In effervescent form in front of goal, the Men in Red should be backed to ensure entertainment right from the start against Caleb Porter’s men
Eastern Conference leaders Chicago Fire will be hoping to maintain their strong form on Wednesday, when they travel to a Portland Timbers side currently sitting third in the Western Conference.
Top of the Supporters Shield standings after winning eight and losing none of their last 10 MLS matches, Veljko Paunovic’s team are on offer at 11/5 (3.20) to stay on track for glory with another victory at Providence Park.
Meanwhile, the Timbers are without a victory in five fixtures, but can be backed at 11/10 (2.10) to return to winning ways in this one.
Three of the last four meetings between the sides have resulted in draws, and you can get odds of 5/2 (3.50) on them cancelling each other out yet again here.
Considering their only play-off appearance in the last seven years was back in 2012, the Men in Red’s rise to the top of the MLS this season has served as an extremely welcome surprise for their long-suffering fans.
While Bastian Schweinsteiger has inspired his team-mates to raise their game since arriving at the beginning of the season, fellow new signing Nemanja Nikolic has led from the front with 16 goals in 18 matches.
That return has helped transform Paunovic’s outfit into the top-scoring team in either conference, and encourage talk of a first MLS Cup title since the franchise’s debut season in 1998.
This excitement is partly down to the way the team have been blowing teams away straight from kick-off in recent weeks, finding the net before the break in eight of their last 10 league matches (13 first-half goals in total).
However, they are unlikely to be the only names on the scoresheet against Caleb Porter’s side, who are the top-scorers in the Western Conference with 32 goals to their name.
In fact, considering Portland have also struck prior to half-time in each of the last six matches, odds of 7/5 (2.40) seem generous on them helping to ensure over 1.5 first-half goals are scored against a rampant Chicago.