Atlanta United v Colorado Rapids
Both teams lost in midweek so will aim to bounce back in this fixture. It really is a mystery how Atlanta has lost twice to DC United this season. A third of the capital club’s points have come courtesy of the new franchise and this is poor from Atlanta’s point of view because DCU isn’t a great side this year. Gerardo Martino’s men were far too open defensively in midweek and possibly took their opponents too lightly. Atlanta must also be fed up of playing on the road constantly. A whopping ten of their sixteen fixtures has been away from home which is more than any other team in MLS. In front of their own fans, United have won their last three consecutively which is quite encouraging.
Colorado head into this match on the back of a four-game home stand. They won the first three of those fixtures but produced a poor second half against LA Galaxy midweek to lose 1-3. Truth be told, Colorado aren’t very good this year and a shadow of what they were in 2016. They’ve lost their defensive bite and clean sheets have been much rarer for them this season. The Rapids have never been great away from home anyway and their record this term reads played six, lost six, scoring just two goals in the process.
It really is difficult to envisage them getting anything out of this match. Atlanta is the better team by a country mile and has so much more technical ability in their ranks. The likes of Miguel Almiron could make mincemeat of the Rapids here. Key striker Josef Martinez has gradually been nursed back to full fitness and should be pushing a start from the off here. His clinical touch upfront could be just what they need.
Overs are usually a good bet in any Atlanta match and a 2.75 line seems generous. However, you’d probably need the home team to do most of the scoring so it’s slightly risky. Instead, I think Atlanta on a -1 Asian Handicap is the better option. It should be safe because at worst United will surely win by a one goal margin. But overall I expect a very comfortable home win in which the Georgia outfit demonstrate the true gulf in class.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Atlanta United -1 at 2.0
Chicago Fire v Orlando City
Chicago is up to second in the Eastern Conference and is unbeaten in eight matches ahead of this fixture. This season they really are a force to be reckoned with and the midfield additions of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Dax McCarty appear crucial. With new striker Nemanja Nikolić also in great form this year, the Fire offers much more of a threat, whilst still being defensively sound. Chicago has the best home record in the Eastern Conference, winning a whopping 7 out of 8 games in front of their own fans. This place has become a fortress and the sort of location nobody wants to visit.
Orlando travels here unbeaten in four games but has overall won just 1 of their last 10 MLS fixtures, which came against a poor DC United. The Florida outfit should at least be buoyed by a last-gasp equalizer in midweek away against Seattle though. It was a match they should’ve lost and only goalkeeper Joe Bendik kept them in the game with some good saves. Netting with the last kick of the game to earn a point will be a major boost, but I think they’ll be very jaded here. Traveling away to Seattle is far from easy at the best of times, let alone midweek. Now they are on the road again facing one of the best home teams in MLS. Fitness and fatigue could be a major issue, especially considering Chicago has had a full week of rest.
These two teams met just a few weeks ago and played out a 0-0 draw in Orlando. This was despite the fact that Orlando was reduced to 9 men with more than 25 mins left! Chicago dominated the fixture without scoring, so will be intent on revenge here. I can’t see anything other than a comfortable home win. Chicago is much the better team anyway, but considering other factors they have even more of an edge.
Taking the hosts on a -1 Asian Handicap seems like a no-brainer of a selection. At very worst, the Fire should win outright, but this will more than likely be a 2 or 3 goal success. Orlando has to be respected for their extra grittiness this season. But for them to avoid defeat in this match would require a massive effort which I don’t think they’ll be capable of after a tough midweek match.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Chicago Fire -1 at 2.05
Prices correct at time of writing.
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