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Jul 25, 2021 at 1am UK
Minnesota UtdMinnesota United
2-1
PortlandPortland Timbers
Gasper (74'), Lod (85')
Lod (90+4')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Mora (10')

Preview: Minnesota United vs. Portland Timbers - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Seeking to build on victory over the formerly unbeaten MLS Western Conference leaders last weekend, Minnesota United welcome close rivals Portland Timbers to Allianz Field on Saturday.

While the Loons deservedly ended Seattle's league record 13-game streak last time out, Portland posted a second successive win to stay one point clear of this week's opponents in the standings.


Match preview

Sitting just inside the playoff places, amid a Western Conference mid-table logjam, Minnesota United bounced back from a disappointing defeat at Colorado to turn over the dominant table-toppers in front of a vocal home support on Sunday.

The club's first-ever win over the Sounders after seven previous attempts - a 1-0 victory courtesy of Robin Lod's winner nine minutes from time - was just reward for their intensity and suffocation of an absence-hit visiting side. Incidentally, it marked English coach Adrian Heath's 50th regular-season win since taking charge in 2016.

That blip in Denver aside, Heath's side have not lost or failed to score since a 1-0 reverse against Austin at the start of May, having previously put together a seven-match undefeated run.

Part of that streak was a one-goal win over Portland at the end of last month, when striker Adrien Hunou netted in the second minute and United held out for the next 90 to record their second successive victory over the Timbers.

In fact, Minnesota have won six of their ten MLS meetings with this weekend's visitors and lost only twice, so - allied to strong form - they can also take the power of precedent into Saturday's finely-balanced game.

Sixth-placed Portland have enjoyed a welcome revival during the past week, after their grasp on a cherished playoff spot had started to loosen following a run of three defeats and just one win from their previous five games.

Last weekend, the Timbers secured a 1-0 victory over bottom club FC Dallas - leaving it late to snatch the points, as Jeremy Ebobisse notched an 84th-minute winner - before repeating the trick with a stoppage-time goal from substitute striker Felipe Mora to steal a 2-1 win at LAFC on Wednesday.

Argentinian veteran Diego Valeri's early opener was a milestone moment for an established club legend, as it marked his 100th career goal for the Timbers in all competitions, while Mora's late header proved the decisive act of an eventful second half - setting off joyous scenes of celebration at Providence Park.

Now, Giovanni Savarese's side, who reached the first round of the playoffs last season, must bring their renewed momentum to bear in a pair of challenging fixtures - first at Minnesota and then versus LA Galaxy, who currently sit third in the Western Conference.

Savarese will be acutely aware that while this weekend's hosts are hardly prolific in front of goal they also give very little away defensively, so his attacking stars such as Mora, Valeri and Ebobisse will necessarily need to be pin-sharp in Saint Paul.

Minnesota United Major League Soccer form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

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



Team News

Minnesota come into Saturday's match with a pair of players absent due to international duty: Dayne St. Clair is still at the Gold Cup with Canada and defender Michael Boxall - previously ever-present before a recent injury - plans to join up with New Zealand at the Olympic Games.

Boxall remains in Minnesota as he attempts to overcome a thigh strain suffered earlier this month but is expected to travel to Japan in the coming days.

On-loan Boca Juniors striker Ramon Abila returns from suspension after picking up a red card as a substitute against Colorado, but Adrien Hunou is likely to retain his place - linking up with Abila's former Boca colleague Emanuel Reynoso up front.

Meanwhile, Portland continue to manage a busy treatment room, with Andy Polo, Jeff Attinella and Ismaila Jome all recovering from serious injuries. However, Paraguayan midfielder Cristhian Paredes overcame a thigh problem to feature from the bench in midweek and could be involved again.

The Timbers share around their goalscoring burden, with Jeremy Ebobisse, Felipe Mora and Colombian winger Dairon Asprilla all leading the way on three goals apiece. The trio are expected to start at Allianz Field, but Asprilla may have to be content with a place on the bench if coach Giovanni Savarese again opts for a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Minnesota United possible starting lineup:
Miller; Taylor; Kallman, Dibassy, Gasper; Trapp, Alonso; Fragapane, Reynoso, Lod; Hunou

Portland Timbers possible starting lineup:
Clark; Bonilla, Mabiala, Tuiloma, Van Rankin; Ebobisse, Zambrano, Chara, Asprilla; Mora, Chara


We say: Minnesota United 1-1 Portland Timbers

As indicated by their one-goal encounter last month, these sides do not tend to give much away and are evenly-matched in many aspects.

Therefore, a low-scoring draw is on the cards - with only a few moments of magic breaking the deadlock - as both teams stay in the hunt for the playoff places.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data



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Major League Soccer Table

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England26175448301856
2Nashville SCNashville241011339231641
3New York City FCNY City24115843281538
4Orlando City2410863533238
5CF MontrealMontreal2510783630637
6Atlanta UnitedAtlanta259973530536
7DC United25104114136534
8Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia238872824432
9Inter MiamiInter Miami2495102435-1132
10Columbus Crew2687113035-531
11New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls2375112928126
12Chicago Fire2565142440-1623
13FC CincinnatiCincinnati2448122444-2020
14Toronto2546152851-2318

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England26175448301856
2Nashville SCNashville241011339231641
3New York City FCNY City24115843281538
4Orlando City2410863533238
5CF MontrealMontreal2510783630637
6Atlanta UnitedAtlanta259973530536
7DC United25104114136534
8Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia238872824432
9Inter MiamiInter Miami2495102435-1132
10Columbus Crew2687113035-531
11New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls2375112928126
12Chicago Fire2565142440-1623
13FC CincinnatiCincinnati2448122444-2020
14Toronto2546152851-2318
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