Where: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, California
When: Sunday, March 10, 4:30 pm PT
How to Watch: FS1, Fox Deportes in the United States.
Los Angeles Football Club started their season off on the right foot in their season opener, with a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City. On Sunday, The Black-and-Gold will go from one Western Conference contender to the other, when they host the defending Western Conference champion Portland Timbers.
Adama Diomande scored at the death to secure LAFC’s first win of the season against SKC, ending their drought of results (two losses last season) against Peter Vermes’ side. Meanwhile, Portland was on the road in Colorado, and allowed a goal at the death to Andre Shinyashiki to share the points in a 3-3 blizzard.
While Portland might welcome the weather at the Banc of California Stadium, especially when compared to the coldest game in MLS history against the Rapids at 18 degrees, Portland will not welcome LAFC’s home form. LAFC have nine wins, seven draws, and two losses at the Banc.
On the other hand, Portland was one of the teams that gave LAFC some trouble last season, beating Bob Bradley’s men 2-1 in Portland and managing a scoreless draw in LA. LAFC also squared off against the Timbers in the quarterfinals of the 2018 U.S. Open Cup, which saw LAFC advance at home by a 3-2 scoreline (featuring some drama and protest about the registration of Mark-Anthony Kaye).
Portland’s road form is also something to keep an eye on. After drawing against Colorado, the Timbers have a record of four wins, six draws, and eight losses on the road since the start of last season.
Portland made it to the MLS Cup Final against Atlanta for a reason. Their squad is led by Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco, who both scored against Colorado. Giovanni Savarese is one of the top coaches in the league, and also has Jeremy Ebobisse, David Guzman, and Diego Chara at his disposal.
Prediction: LAFC 2, Portland Timbers 0. The Black-and-Gold ride the wave of momentum that last week’s win gave them in a rocking Banc of California Stadium, grab another win to start the season, and end their streak of MLS results against Portland like they did against SKC. Carlos Vela scored against Portland twice last season, and will notch another in this one.
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