Columbus Crew v New York City FC
The Crew have had a two week break to reflect on their poor season. They head into this match having failed to win any of their last nine contests, which is a terrible return. Last season they finished as MLS Cup runners up, but 2016 has been a much more challenging year. It’s difficult to say exactly what’s gone wrong. It seems they have been affected by issues in all areas of the field at various different times. The last time they played was a 0-3 hammering away at Toronto. Prior to that, there was some evidence of the ‘old Columbus during a streak of three straight home games which they drew. The Crew should’ve won at least two of those games but surrendered leads in all of those contests. It rather sums them up this year, all too often they’ve thrown away good positions. Key playmaker Federico Higuain should at least be back here after missing six weeks due to a hernia injury. Despite their poor campaign, Columbus have only lost one home game all year, although they’ve drawn a whopping 7/11 contests at Mapfre Stadium!
Patrick Vieira has led New York City to the top of the Eastern Conference. Things certainly haven’t been plain sailing for them but the return to fitness of Frank Lampard has been key for in recent weeks. Lamps was ridiculed for his start to life in a NYC shirt, but since he’s been in better health, the ex Chelsea man has made one hell of an impact. The three designated NYC players all seem to combine really well together and it generates a great spine to this team. Pirlo as a deep lying playmaker, Lampard as an attacking midfielder and then David Villa upfront works perfectly. The squad has been pretty settled in the last few weeks and NYC are also really good on the road. Remarkably, this will be their seventh away match in nine games. But it’s unlikely to worry Vieira because his team have by far the best road record out of anyone in MLS.
I think this will be a really open game of football. NYC have shown an ability to be tight this season but if they are sucked into a shootout then they won’t complain. Columbus are at a stage in the year where only victories are acceptable. They simply have to ‘go for it’ and settling for a draw won’t be acceptable. The hosts can’t defend anyway and leave way too many holes at the back. There is plenty of strong offensive firepower within both teams which should lead to a good game of football containing chances at both ends. With that in mind, over 3 goals is a fairly easy selection, especially with odds around the 1.99 mark. I also think Columbus are massively overrated here. It’s incredible they are odds-on in many places! You can get NYC @4.20 to win and they are also generously priced on a +0.5 handicap which is worth a dabble.
Asian Betting Recommendations: Over 3 goals at 1.99 & New York City +0.5 at 2.0
New England Revolution v Philadelphia Union
The Revs are into the final of the US Open Cup after beating Chicago Fire 3-1 on Tuesday night. This was a great outcome for the club and something to really look forward to. Everyone should be in great spirits this weekend on the back of that result. Things could be going better for them in MLS though. They have lost both of their last two games heavily and now only sit inside the playoff places by virtue of goal difference. But maybe now the players are more relaxed they can generate a better performance tonight. New England have only lost two games at home all season and have won 3 of their last 4 at Gillette Stadium. This is a place nobody really likes to visit and the Revs are always historically strong here. Their injury situation is quite favourable and no key players are set to be missing.
Philly were the Eastern Conference surprise package in the first half of the season but have since slipped off the rails a bit. No win in any of their last four games and just 2 in their last 9 has seen them drop as low as fifth in the east. This is still a decent position for the Union, who many expected to only challenge for the wooden spoon in 2016! However, after such a good start to the campaign it’s disappointing they’ve hit poor form during the mid season. Midfielder Brian Carroll is injured, but they don’t have any other main concerns fitness wise. There’s a chance Alejandro Bedoya might feature here. Recently signed from French Ligue 1 side Nantes, the American should be a class above most at MLS level and is a great addition. Philly have only won one away match all year and concede an average of two goals per game on their travels.
This looks set to be a wide open game between two old Eastern Conference rivals. The Revolution had to play extra time in midweek which might affect them physically and mentally. However, the high of reaching the US Open Cup final should help them in this regard and might even become irrelevant. This should be an open game of football. Most games involving both of these teams contain a lot of chances and many goals, Neither side is particularly good defensively and their best strengths are going forward. I’m surprised over 2.75 goals is available at such a decent price. A whopping 9 of the last 10 Philly games have all contained at least three goals in them and this is no fluke. I just think this is an obvious pick and I have no hesitation in pulling the trigger. In terms of match result, I’m not sure. But the Revs probably look a bit too short @ 1.95. Philly are too unreliable on the road to back though.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.95
Prices correct at time of writing.
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