Serie A Round 34 Top Betting Picks and Predictions - Picks

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SoccerVista - soccer results, predictions and betting picks, Fixed

SoccerVista - soccer results, predictions and betting picks, Fixed submitted by jacksonchristy to u/jacksonchristy [link] [comments]

I'mma head out

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BOT Report 2019 🎆

As promised yesterday I am posting the yearly results from 01/01/19 to the 31/12/19 📅
In 2019, we had 45 Tipsters and 2044 Tips that were tracked by the bot. The results are presented in the table below 📊
Placing Tipster Stakes [Units] Wins [Units] Tips Prediction Rate [%] ROI [%] Mean Odds Main Betting Style
1. WithMyGhosts 171.0 31.520 105 58.10% 18.43% 2.095 Over
2. TBlobmaster 284.0 49.210 76 65.79% 17.33% 1.787 BTTS
3. ExperientialAra 470.0 33.060 118 68.64% 7.03% 1.663 1X2
4. Lewlew1 47.0 5.885 45 62.22% 12.52% 1.773 1X2
5. thepunterlife 32.0 5.190 32 78.12% 16.22% 1.562 Over
6. akward_tension 4.0 4.000 4 25.00% 100.00% 7.688 1X2
7. mardinimerc 470.0 7.873 224 62.95% 1.68% 1.648 1X2
8. tropianhs 141.5 7.580 69 33.33% 5.36% 3.212 1X2
9. ThaMadRippa 5.0 3.000 5 100.00% 60.00% 1.600 1X2
11. Wolfframm 126.0 6.450 38 57.89% 5.12% 1.849 AH
12. ForeverLearning- 42.0 2.460 29 65.52% 5.86% 1.705 Over
13. backthewinnertips 14.0 1.340 14 71.43% 9.57% 1.601 1X2
14. pavave 5.0 1.300 5 60.00% 26.00% 2.570 1X2
15. GonnSoares 4.0 1.200 4 75.00% 30.00% 1.805 Over
16. SiggySmilez 15.5 1.170 15 60.00% 7.55% 1.818 BTTS
17. Revpicks 2.0 2.200 1 100.00% 110.00% 2.100 DNB
18. Mu7i 2.0 1.040 2 100.00% 52.00% 1.520 1X2
19. JayGoatUK 5.0 5.000 1 100.00% 100.00% 2.000 1X2
20. kmxcat 1.0 0.900 1 100.00% 90.00% 1.900 AH
21. erkki98 7.0 0.820 7 57.14% 11.71% 1.903 1X2
22. maxallergy 7.0 0.660 7 57.14% 9.43% 2.166 1X2
23. kys_kys_kys_kyskys 0.9 0.450 1 100.00% 50.00% 1.500 Over
24. TrimPeachu 4.5 0.375 5 40.00% 8.33% 1.908 BTTS
25. neonzzzzz 57.0 0.020 42 61.90% 0.04% 1.665 AH
26. BlueN35 2.0 -0.025 2 50.00% -1.25% 2.338 1X2
27. pulleapulu 8.0 -0.250 6 33.33% -3.12% 2.583 1X2
28. Jironasaurus 100.0 -20.000 2 50.00% -20.00% 1.875 AH
29. LealPFernando 5.0 -0.920 4 50.00% -18.40% 1.835 1X2
30. johnnyc91 16.0 -3.440 4 50.00% -21.50% 1.578 BTTS
31. RaBrussels 1.0 -1.000 1 0.00% -100.00% 1.980 1X2
32. CreditPikachu 1.0 -1.000 1 0.00% -100.00% 2.770 1X2
33. _seaborn 6.0 -1.120 6 33.33% -18.67% 2.265 1X2
34. Social-Soccer 18.0 -1.380 16 50.00% -7.67% 2.038 Over Team
35. betjay_uk 6.0 -1.890 6 33.33% -31.50% 2.337 1X2
36. Sti302fuso 10.0 -5.800 4 25.00% -58.00% 2.095 DNB
37. LateralNaArea 19.0 -4.650 19 36.84% -24.47% 2.051 1X2
38. EdmundVDantes 9.0 -7.280 6 16.67% -80.89% 2.420 1X2
39. drearyDusk 9.15 -2.785 18 44.44% -30.44% 1.584 Over Team
40. torneoSB 50.0 -13.366 25 40.00% -26.73% 2.902 1X2
41. SmileyOurBestSpy 284.0 -9.580 284 53.52% -3.37% 1.897 BTTS
42. Surpitch 267.5 -22.590 130 56.92% -8.44% 1.628 BTTS
43. adilbrohi 95.9 -15.640 98 44.90% -16.31% 2.011 Under
44. coolcoconut123 239.5 -24.730 235 46.38% -10.33% 2.004 BTTS
45. elGordoMiguel 322.0 -56.980 322 47.20% -17.70% 2.034 Over
And these below are the p values...for everyone with more than 5 games and positive ROI 📈
Placing Tipster Stakes [Units] Wins [Units] Tips Mean Odds Standard Deviation t-statistic p-Value
1. WithMyGhosts 171.0 31.520 105 2.095 1.037 1.912 0.029
2. TBlobmaster 284.0 49.210 76 1.787 0.861 1.333 0.093
3. ExperientialAra 470.0 33.060 118 1.663 0.792 1.138 0.129
4. mardinimerc 470.0 7.873 224 1.648 0.796 0.706 0.241
5. Lewlew1 47.0 5.885 45 1.773 0.870 0.434 0.333
6. thepunterlife 32.0 5.190 32 1.562 0.733 0.401 0.346
7. tropianhs 141.5 7.580 69 3.212 1.502 0.204 0.419
8. Wolfframm 126.0 6.450 38 1.849 0.920 0.130 0.448
9. ForeverLearning- 42.0 2.460 29 1.705 0.837 0.109 0.457
10. backthewinnertips 14.0 1.340 14 1.601 0.772 0.065 0.475
11. SiggySmilez 15.5 1.170 15 1.818 0.903 0.049 0.481
12. neonzzzzz 57.0 0.020 42 1.665 0.816 0.001 0.500
Congratulations to WithMyGhosts for a great result. 18.43% ROI over 105 bets!
Also congrats to TBlobmaster and ExperientialAra for placing 2nd and 3rd respectively.
It was a good year for many of us. I hope to see you all in 2020 and all with a positive ROI!
Thanks to all participants. Please take into account that the bot does not track all tipsters. If you are interested in having your tips logged next week, I made an in-depth post how to format your tips in the Daily Picks Thread.
This post was created automatically by a scripting bot. If you find a mistake, just PM me. If you would like to add a feature to the bot, we can discuss it in the comments.
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Countdown to Kickoff 2020: Portland Timbers

Countdown to Kickoff 2020: Portland Timbers

Basic Info:

Club Name: Portland Timbers
Location: Portland, Oregon
Stadium: Providence Park. Beautiful timelapse of the recent renovations.
Head Coach: Giovanni Savarese (3rd year)
Captain: Diego Valeri
CEO/Majority Owner: Merritt Paulson
USL Affiliate: Timbers 2
Kits:

