Philly roared back into life last weekend by hammering New England 4-0 away from home. They were on a +0.5 asian handicap in that fixture which just shows how remarkable the result was. It was a great display by the Union and puts them back on track following a tricky run. Jim Curtain’s men had won just one of their previous seven games heading into Foxboro, but they dominated from start to finish. It might just be the tonic they need to kick start their campaign and they moved back up to fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Now they face a fellow rival who are also in a playoff spot. Who knows, maybe these two will meet each other at the end of the year when the stakes are raised tenfold. Striker CJ Sapong is rated doubtful for this clash because of a head injury picked up last week, but the manager is hopeful he’ll be available. Philly have yet to suffer a home defeat against fellow Eastern Conference opposition this year and they’ll hope that run continues.
Toronto FC preview
TFC’s four match winning run was brought to an end last week when they could only draw 1-1 at Houston. The Canadian outfit are still in good form though and those victories have propelled them right into the heart of the Eastern Conference playoff battle. Toronto had a bit of a sticky spell a couple of months ago which coincided with Sebastian Giovinco’s poor run of form. Fellow frontman Jozy Altidore was also out of action around that time. But he’s now back fully fit and Giovinco has been on fire of late, scoring some great goals. TFC haven’t been on the road much recently but they did win here last season. In fact, they actually claimed a clean sweep over Philly in 2015 winning all three matchups!
Conclusion & betting analysis
Both teams will head into the match full of confidence. Toronto are on a great run and Philly should be flying high following their great victory last week. This is a battle between two good Eastern Conference teams and come the final whistle I don’t think much will separate them. I do think it’ll be an open encounter full of chances though The one big noticeable thing about Philly in 2016 is how open and high scoring their games are. They have been involved in a ridiculous amount of over 2.5 matches and the sensible option each week is to keep backing these overs! Sooner or later they will have to have an under, it’s the law of averages. But I don’t expect it to come here. Toronto’s attack force has just started to click recently and I just don’t see how the notoriously porous Philly defence will be able to keep the likes of Giovinco and Altidore at bay. Something like a 2-2 draw could be on the cards and I’m firmly in the court of over 2.75 goals.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommended bet: Over 2.75 goals at 1.95
Seattle Sounders v Portland Timbers
The Sounders have generally endured a miserable season but have come back to life in recent weeks. It seems like the sacking of long standing coach Sigi Schmid has been the catalyst for this. Sometimes, a fresh approach is needed and right now Seattle have benefitted from change. Of course, matters have been helped by the arrival of new signing Nicolas Lodeiro. He was one of the most expensive ever transfers in MLS history and you can just feel like he’s given the club a new lease of life. Back to back victories against Orlando & RSL have put them back in the hunt for a playoff place and they now face the side currently in possession of the final spot in the top six. This is a huge match and the biggest rivalry in MLS. The two sets of supporters genuinely hate each other and I expect a really committed game from both. Team news is favourable for Seattle with no new concerns.
Things are starting to go slightly pear shaped again for the reigning MLS Cup champions. It looked like the Timbers were back on track thanks to a nine match unbeaten run, but they followed that up with 3 losses out of 4. Injuries haven’t helped their cause. Key man at the back Nat Borchers is ruled out for the rest of the season, Liam Ridgewell has been in and out of the team and a ton of other niggles or suspensions affecting other players has hindered them. Team news is a bit more favourable for this contest but it seems like Portland have lost their sparkle a little bit. If there’s a fixture which will raise the adrenaline levels it’s this one though! They would love to do the double over their arch rivals who they beat just over a month ago. The Timbers have a bad record at this stadium, only ever beating Seattle once at Centurylink field in their whole MLS history.
I certainly give the edge to Seattle here. It seems to me like both teams could be heading in opposite directions. The Sounders suddenly look a force again and are playing with more confidence. Portland meanwhile, are in one of their slump periods and could probably do without this fixture right now. I know better than to write off the defending MLS champions though, especially in a big derby fixture where both sides will be giving 110% effort. I’m not really sure how Seattle can be as short as 1.65 on a -0.5 asian handicap. This is a silly price and totally no value whatsoever. I do however think Seattle will win the match so I’m not going to get involved backing the visitors in any form. The bet I like for the game is over 2.5 goals. The majority of Timbers fixtures in 2016 have ended over 2.5 with both teams scoring. Now Seattle are looking more confident in front of goal I think it’s a fairly obvious pick, especially when odds of 1.80 are offered. This goal line should be 2.75 around the same price so I think there’s some good value to be had here.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals at 1.80
Prices correct at time of writing.
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