Real Salt Lake v Vancouver Whitecaps
RSL will be pleased with how their season started last week by obtaining a 1-1 draw away at Houston Dynamo. For the most part, they looked pretty solid and had general control of the game, only allowing the Dynamo one shot on target all match which was sadly converted. However, picking up a point away from home has to be classed as a good outcome considering how they struggled so desperately on the road for most of 2018, suffering a whopping 11 defeats! Head coach Mike Petke said that the team had been working on ‘defensive positioning’ for some of the pre-season and it looked like those efforts had paid off in week one. Now they will be delighted to be back on home soil where they had an excellent 11-4-2 record last season which was good enough to be second best in the Western Conference.
In the whole of MLS, only Atlanta United scored more home goals than RSL in 2018 so it will be a sizeable task for Vancouver to keep them out this weekend. I sense it’s going to be a serious struggle for the Whitecaps this year, especially in the early stages of it. They have effectively started from a blank canvas and only a handful of players remain from the previous regime which saw head coach Carl Robinson sacked and new manager Marc Dos Santos appointed. Fans are hoping this will lead to a dramatic switch from the Robinson ‘park the bus’ approach. But such is the major surgery required on the team that we are talking about quite a long term project here, in a sense that 2019 might almost be written off with very low expectations. There are so many new faces on the roster and their lack of proper gelling showed last weekend when they lost 2-3 at home to Minnesota United.
I would be surprised if Vancouver manager to pick anything up here. RSL are one of the teams that should be challenging for a playoff spot and looked quite decent last week. The only real injury that RSL have to deal with is the broken toe of key centre back Justen Glad, but he missed the Houston game and they still looked quite solid. I could see Vancouver having the odd good period in this fixture but it will be very sporadic and disjointed from the visitors. Over the course of the 90 mins Real Salt Lake should have too much for them. The team from Utah can be backed on a -0.75 Asian Handicap around the 1.95 mark, which I expect to shorten as the weekend approaches. Realistically, anything 1.70+ on this line is acceptable or 1.50 on the straight up win. This is a very tricky place to visit at the best of times and with the problems Vancouver have then it’s asking a lot for them to avoid defeat in my opinion.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Real Salt Lake -0.75 at 1.950
Seattle Sounders v Colorado Rapids
Seattle have been slow out of the blocks in all of the last three seasons but they were superb on the opening day against Cincinnati, hammering them 4-1. Perhaps it was a favourable matchup against a brand new franchise but the Sounders really impressed and fully deserved their margin of victory. It’s clear that with the attacking quartet of Lodeiro, Ruidiaz, Rodriguez and Morris they have one of the most formidable units going forward when everyone is fit. Jordan Morris was named MLS player of the week after scoring a brace. He is a player who has suffered greatly with injuries in recent seasons but he reminded everyone of his quality against Cincy. Seattle were creating chances at will in week one and looked absolutely full of confidence. This is a team that can again challenge for the MLS Cup this season and maybe if they keep up a good start the Supporters Shield will be within their reach too.
Colorado were involved in a dramatic 3-3 draw at home to Portland Timbers last weekend. In a game that was played in very wintry conditions where snow covered the pitch for the majority of the game, the Rapids did well to earn a point with what was effectively the last kick of the match. Rookie, Andre Shinyashiki scored on his debut to become an instant hero and Colorado have to be pleased considering they were down to 10 men for the last hour of the game following Axel Sjoberg’s sending off. As a result, he will be suspended against Seattle this weekend. Colorado have a few players who are injured or who aren’t fully fit, especially in defence. Guys like Opare, Jack Price, Kortne Ford and Tommy Smith were all on the injury report last week and there appear to be a few niggling fitness problems around the whole squad.
I’m not sure how much can be taken from the 3-3 draw last week due to the extreme nature of both the weather and also the ten man disadvantage for an hour of the match. But it was noticeable how porous the Rapids looked at the back. Truth be told, Portland could’ve had about 6 or 7 goals if they’d converted their chances or Tim Howard not had a good game in between the sticks. The Rapids possessed a terrible 2-4-11 road record in 2018 and only scored a measly 12 goals in the process. Their last two visits to Seattle have resulted in 4-0 and 3-0 defeats and I see something similar here. Now that the Sounders appear to have broken their early season ‘funk’ I would expect them to kick on and claim another three points. Logically, it should be comfortable too because the gulf in class is quite vast. Seattle can be backed on a -1 Asian Handicap around the 1.85 mark and surely the worst case scenario from this bet would be a push because it’s difficult to envisage the Sounders not collecting a victory.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Seattle Sounders -1.00 at 1.850
Preview by: @meatmansoccer.