The MLS is Back Tournament round of 16 continues on Tuesday as Portland Timbers face FC Cincinnati with a quarterfinal berth on the line. Portland won Group F with two wins and a draw, earning seven points, and they took the group title with a hard-fought comeback tie against LAFC in the final group game. Meanwhile, FC Cincinnati stunned both Atlanta United and Red Bulls New York to finish second in Group E with six points.
These teams have met once in their history as expansion FC Cincinnati picked up their first-ever win with a 3-0 home victory over Portland on March 17, 2019. Kendall Watson scored in the first half before Allan Cruz, and Mathieu Deplagne tallied in a three-minute span in the second half. Spencer Richey tallied three saves to pick up his and the franchise’s first clean sheet.
FC Cincinnati Outlook: Continue the Miracle Run
After dropping their first tournament game 4-0 to Columbus Crew, FC Cincinnati beat 10-man Atlanta United 1-0 and RBNY 2-0 to advance to the knockout round. Frankie Amaya scored for the Orange and Blue to beat Atlanta while Przemyslaw Tyton made three saves. Yuya Kubo got Cincinnati on the board in the 43rd minute against RBNY before an own goal in the 56th minute doubled the lead while Tyton made five saves.
On the season Kubo leads Cincinnati with two goals while Adrien Regattin has two assists. Tyton has consecutive wins after Richey allowed five goals in his two starts this season. New manager Jaap Stam has his team settled into the new system, and even though they have had less than 40% of the possession in two games this tournament, they are the Cinderella team at +3300 to win it all.
Portland Timbers FC Outlook: Keep the Momentum Going
The Portland Timbers have been repeatedly tested in Orlando, and so far, they have passed each test. Steve Clark saved a penalty kick early in the opener against LA Galaxy before Jeremy Ebobisse, and Sebastian Blanco scored for the 2-1 win.
In the first half and Jeremy Ebobisse gave Portland a 1-0 lead in the 59th minute. Ebobisse and captain Diego Valeri scored in the 2-1 win over Houston Dynamo, and Ebobisse earned the group title with an 81st-minute game-tying goal against LAFC in the finale.
Ebobisse and Valeri lead the team with three goals each on the season while Blanco has a goal and three assists. Clark has been in goal for all five of the Timbers 2020 games with three wins and one draw while making 11 saves. Portland enters the knockout round at +900 to win it all, down from +2300 when the tournament began.
FC Cincinnati/Portland Timbers Betting Lines
- Portland Timbers -133 to win
- FC Cincinnati +321 to win
- Draw +284
- Over/Under 2.5 goals (O -116, U -113)
Portland’s offense has been consistent with two games in each of the three games in the tournament, and their defense has done just enough thus far. Cincinnati has benefitted from their opponents’ mistakes in Orlando but can’t continue counting on that happening. Portland has the better talent and more firepower to advance to the quarterfinals and a date against NYCFC on Saturday.
FREE PICK: Portland Timbers to win (-133)