2019 in Review

Final Standings: 14-13-7 (W-L-D), 49 pts, +3 GD, 6th in the West
In one word, the 2019 Portland Timbers season was draining. It was an endurance test for the players. It was an endurance test for even the most ardent supporters. And it was certainly an endurance test for a Front Office that invested serious capital into organizational infrastructure. Bookended by snowy affairs in the Rocky Mountains, a year filled with tantalizing potential melted away, leaving a passionate (some might say capricious) fanbase searching for explanations. So, what went wrong?
Well, it was always going to be an uphill battle from the opening kick. Starting with the coldest game in MLS history in Colorado, the Timbers faced a daunting 12-match road trip to accommodate the impressive renovations to Providence Park’s East stand. After accumulating 1 pt from the first six matches, including blow out losses to both FC Cincinnati (!) and then-winless San Jose, the fanbase collectively smashed the panic button entering a match against ex-coach Caleb Porter and his Columbus Crew. However, for the next few months, we witnessed a different team and a different mentality. Three consecutive quality victories against Columbus, Toronto, and RSL brought the team back from the abyss. And a subsequent win against upstart Philadelphia saw Portland finish its road marathon at a respectable 14 points.
Suddenly, the narrative flipped. Pundits consistently listed the Timbers at the top of their power rankings, and with 17 of the final 22 matches at one of the best home-field advantages in MLS, it seemed the positive momentum would prevail indefinitely. More importantly though, the Timbers had found their final piece to the puzzle: an elite, ruthless, and fiery DP striker in Brian Fernandez. Fresh off an impressive campaign with Necaxa in Liga MX, the Argentine became the first player in history to score in five consecutive regular-season games to open an MLS career. His clinicality and intensity raised the level of the squad, leading Steve Clark to don the classic Michael Myers mask from Halloween, declaring Providence Park as a “House of Horrors” for the opponent.
But as it turned out, the team never truly reacclimated to the friendly confines of its home pitch. After four months (incl. preseason) away from home, the squad’s lethal counter-attacking style was far more suited for road matches which provided no impetus to play attractive soccer. Away victories at elite opponents including NYCFC, Seattle, and LAFC provided a stark contrast to disheartening home performances against the likes of Colorado, Orlando, and 10-man Chicago. And soon, the atmosphere off-the-field began to match the team’s sudden struggles on the pitch.
Political viewpoints aside, the Iron Front protests and Diego Valeri’s contract impasse ignited an already contentious relationship between the Timbers Army and FO. Meanwhile, as the squad racked up disappointing home results due to uninspired offensive play, home attendance began to waver more so than years past. While the home sell-out streak remains to this day, the increased number of empty seats in Providence Park was a pretty blunt indication of increased apathy towards the organization.
And then, there was the cherry on top. After missing consecutive matches due to a reported “stomach bug,” it became pretty clear Brian Fernandez was not the same player he was in the early summer. With a complicated and somber family history, Fernandez had struggled with substance abuse issues in the past but seemed to be on the path to full recovery during recent years. However, in October, Fernandez entered the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, and just as his story arc in green-and-gold faded to black, the Timbers season finished with a whimper. Jefferson Savarino’s 87th-minute goal in snowy Utah knocked the Timbers out of Cup contention. Eleven months following an exciting run to MLS Cup, Portland entered the 2020 offseason weary, drained, and searching for a new beginning.

The Coach

Giovanni Savarese
I expected 2019 to provide more clarity on Giovanni Savarese’s coaching aptitude, but as I sit here one year later, I’m still left with more questions than answers. Gio’s passion and fervor was a refreshing juxtaposition to Caleb Porter’s often smug demeanor, but his far more conservative style still ruffles the feathers of fans who yearn for the days of “Porterball.” While Savarese implemented a high-pressing, dynamic, and open style during his time at the Cosmos, he has yet to find similar success doing so in the Rose City. The past two seasons have exhibited nearly the same progression: start the season trying to play pressing-style soccer, get beat badly, and then resort to a conservative, counter-attacking approach.
The truth of the matter is the conservative style fits the Portland Timbers. When the defense is solid, Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco are talented enough to win the game on the counter by themselves. However, this tactical inflexibility is essentially the sole on-field contributor for why the team struggled so mightily down the stretch. When teams packed it in and eliminated the possibility of counter-attacks, Portland could not break down the opposition, resorted to launching an MLS record number of crosses, and got scorched on counters going the other way. A taste of their own medicine if you will.
In 2020, Savarese has no excuse. There’s no road trip to start the season, he has a loaded arsenal of complimentary attacking weapons, and now it’s abundantly clear the Timbers must learn how to control games from the front foot. An identity is useful, but flexibility is a requirement to be great. The club wants to (has to) win now, and they’ve invested significantly into personnel and infrastructure to do so. Now, it’s up to Savarese to lead the team to silverware.

Departures

Brian Fernandez (ST): This one hurts. There are no two ways about it. Fernandez truly convinced GM Gavin Wilkinson and TD Ned Grabavoy that he was past his struggles, but unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be the case. As Wilkinson stated in The Athletic, “if we could go back and do it again, we wouldn’t have done it,” adding “what I will say is the word fraud exists for a reason.” Rumors suggest Necaxa covered up a failed drug test, and MLS is currently launching a lawsuit to help the club recoup the transfer fee. While Wilkinson suggests Fernandez was a bust, the truth is he scored 15 goals in ~25 games in all comps, showing a ruthlessness in front of goal that rivaled the Martinez’s and Ruidiaz’s of the league. As people who have met him can attest, he’s a vibrant and kind individual regardless of the fact he continues to face difficult obstacles off the field. It's just such a disappointment that it didn’t all come together, and I pray for his health and safety.
Zarek Valentin (RB): This one hurts too. Zarek was a staple of the community, someone who embraced Portland as his home, and was as approachable as any professional athlete. With initiatives like wearing a rainbow ribbon in his hair to fundraise for homeless LGBT+ youth, Zarek was an ideal steward for the club and community. With our lack of fullback depth, leaving him unprotected in the expansion draft was far from a popular decision - one that strained an already frayed relationship between the Front Office and some fans. That said, as amazing as Zarek is, his lack of athleticism was starting to catch up to him. He even admitted some struggles down the stretch, and as more talented/athletic wingers enter the league, his minutes might soon reflect it. Zarek’s versatility, eccentricity, and civic involvement will certainly be missed though. Houston, you’ve got a great dude.
Claude Dielna (CB): The most puzzling move of 2019, it didn’t take an acute observer to recognize that Dielna struggled in MLS. Wilkinson and Grabavoy took a one-year flier on Dielna to be the 4th-stringer, and the outcome was fairly predictable. He possesses a silky left foot which allows him to pick sharp passes out of the back, but he can’t run, can’t jump, and can’t defend 1v1. All of those attributes are pretty essential requirements for playing CB in any league, so it’s no surprise to see the organization not renew his contract. In the end, I wouldn’t suggest Dielna self-immolated like many horrific Timbers CBs of yesteryear (see McKenzie, Raushawn), but I highly doubt anyone will be pining for his return.
Foster Langsdorf (ST): Langsdorf may be used as an example of a Homegrown the Timbers failed to move through the ranks, but letting him go makes sense (unfortunately.) In a 2019 season essential for his development, he failed to make any significant impact at the USL level, and at 24, he would’ve entered the 2020 campaign in the exact spot he did the previous two seasons. Despite some clever finishes in the 2018 USL season, he’s not a legitimate option for the first team in this day in age - especially when similarly-aged strikers Felipe Mora, Jaroslaw Niezgoda, and Jeremy Ebobisse boast far more developed skillsets.
Modou Jadama (CB/RB): Jadama made two total appearances for the first team over two seasons, including one start at RB at Montreal in 2019. To be frank, he didn’t particularly shine as an MLS-caliber player during that time, so his opportunity to cement himself in the organization’s plans came and went. Now at Atlanta United 2, I think he’ll be a good fit for a full-time USL position, although we probably could have used CB depth with Bill Tuiloma’s injury.
Kendall McIntosh (GK): McIntosh was an undersized goalkeeper whose frame and athleticism is reminiscent of the likes of Nick Rimando. For the most part, he was a career T2 netminder that was far too raw in some areas to mount a challenge against experienced keepers like Jeff Attinella and Steve Clark. Now a member of the Red Bulls via the Re-Entry Draft, I doubt McIntosh finds many more minutes outside of the USL, but he seemed like a good dude and we all wish him the best.

2020 Outlook:

So, where does that leave us for the 2020 season? Well, pretty close to the same spot we found ourselves last year. In the preceding two seasons, it was clear the Timbers possessed enough talent to capture silverware, yet surpassing the final hurdle proved to be too much. As a result, continuity in terms of roster management remains among the league’s most stable. Ultimately, Portland took the field March 3 in Colorado with 10 of the 11 starters from MLS Cup the previous December, and this season, the only departure considered a surefire starter was Brian Fernandez.
However, the main difference in 2020 comes down to the acquisitions. The Timbers FO utilized the abnormally long break to load up with an arsenal of talent, providing a stark divergence from the quiet transfer window in 2019. As much as I want to compliment the FO for its hard work this offseason, acquiring fresh blood was essential. Key pieces of the core including Larrys Mabiala, Diego Chara, Sebastian Blanco, and Diego Valeri are all exiting their prime window, and the Timbers must capitalize before that window slams shut. Consequently, four of the five names you’ll see listed in the acquisitions section below were brought in to have an immediate impact and elevate an already talented squad.
As a result, in terms of pure on-paper talent, this is a Top 5 caliber MLS team. Whether Savarese can coalesce that talent into a functioning, dynamic, and successful unit is an entirely different story however. It honestly feels like a boom-or-bust type season, and I’m worried about how they’ll navigate the natural roller-coaster swings that MLS’s parity generates. So, I’ll leave you with this: if the Timbers figure out how to maintain defensive structure without resorting to a conservative shell, they’ll be one of the best teams in the league. If not, all bets are off.

