Austin FC forward Cecilio Dominguez (10) is tripped up as he drives around Columbus Crew defender Milton Valenzuela (19) during an MLS soccer match, Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
- Austin FC looking for first win in two months when it hosts Portland Timbers on July 1st
- Portland, clinging to last playoff spot in the Western Conference, will aim for a second road win of the season
- Read on for a preview, full odds and a best bet for Thursday’s regular-season clash
As a team that has scored just once in its last seven games, expansion side Austin FC received a boost this week when it confirmed the signing of Senegalese youth international forward Moussa Djitte from French club Grenoble. Unfortunately Djitte won’t be available for Thursday’s contest against Portland, so the goal scoring burden will fall on the likes of winger Cecilio Dominguez, who leads the team with three goals.
Austin, who is winless in two games at home so far this season, might see a glimmer of hope in the shape of a first-ever meeting with Portland, however. While the Timbers saw a two-game unbeaten run come to an end at home against Minnesota on the weekend, they have conceded 10 goals on the road so far this year, the joint third-worst away defensive record in the Western Conference this season.
Austin FC vs Portland Timbers Odds
|Matchup||Spread at DraftKings||Moneyline||Total|
|Austin FC vs Portland Timbers||AUS -1 (+245) | POR +1 (-305)||AUS +116 | POR +225
|Ov 2.5 (-130) | Un 2.5 (-104)|
Odds as of July 1
Austin Hunts for Goals
There’s no two ways about it – it’s tough to win without scoring goals. With just six goals in 11 games, the expansion team has the lowest total in Major League Soccer, and with forwards such as Danny Hoesen – one of just two Austin players with previous goals against Portland – out for the season with a hip injury, there’s little light at the end of the tunnel.
🚨 BREAKING: #AustinFC signs 21-yr-old forward Moussa Djitté from French Ligue2 @GF38_Officiel.
The Senegalese player scored 1️⃣5️⃣ goals in 6️⃣2️⃣ matches for Grenoble. pic.twitter.com/jwrxJkroze
— Capital City Soccer (@CapCitySC) June 30, 2021
Djitte will certainly help, but he won’t be available until the July 22 game against Seattle at the earliest, according to sporting director Claudio Reyna. So the responsibility falls on Dominguez, Diego Fagundez and Jon Gallagher – who have scored all of the team’s goals this season – to try to break through.
Can We Expect a Breakthrough?
Austin has averaged 5.5 shots on target in each of its two home games at Q2 Stadium so far this season, the brand-new facility where it will play five of its next six games. While it’s fair to expect that home comfort to grow with each passing game, the team should be scoring more goals that it currently does.
One of the best halves of the season for #AustinFC in round 2 at home. But as ever, cannot turn any of their chances into a goal. Still, that was encouraging for the Verde against the defending champions. pic.twitter.com/iRiFY2RiZC
— Eric Goodman (@Goodman) June 28, 2021
The team has 42 shots on target so far this season, good for joint 10th in MLS. Every team in front of it in that statistical category is into double figures in goal scoring.
ℝ𝕠𝕒𝕕 𝕥𝕠 𝟜𝟝. #AustinFC drops in Week 10 standings, unable to convert shots to scores @ Q2. The club has a league-low 6 goals in 11 games. pic.twitter.com/vgmv9TMM4J
— Capital City Soccer (@CapCitySC) June 28, 2021
On top of that, the difference between the team’s actual goals scored and its expected goals (13.8) is -7.8, the second-biggest difference in MLS behind only the Chicago Fire, which is marginally in front (-7.9).
Portland Punchless on the Road
While Austin has struggled to fire on all cylinders at its new home, the Timbers have been fairly toothless away from Providence Park. Giovanni Savarese’s team has just one win and one draw from five games on its travels so far this season, scoring five and conceding 10.
The Portland Timbers fought back from a two goal half-time deficit to grab a much needed point on the road.
The Timbers managed to grab their first draw of the season, and broke a four-game losing streak when conceding first. pic.twitter.com/X9qqz8cjgL
— PTFC News HQ (@ptfcnewshq) June 24, 2021
Since the recent international break ended, Portland has gone 1-1-1, scoring four goals and conceding four goals, with leading scorer Dairon Asprilla leading the way with two goals over that span.
Austin FC vs Portland Timbers Key Stats
|2-5-4 (12th in West)||MLS Record||4-5-1 (7th in West)|
|20.0||Expected Goals Against||18.0|
|DDDLD||Form in Last Five Matches||WLWDL|
Can Timbers Beat Stuver?
Austin may be lacking an offensive punch, but goalkeeper Matt Stuver has been arguably its best player this season, leading the league in saves with 54. Stuver had six saves in Austin’s 0-0 draw against MLS Cup defending champion Columbus Crew last weekend, picking up his fourth clean sheet of the season.
Still waiting on that first MLS goal at Q2 Stadium…
Brad Stuver makes sure it stays 0-0 #AustinFC https://t.co/oE8JaNVynw
— KXAN News (@KXAN_News) June 28, 2021
All in all, signs point to a low-scoring affair at Q2 Stadium on Thursday evening, with a draw the most likely result.
- Best bet: Draw (+240); Under 2.5 (-104)
For the last 20 years, Paul Attfield has worked in sports media. Starting out in his native Britain with the likes of The Independent, he eventually switched continents, with his work appearing in the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Yahoo Sports since.