Orlando City SC v Montreal Impact
Orlando City will probably wonder how they only have two points on the board after two games. They fell 0-2 down against NYC on the opening day and did well to salvage a draw, but truth be told they were the better team that day and should’ve picked up a victory. Then last week they put in a very ‘un-Orlando’ like away performance when it looked like the Florida outfit would grind out a tough 1-0 win at Chicago. However, they succumbed in the 94th minute to a CJ Sapong equaliser which was harsh on them because over the course of the 90 mins it felt like they deserved the 3 points. Orlando are definitely trending in the right direction after a horrible 2019 but just need to back those first two results up with a victory now.
Montreal have started the season with a win at San Jose and a loss at Houston Dynamo. Once again they are on the road for the third consecutive week which is less than ideal. The Impact would’ve been pleased with how they opened up the season but you do have to question exactly who they beat in week one because San Jose look like a terrible side at the moment. Houston were there for the taking in the last round due to fielding a weakened side, but Montreal couldn’t take advantage and succumbed to a late goal that condemned them to defeat. Of course, there are certain players within this squad who command respect like Ignacio Piatti and Saphir Taider but not too much has changed here and there is perhaps a slight stale feeling around the club. I don’t see them making much progress this year and are likely to be languishing at midtable in the Eastern Conference, at best.
I’ve seen enough from Orlando City this season that makes me believe they will beat the Impact this weekend. New attacker from Dallas Tesho Akindele suffered a hamstring injury in the previous game and won’t feature here, but that just means Dom Dwyer will come back into the lineup which is actually an upgrade. Dwyer and a few others have been nursed back to fitness recently but Orlando should be fielding their strongest possible side here. Montreal don’t appear to have nay new injury concerns ahead of the match. I just don’t think they have as much overall quality as Orlando. There is a big reliance upon key men like Taider and Piatti to deliver for them and I sense this is going to be a good chance for the home team to win. Orlando can be frustrating and sometimes make silly errors which costs them dearly but over the course of the 90 mins they can outscore their opponents if necessary. Take them on a -1 Asian Handicap or anything smaller at respectable odds.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Orlando City -0.25 at 1.910
New York Red Bulls v San Jose Earthquakes
It was heartbreak for New York Red Bulls in the midweek NACL as they shocked Mexican side Santos Laguna by going 2-0 up against them after just 10 mins. Nobody gave them a prayer of overturning a 0-2 deficit from the first leg but they held onto their advantage on the night until the 70th minute and ended up losing 2-4! Ultimately, it was all too much for them but I think there has to be some respect given for the commendable effort that New York put into the tie. Of course, the team could drop its head after such a defeat but there were also positives to take from the encounter. In terms of MLS, the Red Bulls started their season with a creditable 1-1 draw away at Columbus Crew despite fielding mostly a second string XI. They had last weekend off as one of their ‘bye’ weeks so have played one game less than most other sides already.
San Jose have hired new coach Matias Almeyda to try and sort out their problems following a dreadful 2018 season but so far nothing seems to have changed much. In some ways that can’t be too much of a surprise because the roster has a very similar makeup compared to the previous campaign when it might have been better to make radical changes. Almeyda sees this a long term project though and putting together the pieces more slowly is his goal. San Jose have lost both of their opening two matches at home to Montreal and Minnesota. Whilst the latter are an improving unit these days, on paper those would appear to be quite favourable fixtures yet the Earthquakes were outplayed in both encounters. Right now, they look like the worst team in MLS and they may well be travelling to the best side here, which doesn’t bode well.
The one hope for San Jose is that the Red Bulls have a hangover from their NACL loss in Mexico. That match was also played at altitude of over 1000 metres so there could be an element of fatigue and tiredness here. One thing the Red Bulls have shown is massive squad depth though. They have a great bunch of young players who are fast, athletic, hungry and well trained. If they want to rotate and make wholesale changes for this match then they can easily do it and still probably win with ease. I really worry for the Earthquakes at the moment and I think that even a Red Bulls second string side could turn them over. It makes sense to bet against them in this away trip to the Big Apple because I’m fully expecting New York to win no matter what XI they field. Take them on a -1.5 Asian Handicap or anything smaller.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: New York Red Bulls -1.50 at 1.920
Preview by: @meatmansoccer.