The latest weekend in the MLS 2023 season concludes on Sunday night when the one remaining match gets played out when two teams fighting hard to finish in the top nine of the Western Conference meet as Austin FC host Portland Timbers.
These two teams begin the night outside the playoff places but whichever team comes out on top will finish the weekend in there with room to improve. The losers will see their postseason prospects take a serious dent.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Apple TV MLS Season Pass which is available to all Apple TV subscribers. The build-up begins at 1.30am ahead of a 1.55am kick off. The match will also be available via the bookmaker live streams.
Austin FC will have been hoping for a big return from the Leagues Cup to MLS action given that they were in the crossroads part of the Western Conference table. They certainly haven’t had what they were looking for though with one point in four matches seeing plenty of sides overtake them in the standings. To be fair to them, three of those four outings were away from home which is always difficult but it has put serious pressure on this game.
Austin have scored in three of those four matches, and there was a concern over their attacking unit after a bit of a questionable transfer window, but the issue they have is they have shipped 11 in that time. Their defence has never really been at its strongest all season but it looks on the edge of falling apart and that has to change if they are to turn their fortunes around appear in the postseason once again. With just six games remaining after this it needs to start here.
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This looked like a season that looked like it was just going to tamely fade away after a weak Leagues Cup campaign which was followed by two successive MLS defeats upon the restart. Those losses accounted for Gio Savarese and to be fair to Portland, they look to have got rid of him just in time because the team have rebounded with two wins and a draw since he left and have salvaged a chance to be involved in the playoffs.
They have to maintain this resurgence until the end of the season and will know this is a match that even if they can’t win they really can’t afford to lose. The key for Portland is they have managed to get the Evander they thought they had signed at the beginning of the season to come to the boil and if he can inspire them here Portland could build on their fine recent form. The Timbers have scored twice in all three matches under Miles Joseph which bodes well.
I don’t think it will be surprising anyone that I am expecting to see goals in this match. Quite simply, it is a match that both teams will know they can’t afford to lose if they are to remain in control of their playoff hopes so the first goal here could open the game up a lot more than it normally would. These two don’t exactly need any invitation for a high scoring match. Five of their six MLS meetings have seen three or more goals in them and with the need to win I expect that trend to continue.
Portland have suddenly found themselves and have a pair of goals in each of their last three matches while Austin FC being the home side and having a defence that has suddenly cracked under pressure pretty much have to rely on attack being their better form of defence. Six of the last seven Austin FC matches have had three or more goals in them and the same can be said of Portland if we exclude that game in Colorado which was weather impacted. Goals should flow naturally here.
Back Over 3 goals for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365
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