NYC FC v Portland Timbers
New York City FC have been in excellent form recently and are still somewhat ‘under the radar’ due to their lack of games played. The team from the Big Apple have actually only lost one fixture all season, which now seems like a long time ago in March at Toronto FC (4-0). Things looked bad for them around that time as they started the season winless in 6 games but they kept accumulating points and now 7 victories in their last 10 has them stalking the leaders in the Eastern Conference. NYC have a lot of games in hand and if they were to win a few of those then they would be right in the Eastern title race. The likes of Mitrita and Moralez have been particularly good recently but the whole teams looks in fine shape both mentally and physically.
This won’t be an easy fixture though against a Timbers outfit that have been going quite well recently. Now that the Oregon outfit have been playing some games at home then victories have racked up. Portland didn’t play in midweek so have had a full week to prepare for this fixture. They do have an upcoming US Open Cup quarter-final to look forward to in a few days time at LAFC, but I would expect them to prioritise this MLS fixture and start their strongest possible XI. This is an important factor to consider because the Timbers did completely rest their entire team in their most recent away match at Montreal Impact (1-2). Key striker Brian Fernandez has been in scintillating form since joining the club, yet to fail in front of goal in any appearance!
New York City are short-priced odds-on favourite to win here. I estimate close to kick off they will be a -1 or -0.75 Asian Handicap favourite. I have to admit they certainly deserve to be favourites, but I’m not sure by such a strong margin. The Timbers are one of the better teams in MLS and have plenty of weapons at their disposal. If there’s one thing I have noticed about NYC recently it’s the amount of times they have been exposed at the back. The likes of Philly and Cincinnati both scored twice against them at this stadium in recent times. Even in midweek an under-strengthened Seattle had some chances but were wasteful. I actually have a feeling Portland can spring a surprise and earn at least a draw, or maybe even win. My preferred pick for the game is over 3.5 goals. I think this will be a very end to end contest with loads of opportunities. There is enough quality in both sets of attack forces to convert the opportunities as well.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.50 goals at 2.050
Philadelphia Union v Orlando City
These two teams met just a few days ago down in Florida and the Union were victorious 3-1. Perhaps the most notable aspect of that match was that Orlando finished the game with 9 men though and they had to play a significant chunk of the match at least one man down. Philadelphia are the surprise leaders of the Eastern Conference and few people would’ve predicted them in this position right now. The Union have been one of the real pleasant surprises in MLS this term with the likes of Jamiro Monteiro in particular being very influential in the middle of the park. Philly have a 6-2-2 home record and have generally been very reliable at the Talen Energy Stadium.
Orlando have actually won 2 of their last 3 away games and have been performing much better on the road this season. But this will be a tough test against formidable opposition and I expect them to struggle. It was noticeable how much they were given the run-around in the second half midweek with ten men and then nine, so they will carry both a mental and physical disadvantage heading into the contest. They have two suspension for this game including playmaker Sacha Kljestan. This might actually be a good thing for the team though such has been his poor form this season. The likes of Nani and Chris Mueller have been their most impressive players in attack this year.
I just see this game being totally wide open and potentially full of goals. We saw in the midweek fixture how both sides wanted to attack all the time and there were loads of opportunities. Philly are certainly the better team and will be deserving favourites to win. However, they can be prone to some defensive lapses and maybe Orlando will be able to take advantage. The visitors will be without Swedish centre back Robin Jansson and it’s difficult to see how they will be defensively secure here. Their best chance to get a result is to fight fire with fire and try to score a few goals themselves. At the time of writing, there are no published odds for this match but I’m recommending to take over 3.5 goals. Anything above the 1.95 mark would be a good price in my opinion but more value will probably be offered.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.50 goals at 2.280
Preview by: @meatmansoccer.
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