Orlando City SC v New York City FC
These two franchises have always seemingly crossed paths. Both entered the league as new teams in 2015 and to some degree share a different sort of rivalry and are often compared to each other. In terms of actual results there is no doubt that New York City FC have significantly put their Florida counterparts into the shade. In each of the last three seasons, NYC have always made the Eastern Conference playoffs, and on every occasion were eliminated at the Semi Final Stage. They tend to have a reputation for ‘choking’ in the playoffs although at least they finally managed to at least win a postseason match in 2018.
Just reaching the playoffs is something that Orlando can only dream of though. In their four year MLS history the team in purple haven’t even threatened making the postseason and their league position has been steadily getting worse. From a 7th placed finish in 2015 to what was an extremely disappointing 11th last year nothing seems to be improving. There is no doubt that Orlando were one of the biggest underachieving outfits in 2018 and compared to the weapons they had on paper, finishing so low was clearly unacceptable.
There have been some major roster changes for both teams ahead of the 2019 campaign. Gone are the days of Kaka and David Villa and in the case of the latter it will be especially interesting to see how NYC cope without their star marksman who propelled them ever since the launch of the club. The visitors have signed Romanian left winger Alexandru Mitrita for nearly £7m, which is quite a substantial sum for an MLS outfit. The most significant signing Orlando have made is the acquisition of Portuguese winger Nani, the ex Man United star.
Betting is never easy in the early stages of any league season but the pick I like here is over 3 goals. I’m taking it for the occasion more than anything else. Both teams will want to start the year with a bang and this fixture has a history of being open and fast moving. There has never been a 0-0 draw in 12 meetings and at least 2 goals have been scored in 9 of those fixtures. NYC have won the last four clashes and are rightful -0.25 Asian Handicap favourites, but I think goals is the best way to go in this game.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.00 goals at 1.850
DC United v Atlanta United
DC United ended the 2018 in red hot form winning a bunch of games that propelled them into the playoffs. Perhaps it was a shock that they failed to progress beyond the first round as Columbus Crew eliminated them. I’d also say it was a missed opportunity considering how well DCU were playing. It really felt like there was a chance it could be their year but maybe they can use last season as a springboard towards better things this campaign. One big loss to the squad has been playmaker Yamil Asad who has been one of the best players in the whole of MLS in the last couple of years. But with quality like Wayne Rooney & Luciano Acosta within their ranks then this is a team that has to be respected.
Atlanta United are the reigning MLS Cup champions but there have been a couple of big changes in the offseason. The first is that legendary coach Tata Martino has left for pastures new and is replaced by Frank De Boer, the failed Crystal Palace manager who did well in the Dutch league for Ajax. De Boer has big boots to fill and another huge gap is the loss of playmaker Miguel Almiron who is now in the Premier League with Newcastle. New signing from Argentina Gonzalo Martinez will hopefully go some way to replacing Almiron. Atlanta have done well to keep most of their other key players so will still be a force to be reckoned with.
This is an Eastern Conference matchup between two teams who will be right up there this season. It’s a chance for both to lay down a marker for the rest of 2019. All three meetings ended 3-1 last year to the home side with DCU winning the most recent encounter which should give them some confidence. Bookmakers can’t split either team with a DNB Asian Handicap offered around similar prices. I actually think there is some value on DC United but I am not confident enough to oppose Atlanta in week one. I think the best pick for the game is over 3 goals. This should be an end to end attacking sort of game in which both sides have a proper go so I’m very happy to side with this bet in the goals market.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.00 goals at 2.050
Preview by: @meatmansoccer.