Atlanta United v Houston Dynamo
Atlanta United will be very pleased to be back on home turf. It’s a fact that’s almost slipped under the radar, but the new franchise have only played three games in front of their own fans thus far. Gerardo Martino’s men have played a whopping 7/10 of their fixtures on the road, which is a huge proportion. Atlanta have done fairly well when you consider their tough schedule, and come the end of the season I firmly believe they’ll be in the playoff mixer. They have an excellent bunch of technical players and can be great to watch sometimes. It’s been such a long time since we last saw them at home, so we don’t have a great deal of form to go on.
Houston have lost all four of their road games this season, going down 0-2 in their last three consecutively. The Dynamo are an excellent home team but have serious problems on the road. They won’t be helped by a short week either. On Wednesday night they played Philly and performed quite poorly at the Talen Energy Stadium. There’s no doubt that the Union have improved of late, but Houston would’ve expected much more. I think Atlanta will be tougher opponents and unless they dramatically improve then another defeat looms.
United are -0.5 Asian Handicap favourites around the even money mark, and I think this is too generous. It would be a nice boost if key striker Josef Martinez returned from injury for this game, they have missed him on the sidelines for a while now. He probably won’t be ready in time, but even without him upfront, Atlanta should have too much to see off the Dynamo. I don’t see how the visitors will have much left in their tank after a week on the road. If they fall behind then there appears to be no Plan B and they are stuck without any ideas on how to get back into games away from home. This will probably be an over game too, but the goal line is fairly high at the 3.25 mark, so I’m happy just to take the hosts to win.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Atlanta United -0.5 at 2.01
FC Dallas v San Jose Earthquakes
I have continually said right from the start of the season that I think Dallas are the best team in MLS. I expect that to stay the same until the end of the season, especially as they’ll welcome back key playmaker Mauro Diaz back from long term injury in the middle of the summer. Dallas are such a great all round side with strength all over the pitch. They remain the only unbeaten side in MLS and this isn’t just by chance. Oscar Pereja’s men are a major force and I’d be surprised if they didn’t win the Western Conference again this year.
Some might argue that Dallas draw too many games, but most of their all square encounters are all facing the better teams, so I don’t think this is a bad thing. Perhaps the worst draw on their cards was at San Jose a few weeks ago, when the Earthquakes netted a late equaliser (1-1). This hasn’t been the first time that the Quakes have scored late goals to rescue a point this season. They were at it again on Wednesday night, but failing to beat an under-strengthened Orlando at home has to be classed as a disappointment in my opinion.
The visitors haven’t been a very good road team for a while and their lone away victory so far this season came at Minnesota. Dallas have only lost something silly like 1 of their last 20 games at this stadium so the Earthquakes are highly unlikely to add to that tally here. Coming off a short week of rest heading into Dallas is far from ideal and I think they’ll struggle. This is exactly the sort of game a team like Dallas will totally control from start to finish. Something like a 2-0 or 3-0 success is on the cards and I’d be surprised if San Jose threatened much. The Texan outfit look overpriced on a -0.75 handicap when realistically a fairer Asian Handicap line would be something like -1 or even -1.25.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: FC Dallas -0.75 at 1.88
Prices correct at time of writing.
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