Real Salt Lake v New England Revolution
RSL head into this match winless in four games which is their worst run of the season. In midweek they lost 0-2 at Vancouver but fielded a weaker side and rested players. There are a couple of injury doubts here, the most notable to Joao Plata, but certain guys will be more fresh after sitting out that midweek fixture. The Utah side have generally had a really good season and this is their first real sticky patch. Nevertheless, performances have still been fairly good. Their two defeats in this span, to Dallas & Vancouver (both 0-2), were when a seriously weakened XI was fielded. Home draws against DC United & Montreal arguably should’ve resulted in wins. They were unfortunate to come up against a couple of resolute defensive sides on those occasions. Losing Plata to injury would be a blow but they have replacements out wide like Allen & Mulholland who could do a respectable job.
Unlike their opponents, The Revolution didn’t play in midweek so have had a full seven days to prepare for this clash. Victory against Columbus Crew in their previous match was a welcome relief after losing three consecutively. It was a much better performance by Jay Heap’s men and new key striker Kei Kamara had an excellent game against his old club. Team news is favourable ahead of this contest with no new injuries to worry about. New England have a huge problem keeping clean sheets and in total they’ve only had one in their last fourteen attempts. It’s clear the strength of this team is going forward, and with the addition of Kamara they have some decent playmakers in their ranks. Lee Nguyen is technically excellent, Teal Bunbury can’t finish but is useful on the right wing. I’d be surprised if the visitors approached this match in a negative fashion. Even if they tried to shut out RSL and play for a draw, I’m not sure they’d be able to manage it.
This looks set to be a really good game with plenty of excitement in it. The natural style of both teams is to attack. RSL have been frustrated by the likes of DC United and Montreal recently who have stout defences and good keepers. I just don’t see how the Revolution are going to be able to follow in their footsteps though. Whenever I’ve seen them this season the backline just seems incapable of keeping things tight. So RSL should find it much easier to break through in this fixture, but on the other hand New England will be much more dangerous going forward. It was noticeable last week how lethal Montreal were in the first 30 mins attacking the RSL defence with raw pace. New England could adopt a similar tactic and they have proper quality upfront in Kei Kamara who is always a threat. I think both teams will score and the most likely outcome is a home win or a draw. Over 2.75 goals looks a pretty strong pick here. At worst, three goals should be scored but if things really open up then I could see this line covering fully. The price is juicy and this pick seems fairly obvious when you look at the makeup of each side.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.75 goals at 1.95
Vancouver Whitecaps v Orlando City
The Whitecaps managed to grind out a 2-0 win against RSL in midweek. They weren’t particularly brilliant but showed some good defensive resilience against one of the better teams in MLS, getting the job done. Sometimes the Vancouver backline has been dodgy this year so it will come as a relief to coach Carl Robinson that a rare clean sheet was obtained. Of course, part of that reason was down to goalkeeper David Ousted who continues to be one of the best custodians in MLS this season. Team selections and injuries are hard to know exactly here. Considering this is their third match in the space of a week then some rotation or minor knocks could see certain guys rested to the bench. Vancouver have only lost twice at home this season and are usually pretty strong in front of their own fans.
It’s been a turbulent time for Orlando recently. A poor run of results was topped off by the sacking of long standing coach Adrian Heath. Since then, they’ve looked a shadow of their usual self, hardly creating any chances and yet to score a goal under the interim coach. They were poor at home last Friday against Houston, but managed a 0-0 draw on that occasion. In midweek they lost at the Red Bulls 2-0 against a side who were out of form. Something isn’t right with Orlando and they desperately need to find a new head coach and appoint him quickly. Of course, matters aren’t helped by the injury to key playmaker and standout star Kaka. They seem a different side without him around and this is totally understandable. Orlando are renowned for being poor on the road and have only won one of their eight away fixtures in MLS this season.
The Whitecaps aren’t a team who I rate too much, but I feel like this is a great time to face Orlando. The visitors are in turmoil after the sacking of Adrian Heath and you sense things aren’t going to change in a hurry, especially without Kaka. To rub salt into the wound, they’ve had to travel all over the country this week. On Wednesday they were in New York City, now they have to go out west to Vancouver. The match will finish will finish close to midnight eastern time, which is terrible news for the circadian rhythms of the Orlando players. By the second half they could be really fatigued both physically and mentally. Vancouver could win this match without even playing particularly well. I see it being a fairly drab affair, but something like 2-0 seems likely. Of course, the bookies are giving little away and price up the Caps as a 1.60 favourite. They can however be grabbed @ 1.83 on a -0.75 handicap. This looks acceptable to me, and at worst Vancouver should take the three points by a one goal margin.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Vancouver Whitecaps -0.75 at 1.83
Prices correct at time of writing.
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