Last week, Austin FC was able to earn a draw against the San Jose Earthquakes. They ended the streak of scoreless matches as well with two goals, one in each half. Emiliano Rigoni scored his first goal in a Verde jersey as well which sparked a lot of conversation from the fans. While his contributions haven’t been major, I hope this is a kickstart to the rest of the season for him. He needs to live up to the expectations that come with being a DP.
Austin’s backline has struggled with not having Julio Cascante since the season opener. There are reports that he may see minutes in this match which should energize the team. It will additionally allow Josh Wolff to utilize Alexander Ring in other places of the pitch. I’m really looking forward to seeing Cascante back in the starting role.
The Timbers defeated the hot St. Louis City SC last week by a goal pushing them three spots up the power rankings. They were on a six match streak without a win through all of March and early April. A commanding victory over Seattle Sounders FC gave a little life back to the squad. Portland is ranked 8th in the Western Conference with a 3-2-5 record.
The Timbers are having to utilize everyone to score goals with no definite scorer emerging so far this season. They’ve won 3 of their last 5 matches including their U.S. Open Cup match against Orange County SC. Momentum is building for this squad and they will try to capitalize on that moving into this contest.
Austin FC only earned 2 points the entire month of April. Additionally, they went an entire calendar month without scoring a goal until last week against SJ. Portland has a good amount of momentum coming off 2 wins. The match will also be played in Portland, where they have 3 of their 4 wins.
History tells us that the first one to score between these two clubs has always won the match. Austin will have to make a statement by scoring early and holding strong on defense. But considering the factors at play and how Austin has been playing, I think they are going to shoot for a tie. My prediction is the game ends in a 1-1 tie with both goals coming in the first half. Hopefully, Cascante will be able to get back to taking on full-match minutes quickly and Austin can start pulling out some wins.