MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids

Venue: Providence Park – Sunday, October 16 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

Match Odds: Portland 5/6 – Draw 12/5 – Colorado 3/1

Match Preview

Portland Timbers host Colorado Rapids in a crunch Western Conference clash on the penultimate weekend of the 2016 regular season on Sunday evening.

Portland come into the game outside of the top six and need a win to keep hopes of retaining their MLS Cup title alive.

The Timbers have lost their last two on the spin – the most recent coming away at Colorado – and are now two points behind Sporting KC in the race for the postseason.

They need a win here, and need SKC to pick up no more than a point at RSL if they are to move into the top six ahead of the final week.

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Caleb Porter’s side are struggling for form but they are still a force at home, having won their last five in front of their own fans. They need to keep that run going here.

Colorado come into the game top of the Supporters’ Shield standings after beating San Jose on Thursday night. It’s an incredible turnaround and they will now have their sights on securing the title over the last two weeks.

The Rapids have won their last three on the spin and are set to enter the playoffs in great form. They have the best defensive record in the league and are very tough to break down.

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However, they have conceded five goals in their last two away games and that will give Portland confidence ahead of what is a crucial fixture for both sides.

Their previous meetings this season both came in Colorado, with a 0-0 draw in July followed by a 1-0 home win just two weeks ago.

Team News

Portland are still without centre-back Nat Borchers, while Darren Mattocks is listed as ‘questionable’. Gbenga Arokoyo is a doubt.

Colorado will be without Jermaine Jones once again, who is ruled out along with Bobby Burling and Dillon Serna. Marlon Hairston is a doubt with a leg injury but could be passed fit in time to play.

Key Points

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

Colorado Rapids’ last five: D/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Portland have won their last five home games against Colorado, outscoring their Western Conference rivals 11-2.

Key Player: Kevin Doyle – The Rapids’ Irish striker scored twice in midweek to earn three points for his side. He has six goals in 22 appearances but remains a clinical finisher if given the right service.

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Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-1 Colorado Rapids – It’s a massive game for both sides but a loss for Portland could see them eliminated from postseason contention. With that in mind, plus the fact that Colorado have already played twice over the last week, the Timbers could just edge this one to keep playoff hopes alive.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Saturday, August 1 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)

Match Odds: Colorado Rapids 6/4 – Draw 13/5 – LA Galaxy 6/4

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids take on LA Galaxy in a key Western Conference clash on Saturday night, with the Rapids looking to win a fourth straight game as they try and keep playoff hopes alive.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park hosted the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday night as Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni guided the best in Major League Soccer to a 2-1 win over Premier League side Tottenham, and he will now need to turn all attentions back to his very own Colorado side.

Momentum is with the Rapids at the moment. Three straight wins hasn’t lifted them off the bottom of the very tight Western Conference, but has given them hope of making a late surge for the playoffs.

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Colorado have won as many games in the last three weeks as they had over the previous 31 league matches and so something is clearly working.

LA Galaxy travel to Denver off the back of a 3-0 loss away at Houston last weekend, keeping their terrible away record going for at least another week. It’s now been 17 MLS games since they last won on the road and Bruce Arena needs to end that soon or they’ll be in trouble come the playoffs, if they make it as expected.

The arrival of Steven Gerrard has strengthened the Galaxy but they are still four points adrift of FC Dallas at the top of the Western and have played two games more.

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They’ve lost their last three trips to Western opposition and need to ensure that doesn’t become four come the end of play on Saturday night.

The reverse fixture at StubHub Center ended 1-1 back in May as Alan Gordon cancelled out Gabriel Torres’ goal.

Team News

Pablo Mastroeni has four injury concerns coming into this one as Luis Solignac and Dillon Serna are both out, while Axel Sjoberg and Lucas Pittinari are doubts.

LA Galaxy will be without Brian Perk, while Jose Villarreal and Baggio Husidic are doubtful. Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane both pulled out of the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday but are expected to be back in contention to start here.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ last five: L/L/L/W/W

LA Galaxy’s last five: W/L/W/W/L

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have not won in any of their last 17 MLS games away from home.

Key Player: Kevin Doyle – Fresh from scoring the winner at Seattle Sounders last weekend, Doyle will be looking to hurt the Galaxy in front of his own fans.

