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Quick Preview: Union Visit Portland - Match & Betting Notes



Photo: Mike Barrera of AAT Sports Network


What's been happening?

The Union returned from their CCC run and squared off against Austin last Saturday. Although Philly looked like the more dangerous squad at various points in the match, a small stretch of mental mistakes ultimately cost them 3 points. Either way, the Union are still unbeaten in their MLS Campaign, and they look to continue that streak on the West Coast.


First, let's take a look at these last few days. The Union are going to be missing a handful of players in Portland, and those absentees had their international matches this week. We saw Damion Lowe and Andre Blake in a thriller against the US National Team, while Baribo and Gazdag rode the bench. The highlight of the week, however, came from Nathan Harriel as he scored a nice header in the friendly v. Guinea.


Match Notes and Presser

As he does every week, Jim Curtin spoke to the media before Saturday evening's match. In terms of a roster addition, Andrew Rick has been called up from Union II to sit behind Semmle. If you watched the Union II's win last week, then you saw how well the young keeper did in net. Philadelphia is very fortunate to have depth and promising youth behind Andre this season.


Again, the Union will be without the following players: Blake, Lowe, Gazdag, Baribo, McGlynn, Harriel, Martinez, and Bueno. We know that Curtin won't overly rotate the squad, and he will, in my opinion, go with what has worked in the past. I originally believed that Jack Elliott could play in the 6, but as Curtin hinted in the presser, you should see Wagner, Glesnes, Elliott, and Olivier in front of Semmle. In terms of the midfield, you know that Bedoya will be present for his leadership and reliability on the right. Although Sullivan has been a dynamic player so far on the right, I can certainly see a scenario where Quinn is slotted to the left of the diamond. He has played on the left before, and I'm not sure if Curtin wants to trot out Ngabo or Real in a tough situation on the road. Next, if Elliott is paired with Jakob, I have to assume that Makhanya has the tall task of playing the 6. Finally, with Uhre and Julian up top, that leaves Rafanello in the 10. Again, Curtin has put Jeremy in this position already this season, and I can see him doing it once more in Portland. Here's two clips of Curtin discussing the roster and the challenging situation they find themselves in tonight.




Betting Notes If you caught my appearance on The Designated Pundits, then you saw me discuss Union v Portland, as well as other matches this weekend. You can watch the full replay here. Like I say every week, I use Action Network to shop around for the best lines, and these numbers are coming from 12:45am on Saturday morning.


BetMGM currently has the Portland Moneyline at even money (+100), while Bet365 is putting the Union win at +260, and a draw at +275. An interesting number that I am looking at today is also the over 2.5. I'm not much of a totals person, just not really my thing. Over 2.5 at -127 on BetRivers isn't a bad option though. You know that Portland has a strong attack that could find ways to score against an inconsistent Union defense. Also, Philly still has Julian and Uhre up top, and they'll be facing a Timbers back line that has given up five goals on the season. I could certainly see this being a 2-1 or 3-0 output. Again though, I am not a totals guy, and that is more of a hunch than anything.


I said this last week before the Austin match, but the Philadelphia Union are unbettable right now if you are trying to build a consistent bankroll. If you're just looking to play this game for any type of action, it feels like the Portland Moneyline is your safest bet. You don't know how the Union will adjust to the heavy rotation and lack of depth, while the Timbers are in their home arena. I think half or a full unit on the home moneyline is a reasonable one to take.


As always, the Across the Pitch Team has their own selections for fun. I hit on the Mikael Uhre Anytime Goal last week, and we've found winners in each of the three MLS games thus far. Jose Nunez is thinking a 2-1 Portland win, and he believes that Carranza finds the back of the net. If you're looking to bet on Portland's players, he believes Rodriguez and Antony score as well. Dave is again down on the Union, and he thinks Portland shuts down Philly for a 2-0 outcome. Finally, it's March Madness right? Let's be a little optimistic! I'll take a 1-1 result with Jakob Glesnes finding the back of the net.


I've pulled some of the Anytime Goal Scoring options below from FanDuel:

Rodriguez: +130

Carranza: +200

Antony: +240

Uhre: +270

Sullivan: +460

Glesnes: +2000


Let's see if Philly can shock the MLS world and earn their first win of the season in Portland. Doop!


Mike Barrera (Mbarrera1323 on TikTok and Twitter)





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