MX23RW : Monday, September 27 17:34:05| >> :120:63937:63937:
Jul 2, 2021 at 2.30am UK at Austin FC Stadium
AustinAustin FC
4-1
PortlandPortland Timbers
Gallagher (28'), Fagundez (33'), Ring (77'), Jimenez (81')
Kolmanic (44'), Pochettino (45+1')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Ebobisse (45+7')
Tuiloma (45+5'), Asprilla (68'), Zuparic (90+1')

Preview: Austin FC vs. Portland Timbers - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Major League Soccer clash between Austin FC and Portland Timbers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Austin FC will hope to earn their first victory in their new home as they host the Portland Timbers from Q2 Stadium on Thursday.

The Verde-and-Black are winless in their last eight fixtures, while Portland are clinging to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference after losing at home to Minnesota United, 1-0, last weekend.


Match preview

 Austin FC huddles before the first game on June 20, 2021© Reuters

The expansion Austin FC have been a joy to watch if you like the technical side of the game and all of the build-up that goes along with it.

However, if you prefer lots of goals, they might not be for you, as they are scoreless in three consecutive matches and have been shut out of seven of their 11 games.

The traditional 4-3-3 formation employed by their manager Josh Wolff has seen this expansion side create plenty of opportunities, but they lack an established number nine striker who can finish off those chances.

With the Secondary Transfer Window set to open on July 7, Wolff has said that their priority is to sign a striker that he hopes can fit right in and provide some offensive punch to the lowest-scoring team in MLS at the moment.

Even though they are second from the bottom in the Western Conference, they are a formidable side giving experienced squads all they can handle, losing only twice against the top four teams in their conference in five encounters thus far.

Last week before a sell-out crowd in the Texas capital, they were stride for stride with the reigning MLS Cup champions, the Columbus Crew, out possessing them 57% to 43% and out shooting them 17-15 in a 0-0 draw.

Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during stoppage time on June 24, 2021© Reuters

The MLS is Back Tournament winners have lacked consistency in 2021, stringing together consecutive victories once, yet managing to stay afloat and in a playoff position because they have only lost successive matches once, losing their first two league games in May.

Portland have been hit hard by injuries, with several key figures currently on the sidelines and this week, they had to deal with an unfortunate situation after it was reported that a racial slur was apparently uttered at their midfielder Diego Chara last Saturday.

Manager Giovanni Savarese and his side were outraged about the alleged incident, which MLS is currently investigating, but now the Venezuelan will hope that this situation does not serve as a distraction to his team, who are looking for some breathing room in a very tight Western Conference.

Savarese will see their first couple of games in July as an excellent opportunity to move up the standings, facing Austin, who are currently 11th in the west and then hosting Dallas, who are only slightly ahead of the Verde-and-Black on goal difference.

This team have not only had to deal with injury issues and off-field problems, but they are missing some key offensive contributors because of the Copa America happening right now in Brazil, which seems to have affected their rhythm offensively.

The lack of attacking threats has been evident since the end of May, as they have failed to register more than four shots on target in their last four matches.

Austin FC Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • D

Portland Timbers Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L



Team News

Austin FC forward Cecilio Dominguez celebrates with defender Matt Besler after scoring a goal on June 12, 2021© Reuters

Austin striker Danny Hoesen will miss the remainder of the year after undergoing hip surgery, while fellow striker Aaron Schoenfeld remains out with a knee problem.

Left-back Ben Sweat has a cruciate ligament rupture, and midfielder Ulises Segura will not be available due to a knee injury.

Defensive midfielder Alexander Ring returned to the lineup against Columbus after missing their previous match, while the versatile Hector Jimenez played a full 90 minutes on defence last weekend in place of the injured Nick Lima.

Goalkeeper Brad Stuver has been a big reason why Austin have only lost once in their last four games, making 30 saves total in that span, including nine versus the San Jose Earthquakes and stopping all six shots that he faced against Columbus.

The Timbers will be missing Ismaila Jome with an Achilles tendon rupture, winger Andy Polo is likely to miss his fifth consecutive match with a torn muscle and midfielder Cristhian Paredes has a thigh muscle strain.

Striker Jaroslaw Niezgoda has a cruciate ligament rupture, and goalkeeper Jeff Attinella has a thigh muscle rupture.

Their second-leading goalscorer in 2020, Felipe Mora, is in Brazil representing Chile at the Copa America and his teammate and their top assist getter last season, Yimmi Chara, is representing Colombia.

Left-back Claudio Bravo has been a rock defensively for Portland, leading the league in tackles won with 27, while striker Dairon Asprilla has two goals in his last three games.

Austin FC possible starting lineup:
Stuver; Jimenez, Kleemann, Besler, Kolmanic; Pereira, Ring, Pochettino; Redes, Dominguez, Gallagher

Portland Timbers possible starting lineup:
Clark; Van Rankin, Mabiala, Zuparic, Bravo; D. Chara, Tuiloma, Zambrano; Williamson, Valeri; Ebobisse


SM words green background

We say: Austin FC 1-0 Portland Timbers

There is something about the sweltering heat in Texas that Portland seem to struggle with, as they are winless in their last 14 visits to the Lone Star State against the Houston Dynamo and Dallas, last winning in October 2014 against the Toros.

Austin should have another raucous crowd, which could help them get over their current hump and find the back of the net.



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How you voted: Austin vs Portlvs

Austin FC
48.5%
Draw
13.6%
Portland Timbers
37.9%
66
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Tables

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England28195453332062
2Nashville SCNashville261112344242045
3New York City FCNY City26116944301439
4Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia2510873225738
5Orlando City2610883738-138
6DC United26114114538737
7CF MontrealMontreal2610793732537
8Atlanta UnitedAtlanta269983531436
9Columbus Crew2797113236-434
10Inter MiamiInter Miami2595112540-1532
11New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls2586113129230
12Chicago Fire2766152643-1724
13FC CincinnatiCincinnati2548132648-2220
14Toronto2647152851-2319

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England28195453332062
2Nashville SCNashville261112344242045
3New York City FCNY City26116944301439
4Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia2510873225738
5Orlando City2610883738-138
6DC United26114114538737
7CF MontrealMontreal2610793732537
8Atlanta UnitedAtlanta269983531436
9Columbus Crew2797113236-434
10Inter MiamiInter Miami2595112540-1532
11New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls2586113129230
12Chicago Fire2766152643-1724
13FC CincinnatiCincinnati2548132648-2220
14Toronto2647152851-2319

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