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Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 2-1 LA Galaxy – Difficult to split the teams but LA can’t win away and Colorado are in fine form. Home advantage will only help their cause as they look to make it four on the bounce on Saturday night.

MLS Fantasy Tips: Gameweek 13 Picks

Gameweek 13 of the MLS season is just around the corner and so it’s time to quickly assess your MLS Fantasy options ahead of what is a hectic round of fixtures.

Six clubs have a Double Gameweek this time around with Colorado Rapids, DC United, LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders all playing twice over the course of the next five days.

Here are the three picks we recommend for the upcoming round of fixtures:

Chad Barrett  – Forward (Seattle Sounders) – $6.7m

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The Sounders frontman has been a worthy replacement for the injured Obafemi Martins in the past couple of weeks and has bagged two goals in his last two starts.

With the Sounders playing twice at home this week, Barrett is a cheaper option than most of his teammates at just $6.7m and should be strongly considered.

Cyle Larin – Forward (Orlando City) – $5.9m

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Cyle Larin is the out-and-out striker for Orlando at the moment and his pace makes him a constant threat.

Orlando play Columbus Crew at the Citrus Bowl this weekend, who are not as strong away from home, so at $5.9m, Larin is a pick many be looking at if they don’t already have him.

Kevin Doyle – Forward (Colorado Rapids) – $8.0m 

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Irish international Doyle is a poacher worth putting in the side but the price may be off-putting at $8.0m, considering he is unproven in MLS.

However, Doyle is known for being a nuisance in the box and could cause both Seattle and Portland problems this week if he can get his first starts in those games.

Who are you putting in your MLS Fantasy team this week?

Kevin Doyle ready to ‘do the business on the pitch’ with the Rapids

Kevin Doyle has revealed he can’t wait to get going with the Colorado Rapids after completing his move to MLS this week.

The Irish striker joins from Wolves after ten consecutive seasons in English football and wants to get training with his new teammates right away.

“I can’t wait to get going,” he told the club’s official YouTube channel. “It seems like it’s been dragging out for a while and I’ve been waiting for the season to end and get over here. So I’m looking forward to training tomorrow.

“I had some DVD’s sent over and I’ve been watching. A couple of game were on TV at the start of the season in the UK so I’ve been keeping up to date and watching.

“There’s been some good results, a lot of draws obviously, but the lads seem to be playing very well. I’ve seen them hit the post and the crossbar an awful lot of times so hopefully that bit of luck will go our way.”

VIDEO: Kevin Doyle talks about his move to MLS with the Rapids (via Colorado Rapids on YouTube):

Doyle also spoke about how Major League Soccer is continuing to grow across the pond and that he is ready to enjoy his experience abroad.

“In Europe, in Ireland and England it’s [MLS] on TV now. It’s grown, more and more people know about it, it’s in the papers more and more and that can only keep going I hope. I hope to be a small part of that and really enjoy my time here.

“It’s a league that’s on the up. I think people are excited to play in America and experience something that’s different to your whole professional life as a soccer player.”

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Doyle is not the only new striker the Rapids have acquired in the past week as Argentine forward Luis Solignac also joined, and the former Reading frontman admits there is extra pressure on them to fire the goals to life Colorado off the bottom of the Western Conference.

“Hopefully the new strikers can help out now and it’s our job to deal with the extra pressure and try to do the business on the pitch.”

Will Kevin Doyle be a hit in MLS with the Colorado Rapids?

Colorado Rapids sign Irish striker Kevin Doyle, will join in summer

The Colorado Rapids have bolstered their attack by confirming the signing of Republic of Ireland striker Kevin Doyle as the club’s third-ever Designated Player.

Doyle will join the Rapids on July 1 on a two-and-a-half year contract, when his current deal with Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers expires at the end of the current season.

The 31-year-old has struggled to see much first-team action with Wolves this season and has been limited to just five appearances, all from the substitute bench, including Friday night’s 2-0 win against Derby County as he came on in the final minute of the game.

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He spent the first half of the current season on loan at Premier League side Crystal Palace but was limited to just three league appearances from the bench in those games too, seeing just 34 minutes of action.

The chance to play regular first-team football in MLS with the Rapids will be something Doyle will be relishing and the Irishman feels it is the perfect time to make the switch stateside.

“I am delighted and very excited to be moving to the Colorado Rapids,” Doyle told the club’s official site.

