Well, folks, we are back! I for one, could not be happier. Just like my beloved Red Bulls, I’m the reigning Supporter’s Shield winner. Also like my beloved Red Bulls, I flamed out in the Conference Finals. Oh well, I’m feeling good about this year. We have several new faces joining the poll of experts this year as well. Welcome aboard, Laura, Joe, Daniel, Matt and Bill.
MLS Pick ‘em 2016: Week 1 – Portland Timbers V. Columbus Crew SC
As this is week one, we don’t have a table yet, but stay tuned. As a reminder, every correct prediction earns one point for the correct outcome and two points for the correct score. The bottom two teams at the end of week 34 miss the playoffs.
We start the season strong with a rematch of MLS Cup 2015 between the Portland Timbers and Columbus Crew. This time, the Timbers host the Crew and raise their first championship banner in MLS. Will Portland be able to repeat the MLS Cup triumph or will the Crew get their sweet revenge? Let’s see what the experts say:
The Timbers will finally get their first win in March under Caleb Porter. While they’ve started slow in recent years, they’ve also started without Diego Valeri in recent years, and this year he’s healthy and in form. Their high flying from since the switch to the 4-3-3 late last season will continue.
Columbus were simply outclassed by a better team in MLS Cup 2015. Not much has changed since except the likelihood that Kei Kamara will not have as productive a season as he did last year. Barring some sort of calamity, look for the Timbers to dominate teams at home this season, starting with the second best club in MLS last season.
The Columbus Crew got close to the prize last season and were left wanting. 2016 could be their year. The Timbers will prove MLS Cup hangover is a real disorder, although they’ll make an attempt to rally.
Timbers will have a slight championship hangover and with Kamara signed plus Finlay and Tchani coming out of January camp, Crew will be looking for revenge out of the gate.
Grudge from the cup final to start, but also Timbers are perennial slow starters and Crew have to distract the fans from wearing such a hideous shirt this season. Timbers aren’t great at scoring anyway so even with the long travel for Crew I think they’ll come into this with more desire and walk out with three points. Revenge.
Timbers will be in a bit of celebration mode. Columbus will come out focused from the get go. Timbers will score in the second half to cut the deficit, but Crew defense will outlast the waves of attack in the end.
A terrible officiating decision (or non-decision) led to the goal that won the game for Portland in MLS. Other than that, both sides were relatively even. Kamara and Adi each bag one in a cagey first match of the season.
The Timbers will be amped up for their title celebration, but Fanendo Adi misses exactly three sitters and they have to scramble for a late winner. The Crew have chances of their own, but Adam Kwarasey gets in the way to earn man of the match.
Columbus will be looking for MLS Cup revenge, but this won’t be the usual sad and slow early season Portland team. The Timbers will be up for the challenge, but won’t be able to pull of a win. It will be evenly matched, with each side narrowly missing the opportunity for the win.
|Portland is going to start hot at home with the star added to their kit and extra bounce in their step. They own the PNW for now, and they will show it right out of the gate.|
Main Photo: Jamie Sabau, Getty Images