Los Angeles FC v Atlanta United
LAFC suffered a rare defeat last week when they went down 2-3 against city rivals Galaxy. It was just their 3rd loss of the season and means their lead at the top of the Western Conference has been cut to 9 points. I don’t expect it will destabilise them too much though. LAFC usually respond pretty well to adversity, even if it was extremely annoying to once again come up short against their local arch rivals. As I have mentioned many times this year, the core strength of this side is scoring goals. Bob Bradley’s men have whacked in a massive 55 in just 21 games so far. The defence can be ‘got at’ if put under pressure, but not enough teams manage to do that.
Atlanta United are currently second in the East, which probably says more about how weak that particular Conference is at the moment. It feels like the reigning MLS Champions have endured a poor campaign under Frank De Boer but a few recent wins have improved their points tally. Central to their improvement has been key striker Josef Martinez scoring more goals. He has come back from the Copa America in a determined mood. I still can’t personally trust this Atlanta team though, especially away from home. I simply can’t get defeats like the 5-1 at Chicago or the 2-3 loss to Toronto FC out of my mind. De Boer can be a negative influence on this team and I expect him to be cautious here, perhaps overly cautious.
These two teams have only met once in MLS history and on that occasion last April Atlanta absolutely thumped LAFC 5-0. The Californian outfit will be intent on revenge here and also keen to bounce back from the derby defeat last weekend. I honestly see them prevailing quite easily. LAFC are the best team in MLS and despite Atlanta currently well situated in the East, I think there is clear night and day between these two teams in 2019. I have been a fan of backing over 3 or 3.25 in most LAFC games this year but I am concerned that Atlanta will put in a stinker of an away performance where they don’t create much. So instead I prefer just to back LAFC on a -1.25 Asian Handicap. This should be a comfortable victory for the runaway leaders of the Western Conference.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Los Angeles FC -1.25 at 1.950
Minnesota United v Vancouver Whitecaps
The home team are in a good run of form here and are unbeaten in five games. Their run of 4 straight wins came to an end last week by drawing 1-1 at RSL, but that has to be considered a strong result at a difficult location. The ‘Loons’ are up to 4th in the Western Conference and have been hovering around the playoff mark for most of the campaign. This has easily been their best MLS season to date and quite how far they go could depend exactly how high they finish in the Conference. United have been performing especially well at home where a 7-1 win against Cincinnati stands out along with a 3-1cvictory vs the in-form San Jose Earthquakes.
Vancouver Whitecaps meanwhile, have really hit the buffers of late. I would say they have been a poor and fairly limited side for the majority of the campaign but a stretch of games when they managed to pick up a number of draws kept them somewhat competitive. However, now a run of 5 straight MLS defeats has seen them sink to the bottom of the Western Conference. This is where they will stay unless an upturn in form materialises. The big concern has been the manner of these recent losses. Vancouver have been comprehensively outplayed by most opponents and their last four results read 1-6, 0-3, 0-4 & 1-3. At the time of writing I don’t know the result of their midweek Canadian Championship match against Cavalry FC. But in the first leg of that tie they slumped to a very poor 0-0 in a match they were expected to win easily.
On current form there is only one winner and that is Minnesota. They are playing with great confidence at the moment and should have too much for the Caps in this game. It’s a surprise that a -1.25 Asian Handicap is on offer around the 1.90 mark. At very worst the Loons should be taking the 3 points in some form but I would say it’s highly likely this ends up as a comfortable success. Something like 2-0 or 3-1 is perhaps the most likely result, or maybe more if the visitors continue their horrible recent slump. Minnesota are definitely the tam I want to be siding with in this affair though without doubt.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Minnesota United -1.25 at 1.850
Preview by: @meatmansoccer.