Saturday, August 5, 2017

Prediction Thread Week 22 - Portland Timbers vs. Los Angeles Galaxy

Portland versus Los Angeles usually produces fireworks
Anytime the Portland Timbers and Los Angeles Galaxy get together, there's usually lots of drama and intrigue. While the 2 sides battled on several occasions back in the U.S. Open Cup, the history has jumped a level since Portland joined MLS in 2011. From drilling a Timbers side that was dealing with a fired coach in 2012, Darlington Nagbe leaving the Home Depot Center turf on crutches after a 2016 match, Andrew Jean-Baptiste sending the Timbers Army home happy with a stoppage time winner in 2013, or a signature win for Portland in California earlier this year, the stakes increase dramatically when these two sides line up. The Galaxy have seen many of their high profile stars from previous seasons move on, but they just recently added Jonathan dos Santos to a club where his brother, Giovani, has been one of the major weapons this season. Los Angeles seems to have struck gold with midfielder Romain Alessandrini, who has become their offensive leader with 8 goals and 8 assists so far, but perhaps the biggest news they've made recently is who is now in charge of their club.

When Bruce Arena left to resume coaching the U.S. Men's National Team earlier this year, the Galaxy turned over their club to their Galaxy II coach, former USMNT defender and long time MLS veteran Curt Onalfo. While their offense has been somewhat consistent from their output in previous years, the Galaxy have seen 2 trends doom them in 2017 - their defense has been very suspect during long stretches, and the Galaxy have only won 1 time at home in 2017, holding a 1 win, 6 loss and 4 draw record at their home park. The writing on the wall hit for Onalfo when the Galaxy lost 5 in a row in late June and July, including a 6 to 2 loss to Real Salt Lake at Home Depot Center. A loss to New England 4 to 3 on July 22 was the final straw for Galaxy management, and Onalfo was relieved of his duties and replaced by an old friend of the Timbers Army, former Seattle Sounders FC Coach Sigi Schmid. Schmid was in charge of the Sounders from 2009 to 2016 until the organization decided to make a move mid-season and relieve Schmid of his duties; this move along with other changes seemed to propel the Sounders to their improbable run towards winning a certain shiny object.

Schmid's first game in charge of the Galaxy ironically enough was against his former side, and both teams played to a sloggy, uneven scoreless draw, but Schmid had only been in charge for 2 days before that affair. With some time, Schmid can finally install his attack and approach to the Galaxy, but he must deal with a Timbers team that has been really scrappy since suffering a humiliating home defeat to RSL a few weeks ago, and an adjusted kick time to 11 AM Portland time due to excessive heat in the Rose City. Diego Valeri is fresh off his appearance in the 2017 MLS All-Star Game with the team lead in goals scored at 11 and assists with 8, but Portland has seen Sebastian Blanco emerge as a scoring threat with 3 goals in the last 4 matches. With the history between these teams already elevated to higher levels, the addition of a familiar manager just add some spice to the inferno. It will be interesting to see what theme will reign supreme - a Timbers team that is trying to establish home dominance with Blanco, Valeri and Fanendo Adi showing good form, or a Galaxy team sorting out their new attack under new direction. With all of that, what do our crack crew of predictors think might happen? Let's find out, shall we?

Not green or gold, but still impressive

Rick: Timbers 2, Galaxy 1

It's going to be baking hot on Sunday morning. What better conditions to welcome back Sigi Schmid in his second game in charge of the Galaxy who have now gone seven games without a win in MLS. Although there was a time when fans might have thought a Timbers win against the Galaxy was pie in the sky, it should be remembered that the unexpected 5-2 drubbing of the Galaxy at the StubHub Center in 2015 started their successful MLS Cup run. Sunday could see the welcome return of defenders Liam Ridgewell and Vytas after layoffs through injury. Blanco and Guzman with the goals. Any contribution to the score by Adi or Valeri would be gravy.

I like goals. I like the brush. I like food.

Tortie: Timbers 12, Galaxy 8

The littlest ninja cat put on quite a show when asked about her thoughts for this match. Like with many of her previous offerings, it was a flurry of meows and eeps about the number of goals. The home side ended up with just a few more noises from Tortie, but she's calling for a track meet once again. Maybe with the earlier kick time and 2 sides with questionable defenses and solid offenses, this could end up being true.

I still don't see what is so hard about this work thing.

GB: Timbers 2, Galaxy 2

We have made it a point not to ask GB about soccer around meal time, so it was a late night discussion when GB decided to drop his knowledge for anyone interested. With 2 meows for the Timbers, it appeared he might be thinking home win, but he gave the visitors just as many meows. Looks like the grey boy is thinking both teams will walk away with points on the day. GB is a bit worried there won't be any pies left for him later, though.

Oh, hai, everybody.

Mark: Timbers 4, Galaxy 2.

Mark submitted his prediction through the wonder of Twitter. There was no explanation to the choice of score or any wonderful poems or other thoughts, so at this point, we can just say he's predicting a win for the green side. I'm only a little disappointed that the Galaxy didn't inspire such a wonderful poem as we got last time.

I'm new to all this soccer stuff, but hey, I'm cute, right?

Moya: Timbers 1, Galaxy 0

After last week's episode where Moya ran away and only predicted Houston would win, Moya was in better spirits for this week's interview. After watching some of the Thorns FC match, Moya let out a very loud meow for the Timbers when asked about who would win. She only had one other meow to determine the number of goals, so unlike Tortie, Moya is thinking it will be a defensive battle.

I'm Lucy. I'm learning about this soccer thing from the others

Lucy: Timbers 3, Galaxy 1

Lucy was pretty excited after calling last week's match correctly. She didn't let the correct prediction get to her head, though, and so she thought long and hard about her prediction. After an enthusiastic meow for the Timbers, she followed up with 3 meows for the home side and just one for the visitors. She seemed very confident about this score, so we'll see if she can extend her streak to a second week.

Green is the color, and soccer is the game!

Kip: Timbers 2, Galaxy 0

This one is a tough match to call. Portland has been very good over the past few weeks, and they are getting close to full health. Los Angeles, meanwhile, is trying to figure out what direction to go under their new coach. Sigi Schmid knows the Timbers and Portland really well, but I'm not sure the Galaxy have the overall talent to hang with the Timbers, especially knowing their defensive leader, Jelle Van Damme, is out on suspension and they are missing several other regulars. With Sebastian Blanco providing better cover for the offense, Portland is looking much better and I think that's the difference maker here.

This is my scarf now since I drooled on it.

Spot: Timbers 0, Galaxy 3

The queen of the cat collective was in full on prissy mode during her discussion about the match, and she didn't have any good thoughts about Portland or the Timbers. Spot, however, drooled a lot about the Galaxy and left 3 pieces of snot on Kip's arm to signify her pick. I'm feeling gross just typing this down, but this is exactly how the interview went. Thank god for disinfecting hand wipes.


1 comment:

  1. While there were 5 different predictions for the win this week, it's 2 for 2 for Lucy as she picks another exact score and result. - The Editors