The 2020 MLS is Back Tournament champions will cap off the first full week of MLS since March this Sunday. The Portland Timbers didn’t always look pretty in Orlando, but they were the last team standing at the end of the competition. That gave the club its second major trophy after the 2015 MLS Cup, so they have to be considered one of the favorites to win the MLS Cup this year. Since their inception, Portland’s main rival has been the Seattle Sounders, and that will be their opponent in this game. While the Cascadia Cup won’t be on the line since the match will be played behind closed doors, there will be plenty of emotion when these two teams meet in the Rose City.
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MLS Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
Portland Timbers +126
Seattle Sounders +214
Over/Under 2.5, 3
Seattle is the reigning MLS Cup champion. The Sounders knocked off Toronto FC last November to claim their second title in four years, and they have fared relatively well thus far in 2020. They knocked off the Chicago Fire in their season opener thanks to a late brace from Jordan Morris, and the Sounders picked up a result against Columbus thanks to a Raul Ruidiaz penalty in the 79th minute.
At the MLS is Back Tournament, the Sounders were one of the favorites. However, Seattle went 1-1-1 in the Group Stage which led to a difficult Round of 16 draw with Los Angeles FC. LAFC smashed the Sounders 4-1 to send them back to the Emerald City, and they have yet to play a competitive match since that defeat.
As for Portland, the Timbers never looked overpowering in Orlando. They only won one game by more than a single goal, but they did prove they could hang with anyone when they drew with LAFC in the final match of the Group Stage.
Their playoff run nearly came to an abrupt end when they needed to survive penalties to get past lowly FC Cincinnati. That was followed up by a convincing 3-1 win over New York City FC in the quarterfinals before consecutive 2-1 victories over Philadelphia and Orlando City to win this competition.
Given their long stay in Orlando, you would think the Timbers would have some injury issues. However, that is not the case. Midfielder Dairon Asprilla was lost for the season before the MLS is Back Tournament, and the only new addition on their injury list is midfielder Yimmi Chara who is dealing with a thigh injury.
The Sounders’ injury situation is much worse. Joao Paulo and Alex Roldan are both out with strained quads, while Yeimar Gomez Andrade is sidelined with a strained hamstring and Danny Leyva is out with a fractured foot. Will Bruin, Joevin Jones, and Xavier Arreaga are all considered questionable to play with various injuries.
Player to Watch
Diego Chara has been the top defensive midfielder in the MLS for a long time. Chara has been pivotal to what Portland wants to do scheme wise, and his attacking nature disrupts opponents. The Sounders have an excellent midfielder in Nicolas Lodeiro, but Chara has the skill to limit his impact on the game. That will make Diego Valeri more effective as Portland’s midfield maestro and help this team counter as they prefer.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
This will likely be an evenly matched game, and the soccer betting odds will reflect that when they are released. Portland is at home and has more games under their belt, so they are the pick here.
Major League Soccer Odds: Portland Timbers 2, Seattle Sounders 1
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