- Portland Timbers v LA Galaxy
- Saturday, March 25, 15:30 EST
- Providence Park
Both teams need a win going into this weekend’s clash at Providence Park, but given their current form, the draw looks the best pick in this battle of the West.
Who do Bettors Favor?
The best-rated online sportsbooks suggest that there is little to choose between these two struggling Western Conference teams. Bettors favor Portland, with the home advantage, but not by a huge margin. The host team is a +132 favorite, while the visiting LA Galaxy is rated at around +200, though some bookmakers go as high as +211. The draw, meanwhile, is priced at +250 across the books.
|Portland v LA Galaxy|
Portland Struggling in Poor Run
After a promising start to the 2023 MLS season, the slump for the Portland Timbers began on matchday two and its poor run now stretches to three defeats. It also has the second-worst defense in the West after allowing ten goals in its last three games
The only positive that head coach Giovanni Savarese can draw is that his players have had no problem finding the net. In each of the club’s four games this season, they have scored at least once, and two of their three defeats were only by a single goal. Three weeks ago, Portland Timbers trailed Los Angeles FC 3-0 but nearly completed a late comeback before falling 3-2. In the following match, it surrendered a one-goal lead and fell 2-1 to St. Louis City.
Savarese utilized a 4-2-3-1 formation in the first two matches of the season, but then switched to a defensive 5-3-2 formation, which strangely seemed to make the team more vulnerable in defence and after conceding five against Atlanta, he ditched that plan, so a four-man defense is likely here.
Winless Galaxy Yet to Shine
If Galaxy fans thought that the success of city rival LAFC in winning the MLS Cup last season would galvanize their team to raise their game this year, they have so far been disappointed.
Three games into the new season and Galaxy has yet to record a win. The opening-day defeat against Dallas was a big setback and although Galaxy earned a point in game two against Kansas, it was extremely fortunate not to lose that one as well, given how comprehensively it was outplayed.
There were promising signs against Vancouver last weekend as Galaxy finally started to show some form and had the better of the game but was unable to turn that initiative into goals and once again came away with just a point. These are early days in the season, of course, but no team wants to fall too far behind and a positive performance is essential in Portland this weekend from a team that has yet to shine.
MLS Betting Head-to-Head
This is set to be the 32nd time these two clubs have met in the MLS and the head-to-head record shows that they have been closely matched over the years. In previous meetings, Portland Timbers has finished on top 11 times, whereas LA Galaxy has won 13 games and seven have finished in draws.
Galaxy has the upper hand in recent meetings. In the last four fixtures between these teams, the LA side is undefeated with three victories and one tie. Last time they met, in June last year, Dejan Joveljic scored an equalizer in the 88th minute to earn a point at Dignity Health Sports Park.
However, while the total head-to-head record slightly favors LA Galaxy, the Providence Park stats make good reading for this weekend’s hosts. Eight of the past 15 league matches in Portland Timbers’ backyard have resulted in victories for Portland, while LA Galaxy has just won four of those games.
MLS Team News
The team news remains bleak for Portland, which is without eight potential starters for this game. Five players: Felipe Mora, Sebastian Blanco, Dairon Asprilla, Tega Ikoba and David Ayala, all have knee problems, while Yimmi Chara and key midfielder Cristhian Paredes are missing with hamstring injuries and attacking midfielder Evander is suffering from a hip issue.
Things are not quite so bad for Galaxy, but it has four players out and all of them are regarded as significant. The biggest absentees are the team’s two leading strikers: Douglas Costa and Javier Hernandez. Costa is out with a calf injury, while last season’s leading scorer Hernandez is likely to take a while to recover from his hamstring injury, leaving the team severely weakened up front.
Galaxy’s problems were compounded last week when first-choice goalie Jonathan Bond picked up an injury against Vancouver, and he will miss this game, along with left-back Chase Gasper.
MLS Match Betting Pick
Bookmakers and bettors alike will find it hard to separate these teams this weekend, though for largely negative reasons. Portland’s injury problems and some inconsistency in tactics have badly hampered its start, while Galaxy is yet to get going. This game is likely to be a cagey one and that makes the draw the sensible play in the match betting market here.