Portland vs New England is a battle of the giants during Major League Soccer’s opening weekend. Portland finished as runner-up in the MLS Cup Playoffs last season, losing to New York City FC 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw through extra time. New England, meanwhile, topped the regular-season table with 73 points, 19 clear of the second-place Philadelphia Union.
Season-opening matches are always exciting because every team and athlete feels like it could be their year — some are more delusional than others, but after what could be considered successful campaigns from both of these clubs last season, they will rightly be backing themselves to make more noise in 2022.
Portland is favored in the impending matchup, boasting +115 odds to New England’s +190 (draw at +230). Taking into account how the teams finished the season last year, this is a fair assessment. Portland reached the final of the cup and was ultimately the second-best team when it counted, whereas the Revs, who dominated the regular season, were eliminated in the conference semifinals, their first match of the postseason.
Portland vs New England did not happened last season, so there is no recent precedent at play. Both teams will be healthy and well-rested, too, ensuring that the very best versions of themselves will be on full display. The quality of the MLS is beginning to precede its usual reputation, too, especially with various stars and recognizable figures from around the globe making the trip to America.
Just recently, Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar, one of the most acclaimed and popular soccer players in the entire world, said that he would love to come to the MLS for at least a year before his professional career ends.
Just imagine a teammate of Leo Messi and Kylian Mbappe saying that he would like a move somewhere else, much less to your local city or state. Certainly, the Timbers and the Revs would wish that he could suit up for them this weekend ahead of their clash.
If there is one cause for caution, it is that New England actually has the best odds to win the entire season at +550, so marking them as an underdog on Saturday’s Portland vs New England game is a bit of a gamble. Then again, they did win last year’s campaign, so it makes sense why they would have such great odds on successfully traversing the regular season.
The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and as the ninth of nine Saturday events, capping off an exciting opening day of soccer action.
The Super Bowl might be a thing of the past, and March Madness may be at least a few weeks away, but the MLS is the place to be for American sports fans right now — especially with the country’s international success.
Americans need to pay more attention to soccer because the market is growing, and the action is captivating.