Toronto FC v Seattle
Toronto FC has been situated in the lower reaches of the Eastern Conference for the majority of the season. This has been understandable though for a few reasons. The primary one is the fact they were involved in the NACL, a competition the Canadian side very nearly won. As a result of this, TFC has often played under strength XIs in MLS and actually played fewer matches than most other outfits. They remain second bottom but should be able to move up the table by picking up a few victories in their spare matches. A win on Friday night, 3-0 against Philadelphia showed Greg Vanney’s men are on the right track again and a match facing Seattle will always bring the best out of Toronto.
Despite being in separate conferences, these two teams are no strangers to each other. In fact, they have both contested the last two MLS Cup finals, sharing one each. Both of those games were played here at BMO Field, whilst Toronto won the one league fixture over in Seattle last year. Games between these two teams are historically tight, with all of the last four fixtures ending under 2.5 goals. I expect something fairly similar again really because the defensive capabilities can’t be underestimated at either end. TFC has had an extra day to prepare for this game which could help them. Meanwhile, for Seattle fans, it was a major concern they couldn’t even score against a Columbus Crew team that played with ten men for over 70 mins at the weekend during a 0-0 draw.
Ultimately, I expect both of these sides to make the end of season playoffs and for their respective form to improve as the year goes on. Neither can even be counted out of MLS Cup contention, especially Toronto who possess one of the best ever units to grace this league in the whole of its history. I certainly don’t think that Seattle will be blown away here, but Toronto should have enough to win. With home advantage midweek and with a team in better form, I’ll back them to prevail. My big concern with Seattle right now is scoring goals and they are unlikely to get much change out of this defense. One or two goals should be enough for TFC to get the win. They are a fair odds-on shot here, but I’ll happily take them on the nose to deliver the goods.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Toronto FC -0.50 at 1.621
Los Angeles FC v Minnesota United
Bob Bradley’s LAFC team has opened up with four points from their first two matches at the new Banc of California Stadium. Despite the low scoring nature of a 1-0 win against Seattle and 1-1 draws vs Dallas, both have been frantic affairs which have been quite exciting. LAFC as a whole has been one of the most entertaining teams in MLS this year and only SKC has scored more goals than them in the Western Conference so far. The likes of Carlos Vela, Rossi, & Blessing, plus a few others have looked excellent this season and always attacking with plenty of pace and flair. Whether Bob Bradley decides to rest anyone for this midweek clash remains to be seen.
Minnesota travels here in a surprisingly healthy fifth position in the Western Conference. Everyone dismissed them as cannon fodder preseason, but they started well and despite one blip, a couple of recent victories has seen them resurgent again. Perhaps, the key to their success has been the arrival of their first ever designated player – Darwin Quintero. He was once bought by Mexican side Club America for £9m back in 2015 and he looked right at home in MLS. His technical skills are already causing defenses serious problems. Minnesota did very well to win 1-0 with ten men at the weekend against Vancouver, with goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth pulling off a string of saves to keep an improbable clean sheet.
The words Minnesota and clean sheet very rarely combine together. In fact, the shutout on Saturday was their first since July 30th last year! The ‘Loons’ have never once in their whole history kept a clean sheet on the road in MLS! Their defense is just simply lacking quality and too porous and will likely struggle badly again here. I suspect LAFC will win comfortably, but the handicap on them is -1.5 which is maybe a bit extreme. Minnesota can fight fire with fire and have a go themselves with little pressure on their shoulders. You could play it safe by taking an over 3 or 3.25 goal line, but I think risking over 3.5 at bigger odds is worth it in this instance. There should be numerous chances, and as long as neither team rests key attacking weapons then I don’t see how it won’t be a high scorer.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.50 goals at 2.280