Portland Timbers vs. Austin FC Prediction, Preview, and Odds - 11/7/21
Austin FC will try to avoid a last-place finish in the Western Conference when it travels to Portland on Sunday. It has been a disappointing year for the newest expansion team, as it has lost 20 of its 33 matches. The Timbers are locked into fourth place in the standings, so this match does not have any playoff implications.
Austin playing for pride
Austin FC’s only goal heading into the final week of the season will be to avoid a last-place finish in the Western Conference. It currently has 31 points, which puts them one point ahead of Houston at the bottom of the table. Austin has only recorded nine wins this year, losing 20 of its 33 matches. Two of those nine victories have come in its last three fixtures. It picked up a 2-1 win at home against Houston on Oct. 23, but it lost at Dallas in a 2-1 final last Saturday. Austin bounced back from that defeat with a 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.
The match started with a bang, as Sebastian Driussi put his team on top in the first minute of the match. Julio Cascante doubled the lead 21 minutes later and Jared Stroud added a third goal 15 minutes after halftime. Kansas City’s lone goal was in the 65th minute, but it was too little, too late for the visitors. Sporting KC dropped out of first place in the Western Conference, so it was a damaging and shocking result. Austin is the lowest-scoring team in the conference, netting just 35 goals this season. It has lost its last eight consecutive road matches.
Portland moving on up
Portland has won its last two matches, which has moved them to fourth place in the Western Conference table. It is six points back of Colorado and is four points clear of Minnesota in the standings, so there will be no movement regardless of what happens in this match. The Timbers bounced back from a 2-0 loss to Colorado with a 2-0 win over San Jose. They added to that momentum with a 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. Sebastian Blanco put his team in front 17 minutes into the match and they doubled their lead on an own goal seven minutes before halftime.
Blanco scored seven minutes later to make it a 3-0 lead at halftime. Real Salt Lake scored its lone goal with two minutes left in the match. Portland held just 35% of the possession and was out-shot 20-12, but it capitalized on all three of its shots on target. The Timbers have been one of the top goal-scoring teams in the league this year, netting 53 total goals. Their defense has not been quite as strong, allowing 52 goals. They have given up the tenth-most goals of any team in the MLS.
Spread (Austin +0.75)
Austin is not a team most people want to back away from home, which is certainly an understandable thought. The club is riding an eight-game road losing streak and has been one of the worst teams in the MLS this season. However, they have now won two of their last three matches overall and bring some strong form into this match. They are going to be motivated to finish their inaugural season on a high note and avoid a last-place finish in the standings.
Portland is already locked into its playoff position, so I actually expect the road team to be more motivated on Sunday.
Total (Over 3)
Portland has been one of the highest-scoring teams in the MLS this season, but it has also been one of the leakiest defensive sides. The Timbers are heavily correlated with the over, as they are going to score and allow goals at a high rate. I expect their defensive motivation to be lower than usual, as their position in the playoffs has already been secured. Austin is coming off several strong offensive showings, so I expect that to carry over into this match. Both teams should get on the board, which makes the over an appealing wager.
Will the Timbers be motivated for their final match of the regular season on Sunday?