Welcome to another Forecast!
In their midweek match against the visiting Chicago Fire, the Portland Timbers got their second win in the second game of this ten-game home stand. The match started well, as the Timbers went up two goals in less than 25 minutes. Then, Chicago’s Aleksander Katai got himself a red card in minute 30, and PTFC added a man advantage to the one on the scoreboard.
Shortly thereafter, however, Portland began to backslide: They dropped their intensity; they relaxed, and Larrys Mabiala went off injured. The score at halftime was still 2-0, but Chicago had already started to claw back into the match. In the 74th minute, that culminated in a goal by Nemanja Nikolic to make for a nervy end to the match. Then in the 88th minute, Brian Fernandez got his second goal of the night, and the Timbers were up by two again. The score hardly lasted four minutes, as CJ Sapong added a second for Chicago in the second minute of stoppage time. Thankfully, that was it for goals and the match ended with a Timbers victory by a score of 3-2.
A lot of you got a pretty decent haul of points from the two matches, with STYLES34 leading the way with a combined 19 points, and MofoOG following with 17. The standings mirror those of the Western Conference: There’s a 14-point gap between first and second, but then there’s only a one-point gap between second and third, a one-point gap between fourth and fifth, and second and seventh are separated by a total of 14 points. Y’all have some work to do if you want to catch Timbers Pride!
Standings Match 24
This Sunday is a big one. Last year, Atlanta United beat PTFC for the MLS Cup, and this weekend is the first time the teams have seen each other since. Surely, some of the Timbers will be looking for a bit of revenge — even if it’s just a regular season match and not a Cup final. But Portland will have to do some work to get all three points: The boys in green have never beaten Atlanta, with the only previous game in Portland ending in a draw.
Atlanta features Josef Martinez, who now has 20 goals on the season and is just three behind Carlos Vela in the race for the Golden Boot. Atlanta also has the second-stingiest defense in the league, having allowed just 30 goals on the season. PTFC will have to figure out how to untie that back line to have a chance at taking three points, and they’ll have to do it while containing Martinez. Are they up to the task? Can PTFC make it three in a row and get to 40 points for the season?
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!