Well, we actually had time to breathe between matches. Welcome back to the last Forecast of 2019! As a reminder, we only run Timbers prediction threads during the regular season, so regardless of the result today, this is the final thread of the season.
Last week was one heck of a match. Two teams, four goals, three red cards, ten total cards, plus some post-match disciplinary fines. For the second time in the month of September, the Portland Timbers came back from a goal down to get a result against Sporting Kansas City. In this one, though, Portland actually scored first, thanks to a Sebastian Blanco banger; unfortunately, less than a minute later, they gave up the equalizer.
Five minutes after that, the two teams got into a scuffle that saw Brian Fernandez earn a yellow in the 35th minute, and a straight red a minute later; Felipe Gutierrez instigated the whole thing and got a yellow for his troubles; and to cap it off, Roger Espinoza earned a red for trying to choke Blanco. With that card, Espinoza became the most-dismissed player in league history. Having created enough drama for the moment, the two teams made it to half time even at one goal apiece and 10 men per side.
SKC got their second goal in the first minute of the second half, and would hold onto a 2-1 lead for almost 40 minutes. Then the 83rd minute rolled around, and Ilie Sanchez felt the need to hold back Jeremy Ebobisse, who was in 1v1 against the goalkeeper. He conceded a PK and earned a red card for his troubles. Dairon Asprilla, who was somehow on the field again, took the PK and cannoned it right past Tim Melia. And there the match would finish ten minutes later, with a final score of 2-2 and only 19 players on the pitch.
As promised, updated standings, showing points earned for the six(!) games I needed to catch up on. Timbers Pride still holds a comfortable 12 point lead, though with an excellent week lefthanded49 could catch up.
Standings Match 33
Despite not winning in nearly a month, the Timbers come into this final match of the 2019 MLS regular season with an 88% chance to make the playoffs according to Sports Club Stats. All the boys in green have to do is get some kind of result. Of course, they’ll have to manage the task without Brian Fernandez, who is suspended from last week’s red card, and possibly Diego Valeri, who’s suffering from a calf issue. And they’ll have to get that result against a San Jose Earthquakes side that is desperate to reach the playoffs for the first time in several years, and need a win to manage it.
Of course, San Jose comes into the game in even worse form than Portland: the Timbers haven’t gotten a win in their last five games - the Earthquakes haven’t managed even a point over the same span. Even considering San Jose’s form, it’s hard to call PTFC the favorite, since they haven’t been much better, and have notably struggled at Providence Park this year. But there are positives in their last three matches, and if they can build on those, they should get the result they need to make the playoffs. Can they actually manage it when boots hit the pitch?
Total Cards O/U: 5.5
The Scoring Format:
- Correct score: 5 points
- Correct result (draw/win/loss): 3 points
- Each clean sheet: 2 points
- Each goal-scorer: 1 point
- Each FK/PK/assist/lack of assist: 1 point
- Goal/assist bonus: 1 point
- Player with the first yellow card of the match: 1 point
- Each player with a red card: 1 point (You cannot earn points for predicting 0 red cards, but you may predict up to 3 players with a red.)
- Over/under on total cards: 1 point
Some ground rules and explanations/clarifications (the fine print):
You may amend your prediction at any point up to kickoff to account for game day 18 announcements. I recommend at least getting an initial prediction sooner, just in case you forget to come back in that hour or two before the game.
Keep your scoreline predictions realistic. Basically, if you’re predicting lots of goals all the time to just earn points on goals and assists and ignoring the score, I feel that goes against the spirit of this thread. This hasn’t been at all a problem in the last few years, so let’s keep it that way!
The goal/assist bonus is an additional point if you correctly get the correct scorer and assistant on the same goal. (For example, if Blanco scores, assisted by Valeri, and you predicted that exact combination, you get a total of three points: 1 goal, 1 assist, 1 bonus.)
Please be clear whether you think a goal will be unassisted, assisted, or from a PK/FK: Unassisted = no assist, run of play; Assisted = player who got the assist; PK/FK = directly from a free kick. For the purposes of this thread, a PK counts as an FK, and an FK as a PK. Just like predicting a player assist, you earn an assist point if you correctly predict an unassisted or free kick goal. If you just leave the assist section blank, I will assume you’re declining to make an assist prediction.
Even though a player can be awarded a secondary assist by OPTA, I will award a maximum of one assist point per goal. But that point can come from either the primary or secondary assist in the box score. However, please keep your predictions to one assist per goal.
For the over/under on cards, a second yellow leading to a red counts as two cards, not three.
You may predict more than one red card if you’re expecting a chippy match, but only up to three total.
If you’re looking for where I set the over/under on total cards, check the end of the preview paragraph after the standings.
In the comment title, post your predicted score with the winners; for example, 4-2 Timbers
In the body of your comment, start with the goals and assists, like so:
Valeri (Free kick)
Graham Zusi (Free kick)
Krisztian Nemeth (Johnny Russel)
Next, choose your first yellow card, and that means picking only one person:
First yellow to Matt Besler
Then reds, if any. (NOTE: No points awarded for correctly calling a red-card-free match, so take a guess.):
Roger Espinoza gets a red card for stomping Blanco.
Clearly note whether you’re predicting over or under on total cards. Don’t leave me to try to figure it out!