The Portland Timbers will look to shake off a season-opening loss when they host Nashville SC on Sunday afternoon. Portland is one of the bigger favorites of the weekend according to the MLS betting odds as Nashville is an expansion team. Nashville isn’t expected to be competitive in its first season in the league, while the Timbers are seen as one of the top teams in the Western Conference after making the MLS Playoffs in four of the last five years.
Don't miss the Major League Soccer action from Providence Park in Portland, Oregon at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Catch every moment of the match live on ESPN.
|TEAM ||ODDS |
|Portland Timbers ||-213 |
|Nashville SC ||+536 |
|Draw ||+348 |
|Over/Under ||3 |
The Timbers lost their season opener to Minnesota United FC 3-1 last Sunday. Portland dominated possession in the first half, but Diego Valeri and the Timbers weren’t able to break through in any big way. The Loons defended well and didn’t allow the hosts to have many real chances, and then they used their counter to great effect in the second half. Kevin Molino scored goals in the 51st and 78th minute to silence the home crowd, and Luis Amarilla scored in the 76th minute to put MNUFC up for good. Portland’s only goal came off a Valeri penalty kick, and the Timbers could only manage to put three shots on frame despite taking 14 shots and controlling the ball 58 percent of the time.
It didn’t take long for Nashville SC to score its first goal in franchise history. Walker Zimmerman punched in a cross off a free kick in the 28th minute to send the nascent franchise’s fans into euphoria, but it wasn’t enough to overcome 2018 MLS Cup winners Atlanta United. Ezequiel Barco shredded Nashville’s defense for a beautiful goal in the ninth minute to put the Five Stripes ahead 1-0, but Nashville felt hard done by the eventual game-winning goal from Emerson Hyndman. Hyndman fired a rocket into the top right corner shortly after a corner kick, yet he only had the space to attempt the shot due to an errant offsides flag being raised by the linesman. Nashville didn’t close out in the confusion, but the goal was upheld after review. The club nearly earned a result anyways in the 78th minute though, as Randall Leal hammered a shot off the post from close range.
Jeff Attinella will miss this match as he continues to recover from right shoulder surgery, and Andres Flores will be unavailable too after undergoing meniscus surgery last month. Midfielders Marvin Loria and Andy Polo are both questionable due to thigh injuries, while defender Bill Tuiloma and forward Jaroslaw Niezgoda are both dealing with leg injuries for Portland.
Midfielder Jimmy Medranda is questionable to play with a hamstring injury, and he is the only player listed on the injury report for Nashville SC.
Player to Watch
Hany Mukhtar is the only designated player that Nashville has on the roster, and the offense will run through him for the foreseeable future. The former Brondby standout is known for his playmaking ability, and he will be given time to adjust to the MLS since there are few expectations for Nashville in 2020. Mukhtar scored 26 goals and notched 34 assists in his three seasons with Brondby, and he is just getting started at the age of 24.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
The Timbers have one of the best home field advantages in the MLS, and they won’t lose back-to-back home games. Valeri and Portland shouldn’t have much trouble picking apart Nashville’s defense, so look for the Timbers to secure a resounding victory.
Major League Soccer Odds: Portland Timbers 3, Nashville SC 1
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