Acquisitions:

Jarosław Niezgoda (ST): The Polish DP doesn’t have to single-handedly replace Brian Fernandez’s goal contributions, but make no mistake about it, the Timbers brought Niezgoda in to make an immediate and profound impact on the scoresheet. At only 24, Jarek arrives with a high pedigree having notched double-digit goals in multiple seasons for one of Poland’s powerhouses in Legia Warsaw. Ultimately, it makes sense European clubs like Bordeaux and Torino were sniffing around the striker, as he’s quite mobile for his size, can finish well with both feet, and is clever with his movements inside the box. And say what you will about the Ekstraklasa, it has a strange knack for producing efficient goalscorers, including Niezgoda’s Legia predecessor Nemanja Nikolic.
However, there is a massive catch: Niezgoda has struggled with injuries throughout his career. In a league famous for physical play, and on a team that has experienced its fair share of injury-riddled seasons, Jarek’s fitness is a legitimate concern. While his congenital heart issues seem to be held in check, Legia fans are quick to mention “he's made of glass, and it's hard to keep him in shape for the whole season.” The Timbers’ physio staff will have their work cut out for them to keep Niezgoda on the pitch and scoring goals.
Note: Niezgoda has yet to feature in preseason due to the recovery timeline from a heart ablation procedure during his medical. We likely won’t see him in the XI for the first few weeks of 2020.
Felipe Mora (ST): Niezgoda’s injury-checkered past is an important factor for why Mora’s arrival is such a critical addition. The 26-year-old Chilean seemingly fell into the Timbers lap in a series of fortuitous circumstances, as they acquired him on a TAM loan deal from Pumas in Liga MX. Normally, Mora would be a DP caliber acquisition, and in fact, he was considered a serious target for the final DP slot last year before the club opted for Fernandez. However, after falling out of favor, Pumas were willing to let him go in a manner that accommodated Portland’s limited remaining budget space. Mora provides a divergent style from Niezgoda’s channel-running and Ebobisse’s hold-up ability. He operates on a true poacher’s instinct, and his industrious approach will provide a complementary presence to any of the other strikers.
Dario Župarić (CB): If there’s one offseason acquisition that is more critical to the team's success than the others, Dario Župarić is that guy. Throughout the Timbers MLS history, CB has easily been their most troublesome spot, and they’ve yet to replace Liam Ridgewell’s contributions since his departure last year. Say what you will about Liam’s off-the-field persona: his magnetism, leadership, organizational skills, and distribution were undoubtedly influential to the club’s performance.
Župarić, for lack of a better statement, is essentially the true Ridgewell replacement. At 27-years-old, the Croatian arrives with 90+ matches under his belt at Pescara in Italy and Rijeka in Croatia, a club that has already produced productive MLS players like Héber and Damir Kreilach. Early reports in training regard him as “smooth and confident,” and even if that confidence has gotten the better of him occasionally, those characteristics exemplify why Gio had never received “more messages from friends saying you’ve brought in a very good player.” In the end though, the pressure is on Dario to perform on the pitch. MLS athleticism poses a unique challenge, and there’s little flexibility to compensate for any struggles. His adjustment to MLS must be quick.
Yimmi Chara (RM): Recognize the last name? In a courtship that has lasted as long as the Timbers MLS era itself, Wilkinson finally brought the youngest Chara brother to the Rose City. Acquired as a DP from Atletico Mineiro, there is concern about whether Yimmi’s G+A output will justify the reported $6 million transfer fee. Throughout his career, he’s never been the type of player to light up the scoresheet, but it’s difficult to dispossess him and he provides lightning-quick pace that this roster lacks. With multiple attacking options, I honestly don’t anticipate much pressure to fill the stat sheet, and his familial connection to the organization should facilitate a more seamless transition. Plus, it’s difficult enough for the opposition to face one Chara - it’ll certainly be a pain in the ass to confront two.
Blake Bodily (LM): The HG left-footer is a fairly highly-regarded prospect coming out of the Pac-12, and he showed flashes of quality during his time at T2 a few years ago. With the depth on the wings, I can’t imagine he’ll see much of any first-team minutes. I could be wrong, especially if things go south for any reason, but let’s revisit this signing a year or two from now.

A word on everyone else:

Goalkeepers:
Steve Clark (GK): Without a doubt, Clark was the surprise player of 2019. Boasting the highest save percentage and second-lowest GAA in the league, Clark made numerous highlight-reel saves after taking over for Jeff Attinella in late April. While the occasional mental lapse defined much of his career up to this point, the 33-year-old was nearly flawless in all phases of play last season. However, there’s legitimate concern that this outstanding form is not replicable throughout the next campaign. After Attinella’s regression to the mean following a career year, one can understand why the Front Office might have been apprehensive to give him a sizable pay raise - even if his performances warranted it. That said, Clark’s got the new deal in his pocket and will certainly be the starter opening day vs Minnesota.
Jeff Attinella (GK): As highlighted above, few Timbers had a more ill-fated 2019 campaign than Jeff Attinella. After a torrid 2018 season, Attinella’s performances were marred by poor decision after poor decision until his year concluded with season-ending shoulder surgery. You have to feel for the guy too, as for the first time in his career, he entered an MLS regular season as the unquestioned starter. We’ll see how he recovers from the shoulder injury, but if Clark’s consistency remains and Aljaž Ivačič shows promise, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Timbers move him while he still has some value.
Aljaž Ivačič (GK): If there’s a Timber who had a more disastrous 2019 than Jeff Attinella though, it’s probably Aljaž Ivačič. The 26-year-old Slovenian was acquired last offseason to be the goalkeeper of the future, but a significant leg surgery last February took him out of team activities for most of the year. When he did return with T2 in late summer, things did not look great to say the least. It is undoubtedly difficult to adapt to a new country, but Ivačič’s struggles were worryingly apparent. Most of his goals conceded for T2 looked similar to this, where he was either in the wrong position, extremely hesitant to come off his line, or strikingly late to react to the opponent. These are fundamental issues that can hopefully be chalked up to rust and then addressed with a full preseason. If not, Aljaž might go down as one of the worst signings in club history.
Defenders:
Jorge Moreira (RB): Moreira possesses the talent to be the best RB in the league, but sporadically found himself a liability last season. After years spent with Argentine powerhouse River Plate, the 30-year-old Paraguayan was naturally inclined to push up the pitch since his teams had often dominated the game’s flow. As a result, the Timbers’ conservative style and league’s athleticism caught him off guard, as he had an unfortunate propensity to be out of position early in 2019. However, he mostly adjusted over the course of the year, and his power, crossing ability, and dynamism are crucial to the team.Even with the occasional poor clearance, Moreira is a lockdown starter and few RBs in MLS have his offensive weaponry and pedigree. His loan only lasts until June 30 however, though I’d fully expect the Front Office to lock him down on a permanent deal.
Update: the Timbers right-side defense has been tragic this preseason, and much of that has to do with Moreira’s play. He’ll have to re-adjust or else he’ll revert back to being a liability again
Larrys Mabiala (CB): With his pearly-white smile, cool demeanor, and commanding aerial ability, the big French-Congolese CB is one of the most respected players in the Timbers’ locker room. In a position that is a perennial revolving door of underperforming wreckage, Mabiala has been the one “written-in-ink” starter since mid-2017, and his veteran savvy is integral to the squad’s success. But at age 32, Larrys’ value is not embodied by his individual qualities but more so the partnership he forms with Župarić. His physical presence will always be vital to an otherwise undersized team, however, he lacks the turn of pace and distribution ability that would place him among the elite CBs in MLS. As a result, Larrys and Dario must discover how to paper over each other’s weaknesses by performing to their unique capabilities: Župarić covers ground well and can initiate attacking movements while Mabiala handles physical strikers and cleans up loose balls in the 18. In the end, his consistency will be as influential as any player on the roster. If for any reason he performs below the norm, there is simply not enough quality depth behind him to overcome it.
Bill Tuiloma (CB): Tuiloma is not spectacular by any means, but he’s an ideal player to provide sporadic minutes. The 24-year-old Kiwi is cheap, versatile, and possesses enough technical quality to score the odd banger. It’s a shame a calf injury will rule him out for the next few weeks, as the team could use his flexibility for spot duty at CB, RB, and even defensive midfield. If he recovers fully and Župarić struggles to adapt to the league’s athleticism, expect him to mount a challenge for starting minutes.
Julio Cascante (CB): The Costa Rican CB is best described as a high-ceiling, low-floor player whose ceiling continues to lower year after year. As far as backup CBs go, he’s probably adequate, but the guy went from a fringe national-teamer to virtually off-the-radar since his arrival in Portland. Though his height and build forge a formidable aerial presence, he’s yet to resolve occasional mental lapses and improve his subpar distribution. But Julio’s most maddening characteristic is his inconsistency. Perhaps the best thing you can say about a Cascante performance is that you didn’t notice him. Unfortunately, he tends to stick out for all the wrong reasons. Maybe a little more familiarity with the league will help the 26-year-old raise his level in 2020. I’m not exceedingly hopeful though.
Jorge Villafaña (LB): El Sueño hasn’t been the same player since his departure to Santos Laguna after MLS Cup 2015. Still an excellent crosser, Villafaña really struggled with pacey wingers towards the beginning of the season, although there are some whispers he was often gutting through minor knocks. Even with an uptick of form over the course of the campaign, there is legitimate concern he’s lost a step and will be a liability in the backline. I love the man as much as the next guy, but I’d say the uneasiness is valid. Let’s hope he proves us all wrong.
Marco Farfan (LB): The lack of confidence in Villafaña would be less of an issue if Zarek Valentin were still suiting up in the green-and-gold because Marco Farfan is as fragile as a potato chip. The HG LB is not the most athletic individual, but his technical quality is probably proficient enough to play at this level. Farfan still has to evolve as a 1v1 defender, though he’ll certainly get looks this year if he can manage to stay healthy.
Note: We still need a backup RB. It could be former NYRB, IMFC, and Dynamo player Chris Duvall. 20-year-old Venezuelan Pablo Bonilla is another option, but he’s at T2 for the meantime.
Midfielders:
Diego Valeri (CAM): When all is said and done, I hope MLS fans and media take a moment to appreciate just how good Diego Valeri was. Since 2015, we’ve witnessed impressive names take home the Landon Donovan MVP award including Giovinco, Villa, Josef, and Vela. Sandwiched in between those names you’ll find Diego Valeri. Only the ninth MLS player to reach the elusive 70G, 70A Club, Valeri took the Timbers from a hapless expansion side to a perennial playoff contender. And from my admittedly biased perspective, I don’t think he gets enough credit for doing so. But don’t take it from me, take it from Albert Rusnak, who accurately captures the true essence of the Maestro in this interview. For the miracles performed on the pitch, his importance and presence in the community are just as admirable.
However, times are changing for Valeri, and it’s best exemplified by the fact we almost lost him over a contract dispute this offseason. By taking a TAM deal, Diego not only affirmed his commitment to the organization but allowed them to make moves to best ensure he doesn’t retire with only a single major MLS title to his name. I’d expect the Timbers staff to exercise more load management with him this campaign, but by no means does that change his status as a pillar of the club and community. Build the statue.
Sebastian Blanco (LM/RM): Sebastian Blanco is one of those guys who never seems to score a bad goal. The fiery Argentine may not be the face of the franchise off the pitch, but the decision to extend his DP contract over Valeri is a hint towards Blanco’s importance on the field. After posting his second consecutive double-digit assist campaign, Blanco’s quality across all attacking midfield positions is unquestioned. That said, 2020 is a pivotal season for the Timbers’ oldest Designated Player. Soon to be 32, the clock is ticking on Blanco’s heyday, and he’ll certainly aspire to outperform 2019’s underwhelming tally of six goals from 106 shot attempts. Now surrounded by a wealth of complimentary attacking pieces though, I’d expect a rejuvenated Seba come March. Bet the over on six goals.
Diego Chara (CDM): If there’s anyone who can conquer the inevitability of fathertime, Diego Chara is the guy. Soon to be 34-years-old, Chara’s performance metrics — involving areas such as speed and distance covered — reached all-time highs last year. His importance to the club over the past decade cannot be overstated, and we were all ecstatic to see him finally partake in an MLS All Star Game last season. The Colombian possesses a pillowy first touch, an immense soccer IQ, and a fearless presence in the middle of the park, and there simply will be no replacing him when he finally does choose to retire. But to be honest with you, I think he’s still got a few more Best XI caliber seasons in him. He just ages like a fine wine.
Andrés Flores (CM): Hell, I’m just gonna copy and paste exactly what I wrote last year because it’s still just as applicable. Andres Flores is like a Toyota Camry - solid if unspectacular. He doesn't have the sexy style that will garner all the attention, but when push comes to shove and you need to get from point A to point B, he’ll do the job (at a very low price too!). Look for him to assist in spot-duty once he returns from injury, but his most important contributions will likely be found in the little things off the pitch.
Cristhian Paredes (CM): At only 21 years of age, the full Paraguayan international started over 30 matches the past two seasons and has also emerged as the surefire midfield partner to Diego Chara. After a 2018 campaign that saw a significant adjustment period, Paredes looked far more composed in 2019, adding late-runs into the box into his arsenal midway through last season. However, no longer on loan from Club America, Paredes will face more organizational pressure to be a day-in, day-out starter this campaign. His ranginess and ability to break up play are unquestioned, but he needs to become a bit cleaner on the ball and more confident playing out of tight spaces. That said, there’s a reason the club has invested more capital into the promising midfielder: he has the potential to be a significant contributor for years to come.
Marvin Loría (LM/RM): In the next few seasons, I’d wager Marvin Loría will become the poster child for the Timbers youth development structure. With a comparatively underdeveloped and shallow Homegrown talent pool, Portland picks up guys like Loría out of foreign youth programs to develop through the Timbers pipeline. The 22-year-old Costa Rican international showed significant promise last season, and he can play a true inverted winger role - a unique style in terms of this roster. While he may see time at LM and CAM, I love him cutting in from the right, as he can deliver bangers like this and allow Jorge Moreira to bulldoze forward. At a league minimum salary, Loría provides the cheap and talented depth which makes this attack’s outlook so promising. I can’t wait to see what strides he makes this season (once he returns from an underpublicized/undisclosed injury).
Andy Polo (RM): Not many people in the Timbers fanbase understand why Andy Polo is still on the roster, let alone competing for starting minutes. In 2,860 MLS minutes, the Peruvian winger has only managed a dismal one goal and three assists - a statline that is considerably worse than ineffective wingers of the past including Kalif Alhassan, Sal Zizzo, and Franck Songo’o. He’s not an outright liability, and occasionally puts in a shift defensively, but he essentially exists solely to occupy space. Now entering his third season, Polo’s best string of matches came as the third CM in a 4-3-2-1 just before the 2018 World Cup. He’s since gathered looks in preseason as a #8 in a 4-3-2-1 and showed flashes but is still incomplete. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Tomas Conechny (CF/LM/RM): The 21-year-old Argentine enters the 2020 campaign a relative unknown, and though the club thought enough of him to exercise his full-time purchase option from San Lorenzo, his fit on the squad has yet to be fully discerned. Rumored to be one of the better headers-of-the-ball on the team, he showed occasional creative sparks in late-game situational appearances but has yet to prove he deserves starting minutes. We hear quotes akin to “he doesn’t yet know how good he can be,” but it still isn’t obvious that a particular position suits him well or if he even possesses a skillset that allows him to be a difference-maker at this level. For all intents and purposes, he’s likely to end up Diego Valeri’s understudy even if Conechny has yet to show the same precision and danger at a playmaking second-forward role. As a result, it remains to be seen if the high-rated prospect grows into a significant piece of the puzzle or if his lack of positional clarity ultimately hampers his development.
Dairon Asprilla (RM): Dairon Asprilla plays at an all-star caliber level if one of two things are true: the Timbers are on the verge of postseason elimination or he’s playing on T2. If neither of those two things are true, he’s often more useless than a turn signal on a BMW. Some wonder if he possesses compromising pictures of Wilkinson or MP, otherwise there’s very little to explain why he’s one of the longest-tenured Timbers - especially considering he’s been in-and-out of the doghouse almost every year. Word out of training suggests he’s been one of the best players in camp, but we’ve been down this road before - if it’s not Oct. or Nov., Asprilla often looks lost on the pitch.
Sidenote: 99% of Dairon’s shot attempts get thwarted due to his foolishly long windup, but when he does get a hold of one, they stay hit.
Eryk Williamson (CM): The HG midfielder (by way of D.C.) found starting minutes in spot appearances last fall, and he looked competent if unremarkable. For T2, Williamson often occupied more advanced positions, but I think he projects best as a ball-shuttling #8 in this squad. In particular, I can see him fitting into Andy Polo’s old role as a CM next to Chara and/or Paredes in a 4-3-2-1, as his passing and combination play provide a diverse look from the other two. Overall, Williamson finds himself in a decent situation to get game action this year, and I’m interested to see how he develops and grows in confidence in 2020.
Renzo Zambrano (CDM): Another international brought through the T2 pipeline, Zambrano is essentially Diego Chara’s backup at the #6. Since George Fochive left following the 2015 season, the Timbers have struggled to find a suitable defensive backup in the central midfield. Renzo is now that guy. The 25-year-old Venezuelan appeared in 10 matches last season and struggled immensely in fixtures against Colorado and Atlanta, but showed flashes of positivity in thrashings of Houston and Vancouver. 2020 will require more consistency from Zambrano who doesn’t possess the same physicality or power as Chara - but then again, few do. As a result, if I were Savarese, I’d try to mold Zambrano into a fulcrum/anchor type midfielder in the form of a Uri Rosell or Scott Caldwell. He’s a capable passer, and if he simplifies his game to shield the backline, he’ll be an asset to the team. If not, he’ll likely over-extend himself, and his midfield partner will be forced to work more tirelessly to maintain solid defensive shape. Renzo is likely the first option off the bench whenever Chara or Paredes are unavailable, so his growth is critical to the team’s success this year.
Forwards:
Jeremy Ebobisse (ST): Since Niezgoda and Mora’s arrival, some fans and media have denounced the organization for burying the 23-year-old American on the depth chart and hindering his development. Here’s why I think that’s an overly-sensationalized viewpoint:
  1. As Wilkinson has correctly identified, Ebobisse will miss a good chunk of the early season for Olympic qualification, and with Niezgoda’s injury history, there needs to be other legitimate options to start upfront (i.e. not Dairon Asprilla).
  2. In 2018, Ebobisse entered the season ‘stuck’ behind two DP-type strikers in Fanendo Adi and Samuel Armenteros. Guess who emerged on top? Ebobisse. There will be multiple competitions, two-striker formations, and rotations that allow him to earn quality minutes.
  3. This idea that the organization is almost trying to sabotage his development is an outrageous claim. Ebobisse was the only player on the squad to play in every match last season and only finished behind Chara, Blanco, and Valeri in terms of total minutes played. Granted, he played a fair few matches at LW (not ideal, but he wasn’t outright terrible), but the team did have its best stretch of success with him and Fernandez on the pitch together.
But the one factor people must acknowledge is this: Ebobisse still hasn’t developed the it factor that other MLS strikers have - at least not yet. When Fernandez arrived, his ruthlessness was a stark contrast to Ebobisse’s often less-goal-hungry runs and occasional lack of clarity in the final third. Jeremy is a decent finisher, even with a few missed sitters, but he’s still not consistent enough with the direct runs off the shoulder that separate good from great. He’ll hopefully continue to develop a wider range of skills, but he’s not yet the guy to put this team over the top.
Predicted Starting XI:
Primarily: 4-2-3-1
Other likely options: 4-3-2-1 or 4-4-2
Best Case Scenario:
A top playoff seed and a challenge for either the Supporter’s Shield or MLS Cup. Savarese effectively implements tactical flexibility, Niezgoda and Mora combine for 20+ goals, and Cristhian Paredes takes the next step forward in his development. While Župarić locks down the defense, one of Valeri or Blanco mounts a Best XI campaign, and Diego Chara makes a second consecutive All-Star Game appearance. Sprinkle in a Cascadia Cup alongside a harmonious relationship between the Front Office and Timbers Army, and you have a damn successful year.
Worst Case Scenario:
Pretty much the opposite of what you see above. Niezgoda can’t stay healthy while the core pieces’ form collectively falls off a cliff. Those in the Army who hold a personal vendetta against Merritt Paulson blow a trivial issue out of proportion causing a full-on revolt from the supporter’s group. Savarese proves to be an average coach with exploitable flaws, and the team fails to qualify for the playoffs in a competitive Western Conference. Significant spending, no tangible results. A wasted year.
Realistic Scenario:
Well, either of those two scenarios could qualify as realistic. But like all Timbers seasons, it’s most realistic to be somewhere in between. There’ll be stretches of outright panic, and there’ll be other times where we all convince ourselves the Timbers will win MLS Cup. Some of the signings hit: let’s go with Župarić - while other signings underwhelm due to extenuating circumstances: probably Niezgoda (and his glass skeleton). The team finishes in the middle of the pack - a team that no one wants to face in October - but one that is equally liable to beat themselves.
Prediction:
Even for someone as pessimistic as I am, I won’t predict the worst-case scenario. Nevertheless, I can’t shake the discouraging feeling that the Timbers will squander its immense talent again. A disappointing 6th or 7th place finish is in store after another taxing roller-coaster season. However, I’ll go out on a limb to say Portland does win a Cascadia Cup or USOC - some sort of silverware that convinces everybody the obvious flaws can be overcome in 2021. Blanco has a great 2020 season. The other pieces show flashes brilliance, yet can’t quite string together enough consistency to let the attack fire on all cylinders. Savarese will keep his job but enters the 2021 campaign on the hotseat. It’ll be another case of “close, but not close enough.”

