In their pursuit for the playoffs, the Portland Timbers may do themselves a great benefit by hosting Minnesota United at Providence Park on Saturday.
With only two points separating them from the Loons for fifth place going into this game, Portland is clinging to the final postseason spot in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer.
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Portland Timbers vs Minnesota United Tips and Prediction
The Timbers, who have won three straight games by a score of 2-1, including last Sunday’s victory against Atlanta United, are currently in strong position to make a sixth straight trip to the MLS Cup playoffs.
With only four games left in 2022, Portland has a slim shot of returning to the postseason, but they cannot afford to make any more mistakes.
The Los Angeles Galaxy, who have one more victory than the 2021 MLS Cup runners-up, are in a tight race with the Portland Timbers for the final playoff spot. The Galaxy trail the Timbers by just three points with two games remaining.
The Timbers have been among the most inconsistent teams in MLS for the majority of the regular season, going on two separate winning and losing streaks while also recording the most ties (12) in the Western Conference.
Since Giovanni Savarese has been the team’s head coach, they have frequently saved their greatest performances for the last weeks of a regular season campaign.
Because the Venezuelan took over, they have not lost more than once in each of their final four regular-season games, which may be a sign of things to come since there are only four games left in 2022.
In addition to scoring twice from the penalty spot against the Five Stripes, they have scored half of their goals during their current three-game winning streak from a distance of 12 yards, the highest percentage in the league, accounting for 20.4% of their goals this season (10 of their 49 total goals).
They’ve won eight straight games at Providence Park, have only dropped two games there all year, and have the third-best home record in the MLS. Adrian Heath and his Minnesota team presumably don’t currently subscribe to the notion that good things happen in threes.
The reason for this is that the Loons have given up three goals in back-to-back home games, including three goals in the first three minutes of last Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Dallas at home.
Their present success sheds light on what may happen in this league when you become a little too comfortable and complacent.
Prior to those two losses, Minnesota appeared to be doing well, having earned points in 10 of their previous 11 MLS games. However, last month ended with a 3-0 loss at Real Salt Lake.
While they are not in great shape right now, their good performance from the end of June to the end of August has provided them some breathing room in the Western Conference, despite their current condition.
Only two points separate Minnesota from the Toros in third place in the West, where they now possess a five-point playoff lead.
Heath has done well to mix pressing and other tactics while also managing to get the best out of a number of players, as this team has shown they do not need to rely solely on one individual. Heath frequently uses the same setup at the beginning of matches.
After their top performer was sidelined versus Dallas due to a knock, adding to this team’s mounting record of injuries, they may need to rely on that depth this weekend.
Reynoso’s health will be a key narrative leading up to this match, but regardless of whether he plays or not, we would still support Portland to win given their momentum going into this weekend and their ability to continuously step up their play at the right times.