week.

New England sit 7th in the Eastern Conference and come into this one off the back of their 3-0 away defeat against DC United.

Jay Heaps will be concerned about his sides recent form, as they have now failed to win in three games, they are going to have to turn that form around in order to work their way back up the East. It is far from devastating news for the Revs as they have drawn two of those three outings.

The Revs are unbeaten at home this season, winning one and drawing the other two and they have only conceded once at Gillette Stadium in 2016. New England face Orlando on Saturday so they’ll be looking to get off to a good start in their double game week here.

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Portland Timbers find themselves in lowly 8th in the Western Conference, a far from pleasing position for the Timbers fans.

Caleb Porter’s side have come up short so far this season and look a shadow of the side who won the MLS Cup last season, they’re going to have to improve on their performances if they are to force their way up the table.

All is not bad for Portland, who come into this one off the back of a great 3-1 home win against San Jose Earthquakes, their first win since their opening game of the season.

The Timbers are yet to win away from home this season and they’ll be hoping this will be the game to end an unbeaten run away from home against New England dating back to 2011. Portland face Toronto in the second outing of their double game week, so they need to make sure they come out of these two games with a respectable amount of points.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers

Team News

New England Revolution have just three injury concerns as Steve Neumann is expected to miss out, while Juan Agudelo and Jose Goncalves are both doubts. Heaps has no players nearing suspension.

Portland Timbers have a squad riddled with injuries at this early stage in the season. Andy Thoma, Liam Ridgewell and Alvas Powell are all expected to miss out. Ben Zemanski, Adam Kwarasey, Darren Mattocks and Darlington Nagbe are all doubts. Porter will be also without Diego Valeri who is suspended.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s form: D/W/D/DL

Portland Timbers’ form: D/L/D/L/W

Key Stat: New England Revolution are yet to suffer defeat at home against Portland Timbers.

Key Player: Fanendo Adi – The Portland frontman has netted six goals already this season and he will be full of confidence having scored two last time out, they will need him to be in form if they are to pick up their first away win against New England Revolution.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers

Score Prediction

New England Revolution 2-2 Portland Timbers – New England Revolution have struggled for form of late and face a Portland side who come into this one off the back of a very strong performance, they will be difficult to separate.

MLS Fantasy Focus: Time to invest in Crew attackers for Week 7?

By Jamie Dawe and Sam Martin

Double delirium for the Rapids in Week 6, alongside a duo of poor performances for the Red Bulls made last week a complete reversal of form from the 2015 season. However, FC Dallas have stayed true to last season’s form and top the Supporters’ Shield rankings with 17 points from 8 games, six of which were gained in Week 6 with comfortable wins over SKC and the Timbers. A first goal for Seattle’s Jordan Morris ($8.1) could signal the start of things to come from this much-hyped youngster. Overall, Week 6 was a positive one, with plenty of things to build upon in the coming weeks of the campaign.

Week 6 Review

The Good:

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Only six minutes into his MLS return for Montreal, Didier Drogba’s ($11.5) cheeky back heel leveled the score up at 1-1, as Montreal went on to earn three huge points away to Chicago. Impact teammate Ignacio Piatti ($10.6) netted a stunning 90th-minute winner with a curled effort from the edge of the box in a game dominated by Montreal. Meanwhile, the Sounders’ revival continues as Seattle beat Philadelphia 2-1 with defender Chad Marshall ($8.6) heading home from a corner to score for the second consecutive week. While it may have been a disappointing defeat for New York City, World Cup winning forward ‘El Guaje’, David Villa ($11.3) netted a brace – his third and fourth goals of the season. An emphatic victory for LA Galaxy was was started and continued by a Giovani Dos Santos ($10.9) double, with the Galaxy running away as 4-1 winners in Houston. Portland’s Fanendo Adi ($10.2) also continued his fine form, netting his second brace of the campaign against San Jose. Michael Barrios ($8.1) netted in both of Dallas’ games, which leaves the Western Conference leaders on a six-game unbeaten run. On the theme of unbeaten runs, Real Salt Lake remain the only MLS side yet to lose a league match this season. Juan Manuel Martinez ($8.5) netted early in the second half to make it consecutive 1-0 victories. How long can this incredible run continue for RSL?

