The Major League Soccer schedule for the week will conclude on Sunday evening as New York City hosts the Portland Timbers. The game will be played at the ‘House that Ruth Built’ (and that he never imagined soccer would be played at), better known as Yankee Stadium.
New York City is right in the thick of things in a very competitive MLS Eastern Conference. They currently sit in 5th place with 29 points which leaves them one point behind the teams tied for third and fourth, Atlanta and Montreal. They’re also two points behind the second place DC United and six back of the East leading Philadelphia Union. They’ve been in excellent form of late and are unbeaten in their last five and have won three straight. In the process, they’ve scored a ton of goals–in their three game winning streak they’ve put a total of 12 goals into the net.
Portland has finally dragged themselves out of last place but they’re still feeling the hangover effects over the bizarre scheduling situation they’re dealing with this season. Due to some major renovation on their home field at Providence Park the Timbers played most of the first 1/3 of the season on the road. To date they’ve played 13 of their 16 games on the road. Generally speaking, the did a decent job navigating their brutal schedule and took points in 6 of their first 13 road games going 4-2-7. They did spend most of that time mired in last place which isn’t surprising given their nasty home field over the past few years. The Timbers have lost only two home games at Providence Park during each of the last two seasons.
Portland has won two straight at home since they reopened Providence Park with a loss to LAFC. They’ve lost only one of their last 10 matches in the Rose City and given their solid play at home should shoot up the table as they start to get more home games in the books. The road has been a recurring challenge for Portland, however, even before their away heavy start to this season. They’ve been porous defensively away from their home field and have only one clean sheet in their past 24 away contests. More problematic from a wagering standpoint–Portland might be putting all of their (no doubt organic free range) eggs in their home basket and not prioritizing their away games with so many of their remaining contests at Providence Park.
New York City is in good form and are unbeaten at home this season going 4-4-0. We generally like this Portland Timbers team but we’ll be looking to bet them based on the location of their games fading them on the road and backing them at home.