New York Red Bulls vs Portland Timbers | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: New York Red Bulls vs Portland Timbers

Red Bull Arena – Saturday, March 10 2018 – 19:00 ET (00:00 GMT)

New York Red Bulls vs Portland Timbers: Preview

New York Red Bulls begin their 2018 MLS season at home to Portland Timbers on Saturday evening and should be in high spirits following their historic midweek win away at Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League.

The Red Bulls didn’t play on MLS opening weekend but they begin at home here and will be looking to get off to the best possible start. The squad will be high in confidence following that 2-0 CCL win on the road in Mexico on Tuesday but all focus now needs to be on the upcoming game.

Jesse Marsch will no doubt have one eye on the second-leg clash with Tijuana at Red Bull Arena on Tuesday and so some changes are expected to be made to the squad. Major offseason signing Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra could make his first start although the likes of Bradley Wright-Phillips and Daniel Royer could be rested.

Portland will be looking to capitalise on a weakened Red Bulls side as they look to bounce back following their opening weekend loss at LA Galaxy. The Timbers fell 2-1 and will be disappointed with the way they defended over the course of that match.

New Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese’s will be in familiar territory for his second MLS game, having joined Portland from New York Cosmos, where he won three NASL league titles in five years. Savarese is expecting to have plenty of friends and family inside Red Bull Arena, so he’ll be desperate to get a result.

This will be the second of five-straight away games for Portland as a result of ongoing construction work to Providence Park. The Timbers will be boosted by the fact they’ve not lost either of their last two trips to Red Bull Arena (1W 1D). They also won the only meeting last season, picking up a 2-0 home win back in August.

New York Red Bulls vs Portland Timbers: Team News

New York Red Bulls

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: None.

[Check out all of the Red Bulls’ key transfer business ahead of their 2018 season opener by clicking the image above]

Portland Timbers

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Diego Chara (foot).

🚑 Out: Vytas (thigh), Jeff Attinella (thigh), Roy Miller (achilles).

New York Red Bulls vs Portland Timbers: Key Stats

New York Red Bulls’ MLS form: N/A

Portland Timbers’ MLS form: L

Key stat: The New York Red Bulls are unbeaten in their last eight regular season home games, last losing to NYCFC in June. Since then, they have won four and drawn four at Red Bull Arena, keeping a clean sheet in half those games.

 New York Red Bulls vs Portland Timbers: Prediction

New York Red Bulls 1-1 Portland Timbers: A full strength Red Bulls side would probably run out winners here for their opening game of the season. But with changes expected to be made ahead of their Champions League second-leg, Portland will expect to get a result themselves. The Timbers struggled defensively at LA Galaxy last weekend and must improve here, but they have goals in them and will be expecting to cause the Red Bulls trouble. New York still have enough depth to cope with a busy early season schedule but they might have to settle for a point on Saturday.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Portland Timbers

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, July 10 –  18:00 ET (23:00 BST)

Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 4/6 – Draw 14/5 – Portland 4/1

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls host the Portland Timbers on Sunday night in a battle between two of Major League Soccer’s underperforming clubs.

The Red Bulls recovered from a terrible start to climb to the top end of the Eastern Conference. But they have not won in three weeks and lost to arch rivals NYCFC for the first time last Sunday.

That result will have left Jesse Marsch frustrated, as his side didn’t really look like scoring, and so an immediate response will be expected here.

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A return to Red Bull Arena following three consecutive road games will give the side a boost but they must start picking up more wins if they are to challenge New York City for the Eastern Conference title come the end of the season.

Portland enter the weekend outside the playoff spots in the West. They are seventh and have not looked like the side that went on to win the MLS Cup last term.

Caleb Porter knows his side are capable of better and they now have 16 games to ensure they finish in the top six.

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The Timbers need to win more regularly. They might be unbeaten in six games coming into this one, but they have not won back-to-back games all year – a record they will need to change quickly.

This will be just the seventh meeting between the two sides. The Red Bulls have won three of the previous six clashes, with the Timbers’ only victory coming at Red Bull Arena in 2014.

Team News

The Red Bulls will be without Damien Perrinelle, Kemar Lawrence and Tyler Adam, who are all injured. There are also two defensive blows for Jesse Marsch to deal with, as Aurelien Collin and Chris Duvall are both suspended as a result of yellow card accumulation. Lloyd Sam has left the club in a trade to DC United and is therefore no longer a part of the team.

Portland are definitely without Adam Kwarasey yet again, while Liam Ridgewell and Diego Valeri both look likely to miss out with injuries too. Diego Chara is one booking away from suspension and will need to watch his step.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ last five: W/W/L/D/L

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

Key Stat: Form – The Red Bulls have won each of their last five home matches in MLS, keeping a clean sheet in each of their past four.

Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – The Red Bulls need their star striker to start firing the club to success over the remainder of the season. He has only netted one in his last four, but he tends to find the net more often at home. Him and Fanendo Adi are tied on nine goals so a key striker battle will unfold on Sunday evening.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 1-1 Portland Timbers – The Timbers have not been good enough. There are no two ways about that. The reigning MLS Cup Champions have failed to build any sort of form this season and the absence of Diego Valeri will do little to help their chances. They are unbeaten in six but have yet to win away from home in 2016. The Red Bulls, however, have hit a poor run of form and so a tight affair is expected on Sunday evening. Score draw.