Online Resources

Official Links: Website | Twitter
Local Coverage: Oregon Live | Stumptown Footy
Best Twitter follow: Chris Rifer
Best Read: Jamie Goldberg’s article on Fernandez didn’t age well, but it’s extremely important to understand his tragic life story.
Subreddit: timbers

#RCTID

submitted by NewRCTID22 to MLS [link] [comments]

Countdown to Kickoff 2020: Sporting Kansas City

Welcome to the /MLS Sporting Kansas City Countdown to Kickoff!

If you fancy a trip back in time, here are 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.
Many thanks to dd12939 for allowing me to steal this template.
Now on with the show!
Team Name: Sporting Kansas City Head Coach: Peter Vermes Technical Director: Brian Bliss Captain: Matt Besler Stadium: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS Ownership: Sporting Club Mascot: Blue the Dog Kits: Primary, Secondary Supporters Groups: The Cauldron and South Stand SC Subreddit: /SportingKC USL Championship Affiliate: Swope Park Rangers Sporting KC II News and Commentary: The Blue Testament, The Full 90, Talkin' Touches Podcast, No Other Pod Twitter Follows: Andy Edwards, Chad Smith, Mike
History: • MLS Cup: 2000, 2013 • Supporters’ Shield: 2000 • US Open Cup: 2004, 2012, 2015, 2017 Coaches: • Ron Newman (1996-1999) • Bob Gansler (1999-2006) • Curt Onalfo (2006-2009) • Peter Vermes (2009-Present)
Sporting Legends: • Winger Predrag “Preki” Radosavljevic (1996-2000/2002-2005) • GK Tony Meola (1999-2004) • Coach Bob Gansler (1999-2006) • Defender Jimmy Conrad (2003-2010) • DefendeCoach Peter Vermes (2000-2002/2009-Present) • Owner Lamar Hunt (1995-2006) • Midfielder Chris Klein (1998-2005) • MidfieldeAssistant Coach Kerry Zavagnin (2000-2008/2009-Present) • Forward Mo Johnston (1996-2001)
Forward Josh Wolff (2003-2006, 2008-2010)
2020 Season Opener: Saturday, February 29 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2020 Home Opener: Saturday, March 7th vs. Houston Dynamo
Preseason Roster
Predicted Preferred Gameday 18: 4-3-3
-------------------Pulido------------------- --Salloi---------------------------Russell-- ------------Felipe-------Espinoza----------- --------------------Ilie-------------------- -Martins-----Besler-----Puncec-----Zusi- -------------------Melia-------------------- 
Subs: Sanchez, Barath, Dia, Kinda, Busio, Gerso, Shelton
Note: It is entirely possible Gerso starts over Salloi. That’s the only real positional battle for the opener, though.