“With so many great players moving to MLS to join up with the great American talent already there, it’s a great time to play in this league.

“Colorado is a great place to bring up a family. I know from talking to Robbie Keane that MLS is a great league to play in and I look forward to being another top Irish player there.

“I will be sad to leave Wolves, a truly great club that I’ve had the privilege to play for. I will always be grateful to the fans for their support; it is they who make Molineux such a special place.”

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Doyle has bundles of experience and has scored goals at international level as well as in the Premier League, Championship and League One.

The move to MLS will be a new challenge for the two-time Irish Player of the Year and Rapids Technical Director, Paul Bravo thinks he can be the man to make the difference.

“We are truly excited to add Kevin to our roster. We believe he can bring a great deal of experience to our squad having played in the Premier League and at the highest level of international football.

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“We really believe that he will be a difference-maker for us over the course of the next three seasons. His ability to help us in all areas of the offense will be invaluable.

“Kevin has signed a two-and-a-half year contract which will begin on July 1 with a club option for 2018.  He is currently involved in a very close promotion race with Wolverhampton Wanderers and we look forward to him joining us in the near future.”

Is Kevin Doyle a good signing for the Colorado Rapids?

Colorado Rapids turned down Diego Forlan move this offseason

Diego Forlan could have been preparing to play in Major League Soccer with the Colorado Rapids this season but the Western Conference outfit were not prepared to invest in the 35-year-old Uruguayan, as reported by Daniel Boniface in the Denver Post.

Forlan is currently playing in Japan with Cerezo Osaka where he has been for the last 13 months after leaving Brazilian club Internacional, but he does not look set to have a crack at life in MLS before his career comes to an end.

The Rapids have been looking to bring in a quality striker since the 2014 campaign ended and Rapids technical director Paul Bravo revealed the former Manchester United and Atletico Madrid forward was offered to the team in the past few months.

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“He was a guy that was offered up to us,” Bravo said. “I wouldn’t go beyond that. Everybody gets these players thrown out.

“We did have a conversation about him. But it’s probably the same conversation 10 other clubs in this league have had in that same time frame.”

Forlan’s contact with Osaka is set to expire in the summer and so he would be available to sign on a free transfer if he is willing to continue playing the game for at least another six months.

Though at this stage of his career Forlan is not as an attractive an option as he once would have been and it makes sense for MLS clubs across the league to look elsewhere for goal scoring talent.

The Rapids are keeping tabs on Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Kevin Doyle and hope a deal can be reached with the Irishman as his contract is up in the summer too.

Should the Rapids have considered signing Diego Forlan or is Kevin Doyle a better option?

Kevin Doyle receives MLS offer from Colorado Rapids – report

Kevin Doyle has been approached by Major League Soccer side Colorado Rapids over the possibility of a move as the Western Conference side look to bolster their frontline, according to a report by ESPN FC.

The Republic of Ireland international striker only has five months remaining on his current contract with Championship club Wolverhampton Wanderers and could move for free in the summer.

A pre-contract agreement can be negotiated now as Doyle is in the final six months of his current deal and Wolves are not willing to offer him an extension as he is out of favour with the club.

The 31-year-old forward spent the first half of the current campaign on loan with Premier League side Crystal Palace but failed to make much of an impact as he only made three substitute appearances in the league without scoring a goal.

Doyle did find the net once for Palace as he scored in their 4-0 FA Cup win at Dover Athletic in Alan Pardew’s first game in charge but he has now returned to Wolves and is set to see out the remainder of his contract before moving on.

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It is believed that the player would prefer to stay in England but with Colorado showing an interest, Doyle could be persuaded to take up the challenge of playing in MLS with the Rapids.

Colorado struggled last season as they finished in eighth place in the Western Conference but they have been looking at bringing in a proven goalscorer for much of the offseason and have also been linked with Fulham’s Colombian striker Hugo Rodallega.

The Rapids were one of many clubs interested in Erick Torres but the Mexican striker has since moved to the Houston Dynamo and Kevin Doyle could now be Colorado’s primary target.

Doyle has scored 34 goals and picked up 23 assists in 173 appearances for Wolves and has made 61 international appearances for the Republic of Ireland, scoring 14 times for his country.

Would Kevin Doyle be a good signing for the Colorado Rapids?