The Bad:

Seattle Sounders vs Philadelphia Union Red Card Alberg

Philadelphia midfielder Roland Alberg ($8.1) picked up two yellow cards within 53 minutes of his side’s 2-1 defeat to Seattle. Columbus Crew’s Tyson Wahl ($6.0) conceded a penalty that teammate Michael Parkhurst then saw red for in a case of mistaken identity in his side’s eventual win over NYCFC. Wahl has since been handed the suspension that Parkhurst was wrongly given. Portland’s Diego Valeri ($10.3) also saw red in the dying moments of Portland’s 3-1 triumph, picking up a 90th minute yellow and 95th minute red card. The Red Bulls made it six defeats from seven as the star club from the 2015 season are being let down by key attacking players such as Bradley Wright-Phillips ($10.5), Lloyd Sam ($8.9) and Mike Grella ($7.8), with the team having only netted five goals from their seven matches so far. A club with such high expectations will be expecting to push on sooner rather than later. Houston Dynamo dropped to the bottom of the Western Conference after being outclassed by LA Galaxy, despite taking the lead within the first minute. The Dynamo have only managed one win so far this campaign (admittedly it was a resounding 5-0 romp against Dallas, with this being Dallas’ only defeat). It summarises the thrilling unpredictability of the league!

Week 7 Preview

Must Buy:

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With Columbus finally returning to form in their victory over NYCFC, now’s the time to stock up on their star players. When Kei Kamara ($10.9), Ethan Finlay ($10.7) and Federico Higuain ($10.3) are firing on all cylinders, they are an unbeatable side. Looking ahead to upcoming DGW’s, adding some SKC players would certainly seem wise. Nuno Coelho ($8.3) is quickly building a name for himself in Kansas City, along with their only two other ever-present starters, goalkeeper Tim Melia ($5.7) and French fullback Amadou Dia ($6.0).

Must Sell:

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Chicago Fire only play once in the next three weeks, so budget-hogging players like David Accam ($9.2) and Kennedy Igboananike ($8.1) need to be discarded for now. Portland are relying incredibly heavily on Adi and the now suspended Valeri, and won’t play in Week 7. Even when they do return to action, it might be worth transferring out Lucas Melano ($8.7), who is extremely pricy for a player that’s yet to really shine. Injuries to Marco Pappa ($8.2), Matt Hedges ($9.0) and Alvas Powell ($7.1) mean these three players will be dead weight for at least the next two or three game weeks and replacements should be brought in.

Who will you be transferring in for Week 7?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas

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

Venue: Providence Park – Wednesday, April 13 – 22:30 ET (03:30 GMT)

Match Odds: Portland 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – Dallas 5/2

Match Preview

Portland Timbers host FC Dallas in a key midweek Western Conference clash on Wednesday night, with the Timbers looking to recover after a poor start to the campaign.

Caleb Porter’s side haven’t won since their opening day victory over Columbus. They will be desperate to end their four-game winless run here against a strong Dallas outfit.

The 2016 MLS Cup champions haven’t dealt well with the pressure of trying to defend their title so far, but there is plenty of time left to turn their poor start around. They have two home games in the space of four days to try and climb the Western now, with San Jose visiting on Saturday night.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers

 

One plus for Portland is that they are still a real force on home soil. They have picked up four points from their two home games so far and are now unbeaten in six at Providence Park.

FC Dallas have yet to win in Portland but will be confident of changing that record here. Oscar Pareja’s team have only lost one of their first six games and come into this one unbeaten in four.

Back-to-back home draws will have left supporters slightly disappointed, although Dallas remain at the top end of both the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings, sitting just one point behind Sporting Kansas City at this stage.

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A win on Wednesday night would move them to the top of the standings, though they will have played two games more than their nearest challengers.

This is a key battle between two clubs that entered the season with very high expectations. It may only be April, but this is a big game for both.

These two most recently met in the Western Conference Final of the MLS Cup Playoffs back in November. Portland advanced to the MLS Cup Final following a 5-3 aggregate win over two-legs.

The Timbers beat Dallas 3-1 in the home leg in November and also won by the same scoreline during the regular season meeting at Providence Park.

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Team News

Portland are likely to be without Darlington Nagbe for Wednesday’s game after he was on the wrong end of a horrendous Nigel De Jong tackle on Sunday night. If he misses out, he will join Ben Zemanski, Liam Ridgewell and Andy Thoma on the sidelines.

FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja may name an unchanged side to the team that drew with San Jose on Saturday. Mauro Diaz is expected to miss out again, while Alex Zendejas is sidelined with a pelvic problem.

Key Points

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

FC Dallas’ last five: L/W/W/D/D

Key Stat: Portland have yet to lose a home game against FC Dallas since joining MLS in 2011 (P7 W5 D2).

Key Player: Fanendo Adi – The powerful Nigerian striker has been a shining light through a dark spell for the Timbers. He has four goals in five outings and has scored three of those in Portland’s only two home games so far. Expect him to be a dangerous attacking threat from the outset.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers

Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-1 FC Dallas – This is set to be a hard-fought battle between two of the league’s strongest sides. Portland have struggled so far but they are a force at home and need the win here more than Dallas. That should see them pick up three points, though it won’t be easy. If Mauro Diaz misses out for Dallas once again, it will be tough to see them leaving Portland with a fourth win of the campaign so a home win is looking likely.