MLS – Seattle Sounders v Portland Timbers Preview (21/8/16)

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Seattle preview

The Sounders have generally endured a miserable season but have come back to life in recent weeks. It seems like the sacking of long standing coach Sigi Schmid has been the catalyst for this. Sometimes, a fresh approach is needed and right now Seattle have benefitted from change. Of course, matters have been helped by the arrival of new signing Nicolas Lodeiro. He was one of the most expensive ever transfers in MLS history and you can just feel like he’s given the club a new lease of life. Back to back victories against Orlando & RSL have put them back in the hunt for a playoff place and they now face the side currently in possession of the final spot in the top six. This is a huge match and the biggest rivalry in MLS. The two sets of supporters genuinely hate each other and I expect a really committed game from both. Team news is favourable for Seattle with no new concerns.

Portland preview

Things are starting to go slightly pear shaped again for the reigning MLS Cup champions. It looked like the Timbers were back on track thanks to a nine match unbeaten run, but they followed that up with 3 losses out of 4. Injuries haven't helped their cause. Key man at the back Nat Borchers is ruled out for the rest of the season, Liam Ridgewell has been in and out of the team and a ton of other niggles or suspensions affecting other players has hindered them. Team news is a bit more favourable for this contest but it seems like Portland have lost their sparkle a little bit. If there’s a fixture which will raise the adrenaline levels it’s this one though! They would love to do the double over their arch rivals who they beat just over a month ago. The Timbers have a bad record at this stadium, only ever beating Seattle once at Centurylink field in their whole MLS history.

Conclusion & betting analysis

I certainly give the edge to Seattle here. It seems to me like both teams could be heading in opposite directions. The Sounders suddenly look a force again and are playing with more confidence. Portland meanwhile, are in one of their slump periods and could probably do without this fixture right now. I know better than to write off the defending MLS champions though, especially in a big derby fixture where both sides will be giving 110% effort. I’m not really sure how Seattle can be as short as 1.65 on a -0.5 asian handicap. This is a silly price and totally no value whatsoever. I do however think Seattle will win the match so I’m not going to get involved backing the visitors in any form. The bet I like for the game is over 2.5 goals. The majority of Timbers fixtures in 2016 have ended over 2.5 with both teams scoring. Now Seattle are looking more confident in front of goal I think it’s a fairly obvious pick, especially when odds of 1.85 are offered. This goal line should be 2.75 around the same price so I think there’s some good value to be had here.

Prediction: 2-1
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.85 (minimum odds acceptable 1.65)

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