Montreal Impact v Philadelphia Union
It feels like the Impact have played some good football in the last couple of months without really picking up the sort of results they deserved. In total, the Canadian side have only lost 2 of their last 12 games, but in that same period have only managed to obtain a couple of victories. A large number of draws have hindered their progress. Usually with teams like this then there’s often a lack of ambition and an unwillingness to push for three points. I don’t think that’s particularly the case with Montreal though, it’s just the way things have worked out. Last week they lost to NYC 1-3 at home and badly missed playmaker Ignacio Piatti who was suspended. He’ll be back here and along with Didier Drogba should make up a formidable duo going forwards. The NYC loss was only their second at home all season and since Mauro Biello took over halfway through last season it’s become a difficult place for opposition sides to visit. Key defender Laurent Ciman is rated doubtful due to injury.
The Union remain second in the Eastern Conference and have enjoyed a surprisingly good season. Last week they were involved in a pulsating clash at home to the Red Bulls, coming from 0-2 down to draw 2-2. There’s some great spirit within the Union camp this year and their offense has been quite potent, one of the highest scoring teams in the east. Philly played in the midweek cup and lost against New England on penalties. They fielded a pretty strong XI in that contest so might pay the price here. They will probably need star goalkeeper Andre Blake to make a string of saves if they’re to get anything out of the match. Philly have generally been pretty positive all year and will try and counter attack at pace in this contest. Creative midfielder Ilsinho is suspended.
Montreal matches have been a hotbed for goals and both teams scoring in the last couple of months. The exact same can be said about Philly games and both teams have a knack of being involved in higher scoring affairs. The tempo of this game will probably be pretty fast, neither likes to operate slowly and fast counter attacks are the game of the game. The first pick I like for this game is over 2.75 goals. I think this is a fairly obvious selection when you consider who is playing. It should be a high scoring contest unless Philly are flat after midweek, in which case Montreal are more than capable of scoring three goals themselves. Bearing that in mind, I’m also going to back the Impact -0.25. This isn’t a great price around the 1.70 mark. But they have a great fitness advantage over Philly who’ve actually played two energy draining matches since Montreal last took to the field. I’d say something like a 3-1 or 3-2 win is a likely outcome at Le Stade Saputo.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.75 goals at 2.09
Columbus Crew v Orlando City
The frustration continues for the Crew. It looked like they were going to claim a rare win last week against DC United but succumbed to a late equaliser and only drew 1-1. In truth, it wasn’t a particularly inspiring match but Columbus had all the chances, therefore it was a big blow to concede right at the death. Incredibly, the Crew have only won 3 out of 19 games in MLS this season. Bear in mind they were the runners up in last year’s MLS Cup so it’s been a real flop campaign. Not a lot has gone right for them and they look set to miss key playmaker Federico Higuain who’s still recovering from hernia surgery. At least upfront they have a hot striker in Ola Kamara who’s been in great form, averaging nearly a goal per game. Columbus have still retained some sort of homefield strength in 2016, only losing one game here. But it’s been a string of draws which has constantly hindered them.
The Florida side have been going through an extremely turbulent period. Poor form in the league and a shock cup exit was followed by the sacking of long standing coach Adrian Heath. Since then it’s been difficult for Orlando, especially as star playmaker Kaka has been out with injury. Jason Kreis has now been named as their new manager, but won’t be taking over until after this match. So Bobby Murphy has one more game in charge as caretaker coach. Maybe things are starting to settle at the club and they produced a pretty good performance last week at Vancouver, drawing 2-2. That was their best display under Murphy and surely they can head into this contest with some sort of confidence. It looked like the old Orlando was back last week, returning to their positive attacking self. They’ll also be helped by the return of Kaka here and they are always much more dangerous with him in the side.
I’m surprised the Crew are so short here, there’s no way I’d be backing them @ 1.65. This is a team that’s struggled for wins all campaign and often finds a way to cock up games. Orlando are nothing special on the road but do possess decent attacking threat and should have more confidence following last week’s result. I think this is going to be a good game of football in which both teams push forward. The Crew have shown signs of that recently and it’s their natural way. Someone like DC United were never going to operate in that style last weekend, it always takes two to tango. I think Orlando are willing to dance here and fight fire with fire. Over 3 goals looks like a good pick to me. Maybe over 2.75 is an option is you’re feeling more conservative, but I prefer to take the bigger price @ 2.08. I think there should be at least three goals, and if things really open up then it could end up as a proper high scorer.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 3 goals at 2.08
Prices correct at time of writing.
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