San Jose Earthquakes v DC United
DC United always knew that the first half of their 2018 season would be extremely difficult. Whilst they are waiting for their new stadium Audi Field to be completed, United are having to play the majority of fixtures on the road. They had two ‘home’ games at neutral locations close to Washington, but all of their other matches have been away. Unfortunately, the MLS table rather shows they’ve desperately struggled, picking up just 5 points, only one of which came on their aforementioned travels. That was way back on the opening day and since then they’ve suffered five consecutive road defeats. United is arguably the worst team in MLS right now. That could change as the season progresses and there’s plenty of talk they could sign some high profile players this summer. The opening of their new stadium comes on July 15th, and that date can’t come soon enough for the club.
DCU traveled out west last weekend when they lost 3-2 at Real Salt Lake. Now they will go even further west, right out to California where they face San Jose Earthquakes. A week ago, this would’ve been a battle between the two basement teams in each conference, but the Quakes has enjoyed a more fruitful last seven days. They beat Minnesota away from home and also picked up a 2-2 draw at Vancouver. This was very encouraging for a team that has historically struggled away from home. Now back at their Avaya Stadium base, the team will hope to kick on with another three points. It has taken new coach Mikael Stahre some time to adapt to MLS, but recent signs are suggesting he might just be starting to get to grips with it.
San Jose played in midweek, which in theory should give DC United some sort of fitness advantage. The Quakes named a relatively strong team on Wednesday night, so maybe there could be some rotation here. I don’t think we should underestimate the effect of actually picking up points though., The Quakes should be full of confidence and on a high after turning around their poor form. We know they tend to have a very strong home record in the last few years. Portland and New York City have managed to beat them here this season, but DC United is nowhere near the class of those two teams. San Jose are favourites with the bookies around the 1.85 mark but I prefer to take them on a -0.75 Asian Handicap at bigger odds. United must be tired of playing on the road and I expect them to further struggle here.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: San Jose Earthquakes -0.75 at 2.230
New England Revolution v Columbus Crew
Right now, the top six in the Eastern Conference are some way clear of the rest. The big surprise team currently inside these spots is New England Revolution. Nobody really expected them to be up there at the moment and most pundits saw them as work in progress this season under new coach Brad Friedel. The Revolution have won half of their games and especially contain a strong record here at Gillette Stadium (4-1-1), a place where nobody really enjoys visiting. Stand out players for the Revs so far this year have been Teal Bunbury and Cristian Penilla. In the case of the former, a return of five goals is fairly impressive for a player who used to look like a donkey upfront. Penilla has been the big star though, scoring goals and also supplying numerous assists.
Columbus Crew travels here in good form and sitting second in the Eastern Conference. Most of their wins have been at home and the team seems to have employed some different away tactics this season. Crew has played five road games and every single one of them has ended with under 2.5 goals in them. This is quite a remarkable statistic in a league like MLS where goals have been flowing massively this season. There is more discipline and organization to Columbus in road games which is in total contrast to how they used to perform. The lack of goals scored by the Crew on their travels has to be a concern though. In fact, they have failed to net in any of their last four away contests. However, in Gyasi Zardes upfront, they have the joint top scorer in MLS with eight goals, even if most of his strikes have been tap-ins at home.
Because of the way Columbus has been setting themselves up on the road, I’m inclined to believe this won’t be a very high scoring match. Their results away this year are; 0-2, 0-0 1-0 1-0 and 0-0. Therefore, under 3 goals has to be considered around the 1.90 mark. The problem is there has become an unwritten rule in MLS and unders should not be backed at all costs! This is such a high scoring league and any match can explode at any given moment. With VAR in play, the potential for penalties is much higher as well. So reluctantly, I can’t actually back any under, even though I think this will be low scoring. Instead, my preferred pick is the Revolution -0.25. They have been excellent at home this season, with only Dallas beating them here in Foxborough. But even on that occasion, it was a flukey win and the Revs deserved better. This won’t be an easy victory by any means, but I think they will just have enough to prevail overall, something like 1-0 or 2-0.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: New England Revolution -0.25 at 1.990
Another awesome batch of betting picks by our sports pro @Meatmansoccer!