2019 Overview

Western Conference Table
Pos. Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
10 Houston Dynamo 34 12 18 4 49 59 -10 40
11 Sporting Kansas City 34 10 16 8 49 67 -18 38
12 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 34 8 16 10 37 59 -22 34
Offensive Leaders
Player Minutes Goals Assists
Felipe Gutierrez 2722 12 3
Johnny Russell 2115 9 9
Krisztian Nemeth 1559 8 2
Yohan Croizet 1091 3 2
Gianluca Busio 923 3 1
Gerso Fernandes 1749 2 6
Ilie Sanchez 2509 2 5

Season Review

Heading into 2019, expectations were sky-high for SKC fans. Fresh off of securing the top spot in the Western conference and being one half away from going to the final game of MLS Cup, Sporting returned a bunch of veterans and brought in some new players to replace and improve upon the departures. We’ll talk about the players later, but suffice to say: they didn’t. Even the most pessimistic SKC fan wouldn’t have predicted the bottom falling out quite as hard as it did in 2019, causing SKC to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2010. It seems that everything that could go wrong, did. The fact that the season started off as well as it did made the collapse all the more painful.
We began our season in CONCACAF Champions League, beginning with the toughest draw of any MLS team: Toluca. Since SKC was the lower seed, we started our campaign at home, with the second leg of the contest being at Toluca. The result? 3-0, SKC. Goals from Nemeth, Gerso, and Ilie. Nemeth looked like the goalscorer we needed at the striker position, Gerso looked like he was going to put it all together with a goal and an assist, and Ilie did this. It was as great of a result as we could have imagined, heading down to Mexico with a commanding lead and no away goals conceded. Everyone expected a cagy, defensive match where we held on for dear life and advanced. Instead, Sporting KC scored in the 8th minute and never looked back, ending the game with a 2-0 victory and heading on to the next round 5-0 on aggregate. At one point, Toluca’s own fans were mocking their team, shouting “Ole!” every time SKC completed another pass. It was hailed around the league, with articles written about the historic win and pundits calling Sporting KC potentially the best pure possession team in MLS history. It’s safe to say that the hype was very real. Next up: MLS play.
We opened our MLS campaign against LAFC, who finished third in the West in their expansion year and were widely considered to be a real contender in 2019 (and for good reason). The game took place three days after the victory in Toluca, and three days before we were scheduled to travel to Panama to take on Independiente in the next round of CCL. Peter Vermes opted to play his full first choice XI in California, wanting to fight for as many points as possible to avoid digging a hole early. It would have worked, too, if it wasn’t for a meddling Diomande, who broke the 1-1 tie in the 90+4 minute to give LAFC 3 points. It was a disappointing result, but not cause for any panic. LAFC was good, SKC was tired, all was fine. Fontas suffered a hip pointer and was subbed out, but that’s no big deal. Oh, how naive we were. We didn’t know what was coming. Next up: Independiente. We traveled down to Panama and brought a 2-1 deficit, as well as an injured Salloi, home. SKC beat Philadelphia 2-0 in the home opener, calming concerns that things were going wrong. The home leg of the Independiente contest had SKC cruise to a 3-0 win, 4-2 on aggregate, and backup striker Hurtado was hurt, undergoing knee surgery and given a 2-3 month timetable for return.
The next two games were MLS play: a 1-1 tie with Colorado made notable by former SKC striker Diego Rubio scoring the opener before Russell’s incredible free kick salvaged a draw for SKC. There was also the 7-1 home victory over Montreal. Nemeth hat trick, Busio goal, tons of fun. Unfortunately for SKC fans, that was just about the last bit of fun for a long while. Their next win wouldn’t come until the end of May against Seattle. The next CCL matchup was against Monterrey, who completely obliterated SKC to the tune of 5 goals to nil. In the first leg. The second leg wasn’t much better, with Monterrey beating SKC in KC 5-2, for an aggregate score of 10-2.
The rest of the season was very bad and I won’t spend much time on it. Two wins against Seattle was certainly nice, but there were way too many embarrassing scorelines. 1-4 against SJ, 0-3 against Atlanta, 1-5 against LAFC, 2-7 against LAG, and 0-6 against FC Dallas all stand out. I’ll get into the players, but it’s safe to say that injuries completely and utterly destroyed SKC’s season. At one point, there were 6 players healthy enough to practice. SKC earned 1 point from the 6 games they played after August to close out the season.

Players

Check out The Blue Testament’s Year in review for every player, located here!
Shoutout to major_winters_506 for their offseason roster thread here

Transfers Out

Date Player Position Action
11/19 Medranda Midfielder Removed: Picked in Expansion Draft
11/19 Zendejas GK Removed: Traded to Nashville SC
11/21 Sinovic Defender Removed: Contract Option Declined
11/21 Feilhaber Midfielder Removed: Contract Option Declined
11/21 Zelalem Midfielder Removed: Contract Option Declined
11/21 Nemeth Forward Removed: Contract Expired
11/21 Hasler Defender Removed: Contract Expired
11/21 Wallace Defender Removed: Contract Expired
Jimmy Medranda: Sporting loses another fan favorite in the expansion draft, as part of a deal including leaving Jimmy exposed and trading Zendejas to Nashville SC. Jimmy was always the heir apparent to Seth Sinovic, while also being able to fill in pretty much anywhere on the pitch. His 1v1 ability will not be forgotten, nor will his incredible goals. Unfortunately, injury really robbed him of a lot of time.
Adrian Zendejas: The three-year backup to Melia moved on in a trade with Nashville SC. He only made one appearance with the senior team, starting the 1-1 tie with FC Cincinnati.
Seth Sinovic: Seth was acquired by SKC in 2011 from the New England Revolution. Since then, he’s made 210 appearances for us before having his option declined this offseason. He was signed in free agency by the Revs. I think every SKC fan still believes that at some point before the end of the season, we’ll see Seth back on the team and winning the starting left back position. After featuring there for so long, and fighting off so many challengers, it just makes sense.
Benny Feilhaber: Another long-time SKC veteran, Benny returned this season from his stint with the Colorado Rapids while SKC was in the midst of its horrible injury crisis. He started 13 games, and gave us some life when we needed it most. Benny had his option declined and remains a free agent.
Gedion Zelalem: The extremely talented midfielder never found his footing under Vermes, only managing 5 starts for the injury-riddled SKC. His reportedly very expensive option was declined, and he was picked up by NYCFC.
Krisztian Nemeth: Oh, what could have been. Nemeth had a promising start to his second stint with SKC, scoring 7 goals in his first 11 regular season games in 2019, and 4 in CCL. Unfortunately, he would only score once the rest of the way en route to Vermes choosing to not renew his contract. Nemeth is currently without a team.
Nicolas Hasler: Hasler was signed for one year to be defensive/midfield depth, and he did just that in 2019, making 9 appearances for SKC. Hasley now plays for FC Thun of the Swiss Super League.
Rodney Wallace: Rodney Wallace was signed as wing/left back depth for 2019. He had one start, playing 27 minutes before suffering a season-ending injury. Wallace is currently without a team.

