The MLS is Back Tournament, which has been a tremendous success, is down to the final three games, as we are about to head into the semi-finals. All the favorites to win this thing have long since been eliminated, with the likes of LAFC and Atlanta United bowing out. In the case of Atlanta, their horrible showing in this tournament ultimately ended with them getting rid of their coach right after they arrived home. As for the remaining four teams, anyone who selected this group is either a genius or has some sort of psychic ability. This is not the four teams that we were expecting, but based on their performances in the tournament, they are all very deserving of being there. None of these teams had to get in via the best 3rd place finisher tag, with 2 of them actually winning their respective groups, so perhaps it’s not all that surprising to see them here after all. The semi-final action begins on Wednesday night with the Portland Timbers and the Philadelphia Union going head to head. The bookies have this as a tight one, as it is in as a PK play, with the O/U set at 2 ½.
When: Wednesday, August 5 at 8 PM EST
Where: Wide World of Sports, Orlando
MLS Odds: Get the Latest Odds at YouWager.lv
Why bet on Portland Timbers
Other than one rather dodgy game against Cincinnati FC in the Round of 16, the Timbers have looked very much like a potential winner of this tournament. They were drawn into Group F with LAFC, LA Galaxy, and the Houston Dynamo in what was arguably the toughest group of them all. They came out of that on top after winning their opening 2 games and them tying with LAFC while fielding a bit of a makeshift team. They tied 1-1 with Cincinnati before going through on penalties, and then looked very good in a 3-1 win over NYFC in the quarterfinal. The advantage that the Timbers have is that they have a lot of offensive players that can hurt you. They are a very difficult team to shut down.
Why bet on Philadelphia Union
If any team can slow down that Timbers attack, it might well be the Philadelphia Union. They have been about as stingy as it gets on the defensive side of things. Through the 5 games that Philly has played in this tournament, they have surrendered just 3 goals, so very tough indeed to break down. The concern was that they might be in trouble if the needed to add some offense, but they put that to rest somewhat with a 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City in the quarterfinal. While I don’t think they are going to bunker in on Wednesday night, I also don’t see them playing any type of open attacking type of football, unless they go a goal down, at which point they might be in real trouble.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
We have a pair of teams with very contrasting styles going head to head here. The Union will look to try and frustrate the speedy Timbers attack, but I think they will come up short, as I like Portland to get the win.
Portland Timbers 2 Philadelphia Union 1