It’s almost match day again, so welcome back to the Forecast!
Last match, the Portland Timbers faced the LA Galaxy and ‘Ferrari’ Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But it turns out, if you can keep the Ferrari boxed in, no one else can beat you. So the Timbers kept Ibrahimovic locked down and in doing so, kept a clean sheet en route to a 4-0 win.
While the game was a bit more nervy than the final scoreline would indicate, some excellent finishing and some excellent saves earned Portland a blowout win. The Galaxy pressed hard in the opening minutes, but nothing came of their effort, and so it was Cristhian Paredes who opened the scoring in the 37th minute. Four minutes later, Diego Valeri left Daniel Steres spinning on the way to scoring the second goal of the match. Late in the second half, Paredes scored again on an excellent volley, and then Jeremy Ebobisse added the fourth in the last minutes of the match. In addition to the two goals, the last fifteen minutes featured plenty of frustration as Zlatan earned himself a yellow card, Efrain Alvarez saw red, and the match ended in a bit of a brawl wherein Dairon Asprilla and Diego Polenta earned reds as well.
Shout out to jocked07, who was brave enough to predict that PTFC could keep a clean sheet against Ibrahimovic. Many of you knew that the match would see red cards, but alas, no one correctly guessed who would receive them, so there aren’t any additional points from all that extra drama.
Working on standings. Hope to have them ready Saturday evening, but no promises!
This weekend, the Timbers travel to the Twin Cities for their second-to-last away match of the year. Minnesota United has only lost once at home this season, and they are fifth in the West on both points and points-per-game; in other words, this isn’t the Minnesota of seasons past. Of course, in July, PTFC made a habit of knocking off good teams in their home stadiums, so they’ll expect to add a second loss for Minnesota. In Minnesota’s favor is the fact that the Timbers have not taken even a point from the Land of 10,000 Lakes in their two visits. In addition, Minnesota will likely try to bunker against the Timbers — a game plan that Orlando recently used to good effect against Portland. Will the Timbers break down the Minnesota defense enough to earn a point — or three?
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 and figure it out!