LAFC at Portland Timbers
Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021
4:30 p.m. PT
TV: FS1, FOX Deportes
RADIO: 1110 AM ESPN, ESPN App (Audio), KFWB 980 AM
LAFC heads into Portland on Sunday for a match-up of two of the hottest teams in Major League Soccer. It is a statement that fans would have been have surprised to read just a month ago, when LAFC was mired in an eight-game winless streak and the Timbers endured a stretch of just one win in seven matches.
But now, both clubs enter into this massive late season fixture unbeaten in four straight games, and separated by just one point in the Western Conference standings.
“They are all huge games right now,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “We have to treat each one like it is a playoff game.”
This match certainly will have playoff implications, the equivalent of a six-point swing in the standings as the Timbers used a dramatic 2-0 win in Seattle on Aug. 29 to jump start their recent run of good form.
LAFC remains shorthanded, as four players who started the last match between the teams on July 21, a 2-1 Timbers win, will not even be available for selection. In that one – the Black & Gold gave up goals at the very beginning of the game, and in the final 20 seconds sandwiched around a Carlos Vela goal and overall dominating play from LAFC.
The Timbers are a veteran team led by Diego Valeri and Diego Chara, and are expected to have experienced players throughout their starting 11 on Sunday. Portland has recently received strong contributions from players such as Dairon Asprilla, and Felipe Mora has continued to be very dangerous around the goal. Mora leads Portland with 10 goals, and Asprilla has netted five. Now in his fifth season in Portland, Sebastian Blanco is giving the Timbers the consistency we have come to expect as an attacking threat who provides excellent service and has scored three goals so far.
LAFC midfielder Eduard Atuesta has been a rock for the Club in 2021, leading the team with seven assists and providing valuable leadership with Carlos Vela continuing to be sidelined with a quad injury. But Atuesta was forced to miss LAFC’s 2-1 win in Austin on Sept. 15 due to a sprained ankle, and is expected to remain on the sidelines on Sunday. Atuesta also did not play in the first meeting vs. Portland.
LAFC defender Jesus David Murillo wore the captains armband vs. Austin, and provided leadership and a strong anchor for the team.
“The mentality of the team it was right,” Bradley said. “It was a tight and hard game and we handled it well.”
LAFC WILL WIN IF
They can win in the midfield. Portland has tightened up their defense during their four-game unbeaten stretch, and if LAFC can make it through the pressure of Diego Chara, they will find success.
PORTLAND CAN WIN IF
They can finish clinically. The Timbers have enjoyed success with Felipe Mora finishing well and making the most of their chances. The Timbers don’t generate a ton of scoring opportunities historically, but when they do they are extremely clinical with their finishing. Mora is the game changer– and LAFC will need to limit his chances.
in the past have hurt LAFC late in matches by the finishing of Jeremy Ebobisse in the waning moments and if they can summon some of this, they have a chance.
Inspired by Short Circuit (1986).