Welcome to another forecast!
In their midweek game, the Portland Timbers played host to the New England Revolution, who somehow managed to leave Oregon with a draw. The Timbers scored first, finally breaking their goalscoring drought when Jeremy Ebobisse put a diving header past New England goalkeeper Brad Knighton. Ebobisse would get the second goal of the game as well, with a fortunate sort of deflection off the back of his foot. Unfortunately, the scoring hadn’t finished. In the last ten minutes of the game, the Revolution put two past Steve Clark, thanks to a solid effort by Cristian Penilla, Teal Bunbury and Gustavo Bou for the first, and then a not-so-good effort by the ref for the second. And since that questionable call was about the last second of the match, the match finished 2-2.
Standings still in progress from Wednesday. Hopefully this time I’ll actually get them up before kickoff, but no promises. It’s been a very busy few weeks for me. Regardless, I’ll have them posted for next week’s match against San Jose, so that you know where you rank heading into that last game.
This Sunday, the Timbers travel to Kansas City for their last regular season road match of 2019, and their fifth match in the last fifteen days. You may remember the Timbers’ last match against Sporting Kansas City, back at the beginning of the month; it was the last time the Timbers took all three points, which they managed courtesy of a stoppage time winner from Jeremy Ebobisse.
While the Timbers haven’t done well since that match, SKC’s done worse; they’ve lost four in a row and will miss the playoffs for the first time in several years. With 37 points and just ten wins on the season, they find themselves at 10th in the West. That said, they’re still SKC, and the Timbers should not take them lightly. No team ever wants to lose five in a row, and they’ll be looking to spoil Portland’s season, just like PTFC helped end theirs. And just in case that wasn’t enough motivation, at least some of the guys in blue will be playing for their jobs. This SKC team will also look rather different than the one that traveled to Portland three weeks ago: Krisztian Nemeth, Johnny Russell and Felipe Gutierrez are no longer on international duty, so Sporting has their goalscoring corps back.
On the other hand the Timbers are still playing for a spot in the playoffs. With 45 points, they still control their own fate, but if they do anything but win, they could lose that control. To help them take all three points, the Timbers have all of their attackers available, and certainly itching to avoid another goalless game. On the downside, Larrys Mabiala won’t appear in central defense; he got a yellow card against New England, and has to sit due to accumulation. With Julio Cascante still questionable, that means we’ll be hoping Bill Tuiloma and Claude Dielna can hold firm. Will that be enough for the Timbers to get a result?
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!