Bitter rivals will do battle on Saturday, when the Portland Timbers welcome the LA Galaxy to Providence Park for an early-season MLS showdown.
Portland is reeling a bit, coming off a four-goal defeat that has stretched their losing streak to three. Meanwhile, the visitors have yet to claim victory in 2023, and find themselves mired near the bottom of the Western Conference after just a few games.
With both teams hoping to compete for a playoff spot, this is a match each will want to win. Can Portland get their first win in the series in five tries, or will the Galaxy pick up their first victory of the season? We break that all down in our Portland vs LA Galaxy picks and predictions for Saturday, March 25.
Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy best odds
Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy picks and predictions
When it comes to early action, few teams this season have seen more of it than the Portland Timbers. Their first goal of the season, courtesy of Juan Mosquera, came in just the sixth minute of the season as they picked up their only win so far in a 1-0 victory over Sporting KC.
In their three-match losing streak that followed, there have been 14 goals scored. Each of those three matches have seen a pair of goals scored in the opening 45 minutes, although Portland has been responsible for just one of those six goals, as they’ve been blitzed by their opponents. They’ve conceded 10 goals in that span, including five last week from Atlanta United.
LA Galaxy has had a better defensive record by far, but they’re no strangers to early goals themselves. Winless through three matches, they’ve drawn their last two, including a 1-1 stalemate last weekend with Vancouver. That match saw both teams find the back of the net in the opening period, with the Galaxy leveling things up in the 45th minute.
It was a similar story in their opener, only it was the Galaxy who struck first in a 3-1 defeat to FC Dallas. Their 35th-minute goal from Dejan Jovelic was canceled out in first half injury time by Alan Velasco before a Jesus Ferreira brace in the second half helped Dallas put them away.
Both teams have played Sporting KC so far this year, and that happens to be the only time either side failed to see multiple goals scored in the first half. Only four teams are conceding more shots on goal per 90 minutes played than the Galaxy, while Portland’s 5.25 allowed per match ranks ninth-worst in the league.
When these two teams get together, goals tend to come in bunches. Their last six meetings have featured a combined 25 goals, nine of which have come prior to halftime. In front of the fans at Providence Park, they’ve posted 27 goals in the last six matches, with 11 coming in the first half. Four of those matches saw multiple goals prior to the referee blowing for intermission.
And that’s why your best bet on Saturday is to ignore the game total, and take a chance on the first half Over. Both of these teams are leaky at the back, and when they face off, there is plenty of up-and-down action with chances to be had. The current price of +175 carries implied odds of 36.4% for multiple first-half goals, and for me, that is far too kind to pass up.
My best bet: Over 1.5 first half goals (+175 at bet365)
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Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy side analysis
With just one win in the seven matches between them, this is a tricky 3-way line to navigate. It’s been nearly two years since Portland has lost consecutive matches at home, but that’s what they potentially face after having lost 2-1 to St. Louis City two weeks ago. In Portland’s defense, their three defeats have all come at the hands of the two conference leaders, and the defending MLS Cup champions.
The hosts are facing a rash of injury issues. Yimmi Chara, Sebastian Blanco, and Felipe Mora are all out, along with David Ayala and Dairon Asprilla.
LA Galaxy have just one defeat in their three matches, but it did come away to Dallas. Unlike Portland, their lone defeat and draws have not come against great teams. While Dallas is fourth in the West, both Vancouver and Sporting KC are winless and managed to get draws.
The Galaxy won’t be at full strength either. Javier Hernandez continues to be sidelined, while Douglas Costa will be out with an injury despite his suspension having ended.
If I had to pick a side here, I would go with Portland to get the win in front of their home fans. That said, a draw is also a strong possibility, and an LA Galaxy win isn’t out of the question. The Galaxy have won three of the last four meetings with a draw last time out, while Portland has lost five of its last six matches in league play.
Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy Over/Under analysis
No club in MLS has seen more goals scored in their matches than Portland. The 15 goals in their four matches are tied with St. Louis City for the most in the league, and their last six matches have seen the Over hit five times.
Things have been a bit calmer for the Galaxy. Their three matches so far have seen just one Over 2.5 come through. That isn’t the case when these two teams get together in Portland though, as each of the last six meetings at Providence Park have seen at least three goals.
The Over 2.5 can be had for as low as -120 currently, having come way down from as high as -175 last weekend. And that’s good, because the Over is absolutely the play here. However, a sneaky move could be to combine the Over with both teams to score, giving yourself a plus-odds parlay at nearly every book.
Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy game info
|Location:||Providence Park, Portland, OR|
|Date:||Saturday, March 25, 2023|
|Time:||4:30 p.m. ET|
|TV:||Apple TV+, Fox Sports|
Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy key injuries
Portland Timbers: Cristhian Paredes M (Out), Dairon Asprilla F (Out), Sebastian Blanco F (Out), Yimmi Chara M (Out).
LA Galaxy: Javier Hernandez F (Out), Douglas Costa F (Out), Chase Gasper D (Out).
Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy weather
Rain could be a factor in Saturday’s proceedings. While the chance of rain drops down to around 40% at kickoff, it will be raining in the morning and expected to resume sometime in the second half. Temperatures will be in the mid-40s at kickoff, and will likely drop after halftime.