There was some legitimate excitement about the return of the MLS and the tournament that they hosted, quite brilliantly, in the bubble in Orlando. As that tournament wore on, though, and teams started getting knocked out and sent home, the next question was about how the remainder of the regular season would continue. That has now been answered, with each team committed to a 6-games schedule versus teams within their region, thus limiting the amount of travel required. The league will continue to evaluate things and make plans for the rest of the way once those original six games are close to being done. It is a safe way to do business, plus it means that we will be treated to a bunch of rivalry games in the coming weeks. We have arguably the best rivalry in the MLS set to go on Sunday night, with the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders locking horns in a matchup that is always a little salty. The meetings between these two tend to be tight affairs, so perhaps no surprise that it is in as a PK play. The goal total for this game is set at 2 ½.
When: Sunday, August 23 at 10 PM EST
Where: Providence Park, Portland
MLB Odds: Get the Latest Odds at YouWager.lv
Why bet on the Portland Timbers
The Timbers were granted a little extra time off after winning the MLS is Back Tournament and will be the last team to play on the opening week of the return schedule. While they were worthy winners of the tournament, they need to put that behind them and focus on the weeks to come, as there is still a long way to go in this season. One of the benefits of doing so well in the tournament is that the Timbers picked up 7 points in the group stage, which will apply to the regular season standings. That has them on 10 points and sitting 3rd in the Western Conference. They would leapfrog Minnesota United and move into 2nd with a win in this one. The OVER has hit in 6 of the last 10 meetings between these two teams.
Why bet on the Seattle Sounders
The MLS is Back Tournament proved to be a bit of a hit and miss affair for the Seattle Sounders, although they did manage to pick up 4 points towards their overall standings after going 1-1-1 in the group stage. Still, it was a group that you would have expected them to get out of and perhaps do a little better in with their 3-0 win over Vancouver being their best showing. Taking the group stage performance into account, the Sounders are now 2-1-2 to start the season, which has them down in the #6 spot in the West. They have had some time to get over their 4-1 loss to LAFC in the Round of 16, but the defending champions need to find a way to get in gear quickly.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
The last 10 meetings between these two teams have seen each team win 4 times, with the other 2 ending in a tie. While Portland will be on their own turf, the lack of fans is going to make it rather odd. Still, I like Portland to get the win.
Portland Timbers 2 Seattle Sounders 1