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Major League Soccer
Sep 18, 2023 at 1.30am UK
Bold Stadium
PT

Austin
1 - 2
Portland

Driussi (75')
Wolff (57'), Cascante (61')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Mora (39'), Evander (65')
Antony (90+7')

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

:Headline: Preview: Austin FC vs. Portland Timbers - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's Major League Soccer clash between Austin FC and Portland Timbers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

With a big three points at stake in the Western Conference playoff picture, Austin FC return to Q2 Stadium for a date with the surging Portland Timbers on Sunday.

The Verde and Black came back to claim a single point in their previous MLS encounter at the New England Revolution (2-2), while Portland are now unbeaten in three successive domestic affairs, defeating Los Angeles FC 2-0, and drawing even with Austin on 33 points, as they are each just one behind Dallas for that final postseason berth.


Match preview

For a fourth successive encounter, Josh Wolff's side had to contend with a second-half deficit last weekend, but to their credit, they found a way back, with an equalising goal in stoppage time.

They have seven matches remaining in their quest to return to the postseason for a second successive campaign, though they are a long way off from what they achieved a year ago, with 20 fewer points this season when compared to what they managed after 27 matches in 2022 (53).

If they are to move up the table, the next few weeks might be their best opportunity, with their next four games coming against teams below them in the overall standings (the Portland Timbers, New York Red Bulls, Los Angeles Galaxy and Colorado Rapids).

Four of their remaining seven fixtures take place in the Texas capital, where this team have lost three successive encounters in all competitions but have only suffered two defeats in league play since the beginning of June.

This team have been notoriously slow starters since the Leagues Cup concluded, scoring just once after 45 minutes in their last four games, while conceding first on five occasions at Q2 Stadium in 2023.

They have come back to earn a result four times over this domestic campaign when facing a second-half deficit but have yet to win in that scenario this year.

A coaching change in Portland has made an immediate impact, with the Timbers claiming seven points in their four matches played under interim manager Miles Joseph.

That has them right on the heels of Dallas for the final playoff spot in the West, while they have also notched multiple goals in four successive fixtures.

Their road form in 2023 has been relatively poor, with the Timbers claiming just one victory and a total of 10 points outside of Providence Park this year, and conceding three or more goals five times.

The sweltering Texas heat seems to have taken a toll on this group lately, with the Timbers winning only one regular-season encounter in the Lone Star State since October 2021, though that one triumph came against the Verde and Black last year (2-1), their first-ever away victory against them in this competition.

September tends to be the time of year when we start to see the Timbers make their move, with Portland going unbeaten in their last 15 regular season encounters played this month, a streak which dates back to 2020.

They are unbeaten in their last four domestic fixtures when scoring in the opening half but have only gone on to win twice once all year when conceding before the interval.

Austin FC Major League Soccer form:

Austin FC form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D

Portland Timbers Major League Soccer form:


Portland Timbers form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W



Team News

Gyasi Zardes is questionable for Austin this Saturday due to tightness in his left calf, Zan Kolmanic is out with a right ACL sprain, while Daniel Pereira will be unavailable for the second time in their last three games after receiving another caution when they played the Revs.

Emiliano Rigoni put the Verde and Black in front after 27 minutes at Foxborough, though it was Alexander Ring who was the hero, levelling that match in the 94th minute with his first of the season on a night when Brad Stuver became the first player in team history to earn 100 caps across all competitions, stopping four of the six shots that he faced.

The runner-up for MVP a year ago, Sebastian Driussi, has not been able to replicate his success from 2022, with just eight goals domestically this year after notching 22 a season ago, though he had their only strike in this exact fixture last year.

Eryk Williamson and Jaroslaw Niezgoda are doubtful for Portland due to right knee sprains, David Ayala has a sore left knee, Diego Chara underwent an emergency appendectomy and is expected to miss one to three weeks, while Dario Zuparic is eligible to return from his yellow card suspension.

David Bingham now has six clean sheets in 13 appearances between the sticks for Portland, stopping the only two LAFC efforts that he faced last weekend, while Larrys Mabiala scored in that encounter, his first since November 2021 when they defeated the Colorado Rapids in the Western Conference semi-finals (1-0).

With his second-half strike against the Black and Gold last Saturday, Claudio Bravo became the sixth player to score multiple goals with Portland over this domestic campaign, joining Evander, Dairon Asprilla, Franck Boli, Felipe Mora and Juan David Mosquera as the only others to do so.

Austin FC possible starting lineup:
Stuver; Lima, Cascante, Hedges, Lundqvist; Ring, Valencia, Finlay; Rigoni, Driussi, Gallagher

Portland Timbers possible starting lineup:
Bingham; Miller, McGraw, Mabiala, Bravo; Paredes, Acosta; Asprilla, Evander, Y. Chara; Mora


We say: Austin FC 2-2 Portland Timbers

With the standings as close as they are, we expect to see a fight to the finish for both of these sides on Saturday, as each have shown plenty of resilience of late, though we do no anticipate either one will have a decisive edge.

How to watch

You can watch Austin FC vs. Portland Timbers and every MLS match this season live on Apple TV. Click here for more details on how to subscribe.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.
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Premier League Table

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Inter MiamiInter Miami25165456391753
2FC CincinnatiCincinnati25153744331148
3Columbus Crew23127447222543
4New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls251011442311141
5New York City FCNY City2511593630638
6Charlotte FCCharlotte FC2510783027337
7Orlando City259793938134
8Toronto2693143447-1330
9Atlanta UnitedAtlanta2577113536-128
10Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia2569104542327
11CF MontrealMontreal2569103449-1527
12Nashville SCNashville2568112639-1326
13DC United2568113550-1526
14Chicago Fire2567123042-1225
15New England RevolutionNew England2372142347-2423

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Los Angeles GalaxyLA Galaxy26147550361449
2Los Angeles FCLos Angeles24145548301847
3Real Salt LakeSalt Lake25128551341744
4Colorado RapidsColorado2612595043741
5Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver2411584335838
6Houston DynamoHouston2410773530537
7Seattle SoundersSeattle2510783429537
8Portland TimbersPortland2510695042836
9Minnesota UnitedMinnesota Utd2596104041-133
10Austin FCAustin2587102837-931
11Dallas2586113839-130
12Sporting Kansas CityKansas2666144152-1124
13St Louis City25411103246-1423
14San Jose EarthquakesEarthquakes2542193161-3014
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