Transfers In

Date Player Position Action
11/26 Sanchez GK Added: Selected in Re-Entry Draft
12/4 Puncec Defender Added: Signed through 2021
12/9 Shelton Forward Added: Signed through 2022
12/10 Pulido Forward Added: Signed through 2023
1/10 Dia Defender Added: Signed for 2020 with options through 2022
1/13 Townsend Midfielder Added: 2020 MLS Super Draft
1/13 Kasak Defender Added: 2020 MLS Super Draft
1/23 Kinda Midfielder Added: One-Year Loan
2/4 Dick GK Loaned to USL Championship side Phoenix Rising FC for the 2020
2/14 Reid Defender Added: On loan from West Ham
Richard Sanchez: Sanchez was acquired via the re-entry draft from the Chicago Fire after making no appearances in 2019 for them. He will serve as backup to Tim Melia while Dick gets experience on loan and Pulskamp starts for SKCII.
Roberto Puncec: Puncec was out of contract after playing for HNK Rijelca in the Croatian league. He appears to be the starting right center back next to Matt Besler, starting there in every preseason match so far. Puncec has played extensively in Europe between Israel, Croatia, and the 2. Bundesliga.
Khiry Shelton: Shelton returns after a short stint with SC Paderborn, during which he rarely featured and never scored for the senior team, while suffering an injury which caused him to miss substantial time. While Shelton was injured, Paderborn earned promotion to the Bundesliga, which seems to have proved too high of a level for Shelton. Nonetheless, he’s back in KC and appears to be much improved technically, and figures to be the backup striker and potentially a feature on the wing.
Alan Pulido: The Striker that was Promised. He’s here. Sporting KC ownership finally opened their pocketbooks, spending a rumored $9.5m on the Mexican striker who won the golden boot in Liga MX’s 2019 Apertura. Pulido appears to be the perfect striker for what Vermes wants, with a high defensive workrate, combination ability, positional flexibility, and a deadly finish. Expectations are sky-high for the player who more than doubled SKC’s historical net spend.
Amadou Dia: Dia returns to SKC after a three year stint in the USL with Phoenix. He will be the backup left back behind Luis Martins.
Jaret Townsend: Hey look a draft pick!
James Kasak: Hey look another draft pick!
Gadi Kinda: I Gadi say, this guys’ name seems Kinda great for puns. Kinda was acquired on loan from Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem. He had enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, scoring 7 goals and 4 assists from midfield in 16 appearances. The Ethiopian has yet to feature for the senior Israeli national team, despite appearing for their youth teams. He was called up for EURO 2020 qualifying. Kinda appears to be midfield depth, but is sure to push for a starting spot this season. He has impressed in preseason with his runs, footwork, and work rate.
Winston Reid: The 31 year old New Zealand center back is on loan from West Ham, who he’s made 222 competitive appearances for. Reid hasn’t made a senior competitive appearance since March 2018 due to injury. With almost two years off injured, this move appears to be a gamble that he can regain his form and once again become a top defender. If he does, he will undoubtedly be cemented in the SKC backline.

Returning Players

The Vets

Roger Espinoza: A bulldog in the central midfield, Honduran international Roger Espinoza was drafted by Sporting KC in 2008. Apart from two seasons he spent in England with Wigan, Espinoza has been a mainstay in the middle of the field, playing as a box-to-box destroyer. Roger lost a chunk of 2019 to injury, and another chunk to red cards (three, tying his personal “best” and moving into the league lead for total). He also proved just how much he means to this team, as SKC went on a terrible run when he was out. As Peter Vermes continues to search for a replacement for the 33 year old, expect Roger to continue to get plenty of minutes.
Matt Besler: Drafted in 2009 by the then-Kansas City Wizards, hometown hero Matt Besler has long been a stalwart in Peter Vermes’ defense. Apart from a down year in 2016, Besler has been one of the most consistent players in recent memory, but he’s 33 years old and his contract expires at the end of the year. Could this be the last year we see Besler in an SKC uniform? He looks to be entrenched as a starter and our captain, but it’s uncertain how much longer that will last with a potentially deep CB room behind him.
Graham Zusi: Zusi has been a near-constant presence on the wing for Sporting since he was drafted in 2009, though since the beginning of 2017 he has become Peter Vermes’ go-to right back. 2019 saw him named an MLS All Star, although most believe that honor was a year too late and not quite deserved this year. Regardless, how they told him was one of the highlights of the season. Graham looks to be the starter at right back yet again, but Lindsey is gunning for his position and Zusi may not be able to hold him off for much longer. Zusi’s contract runs through 2021.
Tim Melia: The 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year should need little introduction at this point, nor should his storied career move from Rochester Rhinos’ backup to MLS pool goalkeeper to his current tenure with Sporting Kansas City. While Melia, along with the rest of the backline, performed not very well in 2019, he will look to regain his top form as the starter between the sticks.

The New Core

Johnny Russell: Scottish winger Johnny Russell returns for his third year in Kansas City having made himself a favorite both on and off the field. Most often deployed as an inverted right winger, his strength and skill terrorized defenses as he contributed 9 goals and 9 assists in 28 games last season. Look for him and his pet turtle to continue to put the fear of god in defenders from the right side of the field.
Ilie: The 29-year-old Spanish midfielder is a product of the Barcelona academy and played for Barcelona B for five seasons before a short stint in 2. Bundesliga with 1860 Munich. After joining SKC in 2017, he locked down the starting defensive midfield spot, starting 67 of 68 league games over two years and becoming an essential part of the team’s midfield structure. 2019 saw Ilie start 27 games, and when he was on the field he seemed much less effective than in years past. An All-Star in 2018, Ilie will look to regain that form this year.
Felipe Gutiérrez: Chilean midfielder Felipe Gutierrez was probably the MVP of the team in 2019, scoring 12 and assisting 3. Guti was behind only Melia in minutes played, and could be found at all three midfield positions throughout the year, although Vermes obviously prefers him at the attacking midfield spot. His ability and versatility means that it’s a safe bet Guti Gang will be in contention for the most starts on the team, as well as team MVP.

Something to Prove

Andreu Fontas: Fontas, uh, didn’t exactly work out in his first year. His $1m salary was part of the reason why Ike left, and then Fontas only started 10 games, a number of which were very bad, before getting injured for several months. Once he was healthy, Vermes declined to include him in the 18, and Fontas had surgery as soon as the season was over, which will keep him out for roughly the first month of this season. It’s widely speculated that the front office plans to buy out Fontas’s contract, considering the additions of Puncec and Reid and the fact that Fontas doesn’t appear to be in Vermes’s plans even when healthy. The biggest stumbling block for that is his contract: guaranteed at $1m through 2022, it would cost $3m to buy him out and get the cap space that he takes up back. The fans want him gone, so we’ll see if the ownership continues the “injection of capital” and buys out his contract.
Botond Barath: The Hungarian center back entered 2019 as the third center back on the depth chart, but ended up starting 20 games, behind only Matt Besler. Barath wasn’t a disaster, but he certainly didn’t distinguish himself as part of Sporting’s backline. Heading into 2020 it appears that he will go back to being a third or fourth option on the depth chart, capable of stepping up when needed but unlikely to be a difference maker.
Graham Smith: The 24 year old draft pick has yet to impress for the senior team, starting 10 games and giving up 20 goals last year (including 7 to Zlatan and the Galaxy). Barring another injury disaster, Smith will likely find himself playing the whole season with SKCII, as the fifth center back on the depth chart.
Luis Martins: Brought in to replace Seth, Martins appears to have done what nobody has done before: actually replace Seth. Starting the final 9 games of the season, Martins flashed his potential on offense and appeared capable on defense. Martins will start at left back this season and will hope to provide that spark of offense on the left side that Vermes has been searching for, while improving upon 2019’s truly terrible defense.
Daniel Salloi: After leading the team in goals in 2018, Salloi suffered a pretty severe decline in production, only managing to find the back of the net once, in the second to last game of the season. By the way the team celebrated, you’d think we had just won the cup. Salloi was another player who lost time due to injury, getting hurt in CCL against Independiente. Daniel will surely look to rediscover his form this season, which should see him draw plenty of starts at left wing.
Gerso Fernandes: Gerso was another player hampered by injuries, breaking his left wrist in a game against New England. He had seized the starting role at left wing from Salloi after Daniel’s run of poor form, but wasn’t a clear-cut starter when he returned from injury. Gerso possesses speed that nobody else on the roster has, so he will definitely have a role to play. The battle between him and Salloi for the left wing remains open, and both will surely see plenty of minutes.
Eric Hurtado: Guess what happened to Hurtado in 2019? You’re right, he was injured. Sporting’s backup striker lost most of the season to injury, starting only 8 games, all after the season was pretty much over. It appears that the 29 year old will fall to third on the center forward depth chart.

