LA Galaxy v Vancouver Whitecaps
Both sides head into the game with interim managers at the helm. Everyone knows the Sigi Schmid situation at LA Galaxy and due to a poor run of results, it wasn’t a total surprise to see him step down. The current man in charge is Dom Kinnear, someone who will be hoping to land the role full time. If he can make the playoffs and have a good run then he would highlight his credentials. Basically, the next few matches until the end of the year are like a job interview for Kinnear and he’ll be eager to impress. LA Galaxy come into the match having just beaten Seattle Sounders 3-0. They have to be respected for doing that because it wasn’t so long ago that the Sounders were winning nine straight MLS games in a row.
The Whitecaps picked 14 points from a possible 18 in recent times but followed that up with two very damaging home losses which put their playoff aspirations in serious peril. All isn’t lost for Vancouver, and the general consensus from certain sources is that they have about a 10% of making the top six. The big shock is that they have just this week fired long-standing head coach Carl Robinson. The Welshman had been at the helm since 2013 and the timing of his departure is a major surprise. Surely Robinson deserved until the end of the season and as aforementioned, form a few weeks ago wasn’t too bad at all. Academy coach Craig Dalrymple takes charge and once senses it’s been quite a turbulent week for the club.
I think it’s fair to say that the loser of this match will almost certainly not make the playoffs this season. With so few games left, defeat against a direct rival would be absolutely crippling. To be honest, a draw doesn’t really do that much for either team so I expect quite a frantic affair in which both sides have a proper go. Interim bosses are in both dugouts, but it’s in the LA Galaxy camp where things are far more settled. There is always the chance of an instant reaction from the players following Robinson’s sacking at Vancouver, but I suspect things might go the other way and they find themselves in a mess. I think the best bet is LA Galaxy -0.75 Asian Handicap. I fancy goals as well, but the line is between 3.25 and 3.5 which might just be on the high side. Galaxy can be buoyed by their excellent victory last week and keep in the hunt for the postseason with another win.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: LA Galaxy -0.75 at 0.930
New York Red Bulls v Atlanta United
The biggest match of the weekend in MLS comes at Red Bull Arena where New York take on Atlanta United. This is a battle between possibly the two best sides in the whole league, and who this year are battling it out not just to win the Eastern Conference, but also obtain the Supports Shield. This is a trophy that the Red Bulls have won before, but the actual end goal of the MLS Cup always seems to evade them come to the playoffs. It would be nice to win the Shield but it’s not the end of the earth should it not be obtained. Considering the fact that New York are 4 points behind United with just four games to play, victory is obligatory for them in order to retain hope of catching top spot. The Red Bulls have the best home record in MLS (12-1-2) and always win a staggering amount of matches at this stadium. They will hope to lean on that this weekend.
It won’t be easy though facing the fearsome beast that is Atlanta United. They sit top of the Eastern Conference on a mammoth 63 points and truth be told nobody has been better than them this season. However, if they lost this game then there is absolutely no guarantee that a deserved Support Shield crown will be secured. A draw wouldn’t be a bad result for Atlanta, but this isn’t a team that plays negatively – they are sent out to win every fixture. I can’t see them willing to play more reserved because a victory would be well worth its weight in gold, giving them a comfortable and likely unassailable lead at the top of the standings. United are comfortably the best away side in MLS by a country mile with an excellent 10-2-3 record. In a league which is renowned for being so tough on the road, those statistics have to be respected.
This really is a dual of titans. If these two met in the playoffs then it would be a fitting conclusion so for either to land a blow right now would be a nice boost. The Red Bulls actually beat Atlanta down in Georgia when the two teams met earlier in the season and have never lost to United in three attempts in MLS. Quite who will prevail here I’m not sure, but I think we’ll be in for a terrific and entertaining encounter. There are loads of attacking players on show and despite last year’s meeting ending 0-0 here in New York, I am expecting a much higher scoring affair this time around. You can grab The Red Bulls on a DNB Asian Handicap around the 1.85 mark which considering their home record might be very generous. My preferred pick is over 3 goals though just because of the amount of attacking potential on show.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.00 goals at 0.970
Preview by: @meatmansoccer.
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