Philadelphia Union v Columbus Crew

Both teams have started the season well ahead of this Eastern Conference clash. Philly beat New England 2-0 on the opening day, and truth be told they could’ve had 5 or 6 goals had they finished chances better. It was probably a shame for them that they had a bye week in the previous round after obtaining such a positive result. In this clash, they face a Crew team who have obtained maximum points after beating the Canadian duo Toronto FC & Montreal Impact. Key to their success has been striker Gyasi Zardes who has bagged three goals already. The former LA Galaxy man came under fire in recent season due to some below par displays, but it seems a change of scenery has given him a new lease of life. Columbus Crew has been very stable with team selection so far and has no new injuries to report.

It’s likely the Union will keep with the same XI although there might be a temptation to start new designated player Borek Dockal in place of youngster Anthony Fofana. This would be hard though because Fofana was excellent against New England. Philly doesn’t really have a defined set style under the management of Jim Curtin but it was noticeable how attack-minded they were on the opening weekend and I would imagine their tails are up after such a good performance. Philly had a 10-3-4 record at home last season and tend to play quite well in front of their own fans. The Crew isn’t particularly known for its away displays but were excellent at Toronto on day one. Whether they can repeat that sort of performance on a regular basis remains to be seen.

Philadelphia is -0.25 Asian Handicap favorite for this match, which is probably fair. If I had to stick my next out for someone to win, I would side with the Union. However, Columbus can’t be underestimated and this fixture tends to provide a definitive outcome for someone. There hasn’t been a draw in any of the last eight head-to-head meetings. The pick I like for the match is over 2.75 goals. The way both these two teams have been playing suggests we will get an open match here. In the opening round, each team was involved in a 2-0 outcome, but realistically, both of those games should’ve ended over, such was the sheer amount of chances on the show. What I like about this bet is that both attack forces are confident at the moment and look very threatening going forwards. From a defensive point of view, both haven’t been too bad thus far, but with the high likelihood of a frantic, end to end sort of game then I think at least three goals can be scored.

Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.75 goals at 1.800

Real Salt Lake v New York Red Bulls

The big shock last week in MLS was RSL losing 1-5 at home to LAFC! Nobody expected that result, but in all honesty, it was certainly a fair reflection of the game. Bob Bradley’s new boys deserve plenty of credit, but ultimately, RSL didn’t show up and produced a complete stinker of a performance in all areas of the field. I expect a reaction this weekend and it has been really unlike them under the management of Mike Petke to be as bad as they were. For Petke himself, this match will mean more than others. He was the ex-coach at NYRB and many thought he was harshly sacked a few years ago. Numerous Red Bull fans still hold him in high regard and I’m sure he ’ll be extra motivated to win against his old team.

The man who replaced him in New York, Jesse Marsch has been enjoying a very good start to the season. The Bulls are into the semi-finals of the NACL and recently beat Mexican side Tijuana over two legs. There is every chance that they could make the final of that competition, and perhaps finally they might have cracked how to win ties on aggregate after years of failing in MLS. One thing you can’t say about the Red Bulls is predictability. They are an exciting side, but you never know what sort of formation they’ll be in, or what the starting XI will be. Already, this early in the season they have used a huge number of players and rotated a lot. Sometimes this is a bad thing, but everyone is playing so well right now that it appears to be a positive. They effectively beat Portland 4-0 last week by fielding a second string XI, that is how much strength in depth they have.

The Red Bulls appear to have a clean bill of health for this game, although as previously mentioned, anyone could get rested or dropped to the bench based on their recent lineups. RSL have a few long terms absences, although crucially centre-back Marcelo Silva should be back fit after missing out last week. They really looked weak at the back without him vs LAFC. On the Asian Handicap lines, RSL is -0.25 favorite. But whether they can be trusted after last week’s debacle is extremely debatable. My preferred pick is backing over 2.75 goals. The way these two teams play is usually quite open and my only concern is that RSL focuses more on defense after their thumping last week. But the Red Bulls have so much pace in their team that they can cause problems whatever the situation. I’m not sure who is going to win but this feels like a match that will contain a few goals.

Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.75 goals at 2.050

By @Meatmansoccer

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