The Kids

Jaylin Lindsey: After starting 6 games in 2018, Lindsey only started once for SKC in 2019. The reason? You guessed it - he got injured. Turning 20 this year, Lindsey will look to unseat Graham Zusi at right back, something that should be easy if Zusi plays as poorly as he did in 2019. Sporting a ton of personality, Lindsey is a fan-favorite and should at least get minutes rotationally, assuming he stays healthy.
Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal: Long-touted as the future of SKC’s defensive midfield, Kuzain missed his chance to get minutes with the first team by getting injured right when SKC needed players the most. Instead, he spent the entire season with SPR, often playing further ahead in the midfield than his preferred position. His passing accuracy of 88.4% shows his skill with the ball, and the 21 year old homegrown will look to have a breakout year with SKC II and potentially get minutes in the senior team’s crowded midfield.
Gianluca Busio: Sporting KC’s most promising prospect, 17-year-old Homegrown player Gianluca Busio, was the second-youngest player to ever sign an MLS contract, and is the second-youngest goal scorer in MLS history (thanks a lot, Freddy Adu). In his second full year as a professional, Busio took advantage of SKC’s injury situation by staying healthy, increasing his minutes from 153 in 2018 to 923 in 2019. While Busio occasionally looked lost, he more often did not look out of place playing with men significantly older than him. While he didn’t lock down a starting spot, Busio will look to improve on his minutes for the second consecutive year as part of a very crowded midfield.
Cameron Duke: The 11th homegrown player in SKC history, the 19 year old midfielder has been in the Sporting Academy since 2012, and has been part of the US youth national team at the U-14, U-15, U-16, and U-18 levels. Duke will almost certainly spend the entire year with SKC II.
Felipe Hernandez: Felipe Hernandez is the first player to go from a SKC Academy affiliate, to the SKC Academy, to the Swope Park Rangers and then to the first team. He’s been touted as the heir apparent to Roger Espinoza, and often looked the part while drawing tons of starts with SPR. He scored eight goals for the USL team, second only to the center forward. Hernandez has the potential to see some midfield time with the senior team, but look to see him spend the bulk of his time with SKC II
Tyler Freeman: The youngest player signed to the first team, Freeman spent the whole season fighting for minutes on a poor SPR team, starting only 12 games. The 17 year old forward will look to improve his minutes and production with SKC II this year.

2020 Preview

Things to Watch

WE GOT A STRIKER Mission accomplished. After spending years and years waiting for the ownership to open up their wallets and pay for a big-time number 9, they finally did it. And boy, did they do it. Sporting’s net spend on transfer fees heading into this offseason was approximately $4m. Alan Pulido reportedly cost $9.5m, or more than double that. If he can live up to his price tag and capitalize on the opportunities SKC regularly produces, Pulido will score a ton of goals.
What’s a defense? Unfortunately, all the goals in the world don’t mean much without a competent defense to back them up. 2019 was a horrible year for SKC’s usually stellar defense. They let in 67 goals, a mark only beaten by FC Cincinnati. Vermes has responded by bringing in two new center backs, Puncec and Reid, keeping Martins around after he started the last run of games last year, and letting everyone else get healthy over the long, long offseason. If SKC wants to be back in the postseason, the defense will have to massively, massively improve.
#PlayYourKids
The HashtagPlayYourKids movement had its ups and downs with SKC in 2019. A couple of kids missed out on opportunities due to injury, most notably Jaylin Lindsey and Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal. Busio managed to improve his MLS minutes substantially, however, and SKC fended off a couple of suitors to hold on to the extremely promising midfielder. If Vermes wants to boast one of the best academies in MLS, and he does, then he’ll have to give the kids some more time with the senior team, something he’s been criticized for not doing in the past. The players with the clearest path to minutes are Busio in the midfield and Lindsey at right back, along with Salloi at left wing, so expect to see those three to get a solid amount of time. There are seven total homegrowns on the roster, including Busio, Lindsey, Kuzain, Cameron Duke, Tyler Freeman, Felipe Hernandez, and Daniel Salloi.
Do the vets still have it? As the corollary to #PlayYourKids, SKC still has a number of older players on the team. The biggest question of this year might be “Was 2019 an aberration due to injury, or a sign of things to come for Besler, Roger, and Zusi?” While Vermes seems to be betting, at least initially, that the older guys still have what it takes, there are capable and hungry replacements waiting in the wings for them to slip up. This is likely the last window for trophies for those three all together, so they will have a strong desire to work hard and prove that they’re not completely over the hill yet.

Prognosis

There are a lot of open questions for this Sporting KC team, which means the range of outcomes is going to be wide.
Realistic Best Case Scenario Turns out, 2019 was entirely the fault of historic levels of injury! Sporting looks like the 2018 and early 2019 team, dominating with the ball, snuffing out counter-attacks, and scoring at will by committee. The team returns to the top of the Western Conference and is competitive throughout the playoffs, although not quite doing enough to win the whole thing - the roster construction isn’t quite there. The team does bring home a trophy, though, winning the USOC in a thrilling game.
Realistic Worst Case Scenario The veterans really are past it, the kids aren’t quite ready, and injuries do not stay away. The back line remains mediocre and Pulido can’t put the offense on his back. SKC misses the playoffs for the second year in a row, and calls for Peter’s job get much, much louder.
Realistic More Probable Scenario Injuries hurt in 2019, but they clearly weren’t the only problem. The defense improves from last year, but is just league average. The midfield is much better than last year, and 5 players play more than 1000 minutes, keeping everyone fresh and competitive. The front three really improves with the addition of Pulido, and SKC scores a ton of goals and is generally fun to watch. It’s enough to put SKC back in the playoffs, and even win a playoff game! Unfortunately, that’s where things end, as Sporting falls in the second round of the playoffs in a competitive game. They make a USOC run, but don’t win that either.
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I am about to post the 3000 most common words in the English lexicon. Wish me luck...

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Tipster BOT Monthly Report: November

In order to get some reliable information on the tipsters in the Daily Picks Thread from /SoccerBetting, this Bot tracks the picks and writes consecutive weekly reports. At the beginning of each month they start anew. These are the results from 01/11/19 to the 30/11/19.
Since the beginning of November, we had 8 Tipsters and 86 Tips that were tracked by the bot. The results are presented in the table below.
The Tipster of the Month is Lewlew1 with a ROI of 45.11% over 16 Picks. Congratulations! The Tipsters are sorted after the highest product of ROI and Number of Tips (i.e. the Tipster that had the highest wins, if all tipsters had the same stake per game).
Placing Tipster Stakes [Units] Wins [Units] Tips Prediction Rate [%] ROI [%] Mean Odds Main Betting Style
1. Lewlew1 18.0 8.120 16 75.00% 45.11% 1.946 Under
2. mardinimerc 13.0 6.680 4 100.00% 51.38% 1.542 1X2
3. backthewinnertips 14.0 1.340 14 71.43% 9.57% 1.601 1X2
4. Wolfframm 4.0 2.320 1 100.00% 58.00% 1.580 AH
5. WithMyGhosts 1.0 -1.000 1 0.00% -100.00% 6.000 1X2
6. tropianhs 28.0 -3.100 14 28.57% -11.07% 3.036 1X2
7. SmileyOurBestSpy 11.0 -2.840 11 36.36% -25.82% 2.608 1X2
8. torneoSB 50.0 -13.366 25 40.00% -26.73% 2.902 1X2
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Until next month, good luck to all and happy betting.
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I’ll make the next 3000 word sacrifice

3000 most common words in the English lexicon
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FREE FIXED MATCHESHT/FTCORRECT SCOREUNDER&OVER TIPS ... FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS FOR TODAY  HOW TO BET  BETTING TIPS  FREE FIXED MATCHES ⚽FREE Picks: Week 32⚽ Football Betting tips today  Today Betting picks  19/7/2020 FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS (SOCCER PREDICTIONS) TODAY 13/07/2020

Soccer predictions are provided for all major leagues of EPL tips, Italian Serie A picks, Spanish Liga predictions, German Bundesliga tips, World Cup 2018 predictions and International Tips. Please use our soccer picks as a reference and do not bet more than you can afford to lose. WINNING PICKS; HT/FT PICKS; CORRECT SCORE; PAYMENT METHODS; ARCHIVES; CONTACT; Menu. Log In; Register; SOCCER PREDICTIONS. Thursday 9 July Wednesday 8 July Tuesday 7 July Monday 6 July Sunday 5 July Saturday 4 July Friday 3 July Thursday 2 July Wednesday 1 July Tuesday 30 June Monday 29 June Sunday 28 June Saturday 27 June Friday 26 June Hey! Welcome to Xbetpicks. Welcome to Xbetpicks, the new and more effective alternative for football betting tips. And soon, the world reference in everything related to offering betting guides in football. The world of football is increasingly convulsed and changing, moving at a very fast rate similar to the day to day of people in […] Serie A Round 34 Top Betting Picks: Verona vs Atalanta, Juventus vs Lazio - game by game analysis. Click here for our free Italian Serie A Betting Picks. Here are all of our football betting tips for today and tonight. Match odds (1:X:2) are displayed. Click any odds to add each selection to your bet slip and build your match winner accas. View our football tips with different odds and last 5 games records:

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