Sporting Kansas City v Orlando City
Defeat at Seattle last week (1-3) snapped a four-game winning streak for SKC but they are unlikely to get too downhearted about that. The Sounders are the serious red-hot side in MLS right now and it’s absolutely no disgrace losing against them. Sporting themselves have to be classed as one of the form sides in the division and still find themselves third in the Western Conference. Due to the competitive nature of the West then there are no playoff guarantees, but SKC are strongly in the hunt for a top two spot which would give them a high seeding. Peter Vermes’ men have an 8-3-2 record at Children’s Mercy Park and have always been strong in front of their own fans. Attendances are usually excellent here and supporters really get behind their team.
As far as Orlando City are concerned, this season is effectively a write-off. Things looked good way back in April when they won six straight games, but shockingly since then, the Florida outfit have won just 1 of their last 17! They are joint bottom of the Eastern Conference with little left to play for except pride. One thing I will say is that the team have at least shown some of that recently and not been disgraced. Draws with Philly and New England, along with spirited displays vs Atlanta and DC United have been encouraging. I could see them winning a few ‘dead rubbers’ before the end of the campaign now that the pressure is off. Orlando have lost a massive 10/12 road games this season and on average concede nearly 3 goals in every away match which is a shambolic statistic.
The good news for Orlando here is that their opponents are missing three players to international duty. Johnny Russell, Diego Rubio, and Daniel Salloi won’t be featuring which is quite a blow to them from an offensive point of view. That said, Sporting still have plenty of quality in their ranks to get the job done and someone like Felipe Gutierrez should be able to feast on the Orlando defence. Midfielder Yoshi Yotun is on international duty for the visitors, otherwise, they will line up close to full strength. SKC should be winning this match really and they certainly have the motivation compared to Orlando. But I have a feeling the visitors will be more competitive than expected and could even spring a surprise. They are playing with freedom at the moment due to a lack of pressure. Sporting are -1.25 Asian Handicap favourites but I will pass on that and instead back the goals. The line here is 3.25 but it should cover due to the extreme end to end and frantic nature of Orlando matches.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.25 goals at 1.750
Portland Timbers v Colorado Rapids
The Timbers enjoyed a brilliant midseason run but have struggled somewhat in the last month. They’ve lost 4 of their last 6 games, although at least managed to halt the slide recently with a win against Toronto and then a draw at New England. It was always going to be difficult once they lost their 15 game unbeaten run and that fantastic sequence still ensures they remain inside the playoffs. However, the Western Conference is extremely competitive and they are precariously placed with both Vancouver and LA Galaxy breathing down their neck. Portland have a strong 8-3-2 home record this season, but both defeats have come in recent times vs Vancouver and Seattle. That calibre of opponent is totally different compared to Colorado though.
The Rapids are the second bottom of the West and only the woeful San Jose Earthquakes sit below them. Anthony Hudson knew this would be a tough campaign and at times they’ve been competitive. But make no mistake about it, Colorado are one of the worst sides in MLS. Their away record reads a miserable 1-3-8, although recent draws at Galaxy and Real Salt Lake were a surprise. We are starting to get to the stage where they won’t have much to play for and it seems very likely they’ll be battling it out with the Earthquakes for the wooden spoon. The last time we saw the Rapids out on the field they were trounced 0-6 at home to RSL, although they were down to 9 men for the majority of that contest.
Both teams are missing players to either international selection, injury or suspension. But ultimately I would expect Portland to end up comfortable winners., They know they can’t afford to slip up in a match like this and the gulf in quality should be too much at the end of the day. The home team can be backed on a -1.25 Asian Handicap and I expect this to cover. I see something like a 2-0 or 3-0 home win and I don’t expect Colorado to trouble the scorers in this particular game.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Portland Timbers -1.25 at 2.080
Preview by: @meatmansoccer.