Montreal Impact v Columbus Crew
Montreal are one of those weird sort of teams who it’s difficult to get a proper read of. I was surprised to see them go and beat DC United 1-0 away from home last week but they deserved their victory and will hope to kick on again here. The fact remains that since their opening day shambles at San Jose, the Impact have only lost twice. That isn’t a bad record, even though they are currently situated second bottom of the Eastern Conference. Here at the Stade Saputo they are usually quite strong and a win against Atlanta a few weeks ago highlighted that fact.
Columbus travel here having lost 3 of their last 4 games. They will have no idea how on earth Toronto managed to beat them in midweek. The Crew held a 1-0 lead for most of the game and looked comfortably in control, before being hit by two late sucker punch goals (1-2). It’s been a while since we last saw Greg Berhalter’s men on the road, but their last two away games resulted in defeats at New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire respectively. The Crew aren’t particularly known for their road game prowess in the last couple of years and I suspect they might struggle here.
The one area of concern for Montreal is their lack of currently available strikers. Key man upfront Matteo Mancosu is ruled out for 6 weeks, whilst youngster Anthony Jackson Hamel is another casualty. In his place, the Impact have decided to go with the ‘best player’ approach and prefer to fill the one striker spot with someone like Dominic Oduro who is actually a natural winger. The Impact could even employ a false nine type position where nobody is actually stationed fully upfront. I fancy them to win this match and backing the Canadian outfit on a -0.25 Asian Handicap makes sense. We have seen in recent times how teams struggle following a midweek match in MLS. The Crew have that factor going against them here, and could also be quite down mentally after losing to Toronto. For me, this will end up in a typical MLS style unremarkable sort of home win and the Impact are my selection.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Montreal Impact -0.25 @1.77
DC United v Philadelphia Union
United took a step back last week when they lost 0-1 at home to Montreal. It was a strange sort of match in which they just couldn’t really get a foothold on proceedings. Prior to that loss, DCU hadn’t been playing too badly, only losing 1 of their last 5 games. They are known for being an inconsistent team so perhaps the Montreal defeat can’t be classed as too much of a surprise. United have a few players on the injury list for this game, although a number of doubtful players like key goalkeeper Bill Hamid are expected to play.
Quite shockingly, the Philadelphia Union are unbeaten in three consecutive matches. I don’t think anyone saw that coming after such a poor period in which they lost four straight games. The Union finally won for the first time this season last week, beating New York Red Bulls 3-0. CJ Sapong scored a hat trick for them in that encounter and should now be assured of his place upfront after surprisingly losing out to new man Jay Simpson at the start of the campaign. Despite the 3-0 win last week, we mustn’t forget that Philly are one of the worst teams in MLS and one swallow most certainly doesn’t make a summer.
I think United can bounce back by claiming victory here. There’s no doubt in my mind that they should be shorter than the current odds available. I personally think a line closer to a -0.75 Asian Handicap would be more applicable, but instead we can back the hosts odds-against straight up! Philly will be more confident after their mini unbeaten run, but I really don’t rate them much at all. United won this exact fixture 2-1 a few weeks ago and I could see a similar outcome. It’s quite surprising that Ben Olsen’s men can be backed on a -0.25 Asian Handicap close to the 1.80 mark. This looks like a solid and fairly safe selection because the Union are usually really poor on the road. In fact, they are usually very poor full stop, so I’m happy to bet against them.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: DC United -0.25 @1.81
Prices correct at time of writing.
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