Philadelphia Union v NY Red Bulls
Philadelphia are the surprise leaders of the Eastern Conference at the moment and have an 8-4-4 record sitting on 28 points. The Union are full of goals (28) and only LAFC have managed more in the whole MLS. The mad thing is that Philly probably should’ve scored more than their current tally but do have a habit of missing plenty of opportunities. They blew victory in their last home match when they failed to put Colorado Rapids to bed (1-1), but did manage to ‘steal’ a victory at Minnesota last week. In all reality they were outplayed having conceded over 30 shots in the game but a combination of last ditch defending and some good goalkeeping managed to secure three points (3-2).
The majority of leagues worldwide aren’t in action at the moment due to the international window. But as ever, MLS carries on regardless with four fixtures this weekend. I have said many times this is a practice that needs to stop. All too often teams are affected by international call ups which is grossly unfair in many ways. The midweek match between Montreal and Seattle contained over a dozen absentees for this very reason! It looks like the Union won’t be as badly as affected compared to New York in this fixture. The Red Bulls will be missing six players including key centre back Aaron Long. Kemar Lawrence in addition to ‘Kaku’ are their other notable absentees. The potential loss of goalkeeper Andre Blake for Philadelphia can’t be underestimated though because he is one of the best shot stoppers in the league.
Philly have only lost 1 of their last 9 games and the Red Bulls just 1 of their last 8. It’s clear both teams are in good form at the moment so it would be a brave man to bet against either. The Union are a -0.5 Asian Handicap favourite around the 1.85 mark which feels about fair. I think they are most likely to win the game but I have seen the Red Bulls field some good ‘weakened’ sides and they have a lot of squad depth. The way both teams are playing at the moment leads me to suggest backing over 2.75 goals. There should be an open feel to the contest and I expect chances at both ends. Two of the last 3 league meetings have ended 0-0 but I think this has the potential to be more high scoring and will be overs will be my pick.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.75 goals at 1.850
Colorado Rapids v Minnesota United
Since sacking Anthony Hudson the Colorado Rapids have suddenly been winning matches. The Western Conference basement dwellers have won 3 of their last 4 games and have actually been quite a decent team to watch recently. This is a side that often takes risks and is trying to entertain again. I always said when Colorado were losing a lot of fixtures at the start of the season that they weren’t quite as bad as some results might suggest. Suddenly a set of more favourable fixtures and more confidence has seem them perhaps turn the corner. I would say the Rapids are quite a dangerous team at the moment because they are playing with freedom and not much pressure. Improvements are there to be seen and I like what I’m seeing.
Minnesota have been doing quite well in 2019 and have been in the playoff positions since the early part of the campaign. A couple of recent losses to Atlanta and Philly have slightly set them back recently but overall there is a good feeling around the club. I have to say that ‘The Loons’ were very unlucky in their most recent loss to the Union (2-3). It felt like Adrian Heath’s men created a huge amount of chances – yet somehow managed to end up getting nothing. Minnesota will be missing four players to international duty here, the most notable being the midfield duo of Gregus & Schuller. Key right back Romain Metanire is also unavailable due to African Nations. The Loons started this season with some decent away results but have since lost three consecutive road contests.
I think over 2.75 goals is a good looking bet here. Colorado matches have actually been high scoring contests this season and 7 of their last 10 games have contained at least 3 goals. But the general sheer manner of their fixtures makes me think this could be a wild and open encounter. Colorado aren’t so bothered about defending at the moment and are trying to be on the front foot whenever possible. Minnesota had a strange run of six straight under 2.5 games recently but I always said a lot of those results masked more open contests which deserved more goals. The wild match vs Philly last week was more of a true reflection of their typical style of football. I am expecting both teams to fancy victory and go all out for the 3 points. There might also be some value on the Rapids -0.25 Asian Handicap. But I think Minnesota have enough weapons to be dangerous so I’ll just stick with the over 2.75 pick.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.75 goals at 1.800
Preview by: @meatmansoccer.