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Portland vs. Seattle: Fade Offenses in Rivalry Matchup (August 15)

Portland vs. Seattle: Fade Offenses in Rivalry Matchup (August 15) article feature image

Stephen Brashear / Getty Images. Pictured: Raul Ruidiaz

Portland vs. Seattle Odds

Portland Odds+145
Seattle Odds+185
Over/Under2.5 (-134 / +100)
Day | TimeSunday | 10 p.m. ET
How To WatchFS1 | fuboTV
Odds updated Sunday at 8:00 a.m. ET and via DraftKings.

The Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers are getting their leaders healthy just in time for their second meeting of the season Sunday night at Providence Park

Sounders captain Nicolas Lodeiro made has made two appearances as a late sub during the last week after a knee injury sidelined him since early May.

Similarly, Timbers playmaker Sebastian Blanco played his first full half since tearing his ACL last September in Portland's win over Salt Lake last weekend.

The Sounders won these teams' last meeting 2-1 in Portland back on May 9. But you know that saying about the record book in rivalry games …

Can Portland Continue Outperforming Their Expected Goals?

The Timbers have shown flashes of the steamrolling form of the summer of 2020 when they captured the MLS is Back Tournament behind Blanco's tournament MVP performance.

But there's little in the way of consistency in it – in the form several good results in succession or even a steady 90-minute performance.

Take their most recent 3-2 win over Real Salt Lake, where Portland appeared almost allergic to prosperity while twice allowing their two-goal lead to be cut in half. It took a seven-save performance from Aljaz Ivacic for the Timbers to escape with all three points.

That match was also was the eighth in a row in which Portland had created fewer expected goals (xG) than their opponents.

They're still afloat in the Western Conference playoff race because of their ability to outperform those totals, earning 10 points in that stretch.

Diego Chara returns to the squad after serving a yellow-card suspension against RSL, but Eryk Williamson remains out due to health and safety protocols.

Will a Healthier Sounders Team Pull the Upset?

Sounders manager Brian Schmetzer predicted early in the season his team wouldn't be able to keep up their blistering pace the whole year.

That prophecy came true as Seattle's roster numbers dwindled between a growing injury list and international call-ups last month.

The Sounders suffered their first defeat in 14 matches at Minnesota on July 18th, then after smash-and-grab win at Austin, took only one point from a three-game homestand, most recently drawing Dallas 1-1.

The good news is Schmetzer now has much closer to his full roster to select from after enduring stretches with as many as 10 players on the availability report.

Both Cristian and Alex Roldan are back from duty at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, while the return of Will Bruin and Lodeiro from injury provides more versatility going forward.

Bruin in particular had a key role as a second forward in the Sounders' 3-5-2 formation early this season, providing the hold-up play to free space for team leading scorer Raul Ruidiaz.

Seattle defeated UANL Tigres 3-0 on Tuesday night at home to move on to the semifinals of the Leagues Cup.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

There was a time when this traditional rivalry was unique not only for its longevity within American soccer — dating back to the old NASL of last century — but also its attacking nature.

Derbies around the world are often tightly contested contests. But between 2014 and 2016 in this clash, a team scored four goals five different times — if you count a 4-4 draw in Portland on April 5, 2014 as two separate occasions.

Those were mostly managerial matchups between Portland's Caleb Porter and Seattle's late Sigi Schmid. The games got a little tighter when Schmetzer replaced Schmid, and tighter still when Giovanni Savarese replaced Porter.

I bring this all up because trends in derbies can supersede trends in a season. And I think there's even more reason than normal to look to derby history here, given that there's more than a hint of "moment of transition" within both Portland's and Seattle's ranks at the moment, making league track record less relevant anyway.

There have been 10 regular games played between these sides in the Schmetzer-Savarese era. Three goals were scored on five occasions. Fewer than three on four. More than three on only one.

Betting the exact total on three goals isn't a bad wager if you have that market available. I see this trend as more generally informative of the tactical plan and tempo each squad will bring.

Therefore, I'm buying the half goal and playing an Asian Total under 3.0 goals at -167 odds, which implies a 62.5% probability of a win — on occasions when there aren't exactly three goals scored. Exactly three goals returns your stake.

Pick: Total under 3.0 goals (-167)

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