San Jose v Columbus
The form of San Jose Earthquakes is quite staggering to say the least! It looked like it was going to be another season of misery as they lost 5 of their first 6 matches but since then they have been absolutely terrific. Mattias Almeyda’s men have only lost 2 of their last 16 matches which is a magnificent run in a tough league like MLS. The Quakes have won 6 of their last 7 games and perhaps the thing that stands out are their actual performances, which have been regularly dominant. San Jose have battered the opposition in terms of chances, energy and just about every faucet of the game recently. Quite how long they can keep it up, I’m not sure but Almeyda deserves massive credit. This squad isn’t a lot different compared to the nightmare of last season and on paper it’s only average at best compared to the league.
Columbus Crew meanwhile, have been heading in the opposite direction. After a good start to the season they drifted into a horrible run of form. In a 16 game stretch they won just once and lost a whopping 13 times! Quite how Caleb Porter kept his job is quite remarkable although in recent times the Crew have rebounded by winning two consecutive games. Last weekend’s 3-2 success at New York Red Bulls will have especially boosted their confidence against a major rival in the Eastern Conference. Columbus are third bottom of the East and a playoff position looks unlikely, but all they can do is win as many games as they can and just hope. Away form has been a massive problem for them this season, losing 8 out of 11 matches on the road.
The Crew have been buoyed by some recent new signings. In goal they have Curacao international Eloy Room who has now replaced the departed Zach Steffan. Costa Rican winger Luis Diaz also looks to be an excellent pickup. The Quakes have been active in the transfer market adding a couple of attackers Anreas Rios & Carlos Fierro. Neither have featured yet though. For this match it’s difficult to go against the Earthquakes. I think the recent wins for the Crew have to be respected but I don’t see anything other than a home victory in this game. San Jose have won 8 of their last 9 at home in MLS so backing them on a -1 Asian Handicap seems like a no brainer. Until they show signs of faltering it’s best to keep riding their hot streak.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: San Jose Earthquakes -1.00 at 1.900
Minnesota United v Portland Timbers
Each team is in good form heading into this game. Both Minnesota United and Portland Timbers are unbeaten in six consecutive matches and going well in the Western Conference. Minnesota survived a blip in form a few weeks ago and are situated 5th. Throughout the whole season they’ve been in and around the playoff spots. For the first time this season the Portland Timbers reached the top seven with a 4-0 victory against LA Galaxy last Saturday night. Portland have played most of their matches on the road and have a ton of home games remaining on the schedule. It would be a surprise if both teams weren’t in the playoffs come the end of the season. Minnesota can be a weird side that have phases of both low and high scoring matchers, For example, they had 6 consecutive under 2.5 fixtures around the month of May, which is extremely unusual in a league like MLS that contains a lot of goals. They have also had some high scoring runs but I personally see them as more of an overish team. Of their recent unders, a 1-0 win vs Dallas and the 0-0 vs Vancouver last week actually contained a lot of chances, just not enough of them were converted into goals.
The 0-0 draw vs the Whitecaps in the previous round was a frustrating affair for Minnesota. In that clash they faced a side that effectively parked the bus and they just couldn’t break through. This is a much different sort of prospect. Portland are far more attacking and will always carry some sort of threat. When you have the likes of Brian Fernandez, Sebastian Blanco & Diego Valeri in you ranks then it has to be seen as a major strength in the final third of the field. The Timbers are very used to playing on the road this season. 15 of their 21 fixtures have been away so they know how to operate on their travels. The home team has always won in MLS between these two sides in four previous meetings. They have ended 5-1, 3-2, 3-2 and 3-2 respectively. This head-to-head has a big history of containing goals and I don’t think anything will change.
I think over 3 goals is the obvious pick. The way both teams play is very offensive so we have a natural clash of styles which should lead to an end to end type of match. Portland are regularly involved in high scoring affairs and as aforementioned, there are reasons behind Minnesota’s recent under 2.5 games. It is the home side who are -0.25 Asian Handicap favourites but they look a little bit short. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Portland win. They have plenty of quality in their attack and are well suited to playing on the road. Their fast attacks along with quality finishing could be the difference. At worst I am expecting 3 goals to be scored so the over on this line looks like a safe play.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.00 goals at 1.862
Preview by: @meatmansoccer.