Today marks the first step towards the MLS season for us. All though it’s all too common pre-season preparation for me to just sit back, watch the transfers, watch the new squads form and apply my assessment with a fair amount of ease on a league I know all too well – this year is different.
With hundreds upon hundreds of members, most of which I’m sure will be new to MLS, it’s my job to show you the attractive side of the league and tempt you in to bet on what is actually one of the most colourful and entertaining leagues there is.
Now, I’m not saying it can stand up to most of the European main leagues – because we know it can’t. There’s no shame it that. Most people don’t know that MLS is barely a decade old, and that it’s retirement home tag is pure garbage. In reality, the likes of Beckham, Pele, Valderama, Juninho and Henry are just pure clever marketing tags that have helped a league full of young players and South American, US and African internationals grow rapidly.
Today, however, I’ll be sharing with you the first of 19 individual team reports and the best aspects of each club so you’re well prepared for the MLS season, in the know and I guarantee come March 19th I’ll have you gripped as you all decide which team to support for the season as we all begin our MLS betting journey! Today, I’ll be looking at the Portland Timbers.
The first thing you need to know about the Portland Timbers is that they’re part of what we call ‘Cascadia’. There are three teams in the MLS considered Cascadian Teams. You have the Vancouver Whitecaps, The Seattle Sounders, and the Portland Timbers.
These teams are bitter, bitter rivals. And if you think the MLS doesn’t do rivalries like Europe? Think again, as you’ll see how much beating Seattle means to the Portland fans in the next video.
Portland have been historically in the shadow of Seattle, but regardless of what the team does on the field they have perhaps consistently the best fans in the MLS – Although, Seattle fans will argue that.
Portland is home of the famous ‘Timber Army’, who are all about colour, passion and support. These guys at times are a mirror image of the most hardcore and die hard Italian or Brazilian fans you could find, and Portland has been an absolute fortress.
During their games you’ll notice the ‘Timbers Army’ is a supporter’s section situation at the home end of the ground behind the goal, and it consists of around 7,000 fans who will stand, sing and dance for 90 minutes, led by 12 Italian style Capo’s. You’ll notice the Capo’s and the Timbers style of support in the video below, as well as seeing the passion and hatred that comes from taking a 1-0 lead at home against the Seattle Sounders. Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch
But despite arguably the best support in the MLS, it’s little use if you can’t assemble a competitive team.
The Timbers entered the MLS only two seasons ago, and at the start of their third year, they’ve already established themselves as a tough team to beat at home.
The saying goes though you’re only as good as your last game – or in our case as we look ahead, your first game. The Portland Timbers will open up their season at home to the New York Red Bulls in what undoubtedly should be shown live on ESPN and is a great fixture.
Despite their resilience at home, there’s one thing you need to know about betting on the Timbers: Whatever you do with them at home, just do the opposite when they’re away, and you’ll usually win. They’re a train wreck on the road and rely heavily on home results to keep them away from the bottom of the league. Despite some pre-season additions, the Timbers should still finished low down what is a very strong MLS League this season.
In terms of what’s to look out for? Well, the best thing they’ve down since they joined MLS was get rid of Kris Boyd. Boyd has a terrible signing and a pure waste of a DP spot. A DP, or designated player, is a system designed by MLS to ensure equal weight and distribution of top level players joining from Europe and South America is given so every team has a fair shot at signing a ‘DP’, as they try and ensure all the teams grow together in what is a very young league, rather than LA or NYRB just buying all the talent and creating a two team league that becomes pointless to watch.
Boyd was a waste of a DP space and he’s been replaced now, which brings us to our Timbers player to look out for: Diego Valeri who’s on loan from Argentinian side Lanus, and he should have his way with some of the MLS teams this season.
Predicted finish: 7th out of 9th in the Western Conference.