New York City FC v Philadelphia Union
Patrick Vieira’s men were involved in an entertaining 2-2 draw in midweek when they were held at home by New England Revolution. The most noticeable thing about the game was how open it was. In general, NYC matches have become end to end affairs once more and the overs look like the best bet in most of their fixtures. The home team are -0.75 Asian Handicap favourites here, but on a short week of rest it would perhaps be dangerous to back them, especially when the defence is looking potentially porous. There is also the chance of some player rotation taking place and the XI is difficult to predict.
The Union have actually been in fairly good form, although did suffer a surprise setback at RSL last week (0-1). Defeat at Rio Tinto Stadium ended a run of seven games unbeaten, and snapped a four match winning streak. The key to improved results has been an improved defence which has only conceded 2 goals in 6 games. I’m not wholly convinced their defence is for real and at any stage could revert back to its porous ways. Goalkeeper Andre Blake prevented them from losing by a much bigger margin last week, which is a concern when you consider how poor Real Salt Lake have been recently.
Philadelphia are a confidence team and my question was always going to be how they responded to a new setback. We will soon find out but my personal feeling is that New Yew City will win this match. They are the better team and possess the type of players who can definitely hurt the Union. Someone like David Villa has a good recent record against them, even scoring from the halfway line in the latest head to head encounter! If NYC were heading into this match totally fresh then I’d probably back them, but instead my preferred pick is over 3 goals. This looks generous value around the 1.95 mark because most NYC games contain at least this amount.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 3 goals at 1.92
FC Dallas v Real Salt Lake
For the first time in a while, Dallas are in a bit of a slump period, failing to win any of their last four games. I would say lack of goals has been their biggest problem, especially in two recent home games with San Jose and Houston. However, Dallas were much the better team in both of those fixtures. Somehow, they came up against inspired defences or goalkeepers, although missed chances from the likes of Coleman upfront didn’t help matters. One big positive for Dallas last weekend was the return of key playmaker Mauro Diaz who came on as a late substitute. He has been out of action since October with a torn Achilles tendon. They’ve missed his creative spark and maybe he might start this match.
Real Salt lake have claimed two recent home wins against NYC and Philly, but their road form continues to be horrible. They’ve lost 6 of their 8 away games including the last four consecutively. The most recent of those was on Wednesday night at Houston (5-1) where they were given a good old fashioned pasting. Everything went wrong for them in that game, although they did at least create chances, just didn’t take any. Dallas are much better at controlling possession and will be happy with a patient approach. RSL won’t get many opportunities here, it’s just a question of whether or not Dallas finally manage to score a few goals themselves.
I have been let down by Dallas in the last two weeks but I’m willing to back them again. I still rate the Texan outfit as one of the best teams in the league and I feel this is just a mini slump of form. They can’t ask for an easier fixture in which to get back on track, the gulf between the two sides is vast. I’m surprised a -1 Asian Handicap line can be bagged on the hosts. This looks too generous and probably only came about because of the mini slump they are in. The simple fact is that RSL are a team in crisis and horrible away from home so it makes sense to back Dallas here. If they can’t win this game then they really do have a problem, but it should result in a comfortable success.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: FC Dallas -1 Asian Handicap at 1.83
Prices correct at time of writing.
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