New York City FC v New England Revolution
Both of these teams have been in great form the last few weeks. New York City FC have won 6 of their last 8 matches and are now just one point off the top of the Eastern Conference. They have games in hand on everyone around them and right now have to be the favourite to win the East. Only Philly or Atlanta could prevent that anyway. The big prize is a first round bye in the post season playoffs. With the new playoff system being just one legged games, this could be crucial and something that NYC will be aiming strongly for. The staggering thing about Dom Torrent’s men is how few games they’ve lost this season (5). Only LAFC with four defeats are anywhere near them in this category. At Yankee Stadium just one solitary loss vs Portland Timbers is a blemish on the card. Key players for NYC have been Heber, Castellanos, Moralez & Mitrita. This is generally a well balanced team though, even if some think the lack of a true high class #9 striker will ultimately cost them.
New England Revolution have been transformed under the management of Bruce Arena. They’ve gone from no hopers with Brad Friedel at the helm to what is now a potential playoff team. In fact, it’s more than likely that the Revs will be entering the postseason. With a strong finish to the campaign it’s possible even 4th spot with be within their grasps. The Revolution are hard to beat, losing just 1 of their last 16 games in MLS. That is a really strong run in a league like this with only runaway Supporters Shield winners LAFC beating them during this period. New England haven’t lost on the road since 5th May although this trip to New York will severely test them. This is a team that on paper isn’t anything remarkable. But Arena has ‘coached up’ a number of players to a high level. Playmaker Carles Gil is the standout man and new midfield signing Gustavo Bou has been impressive. The hire of Arena is a good example that the most important appointment a club can make is the manager spot.
It’s still staggering how MLS continues on regardless during international breaks. This is where New England are very lucky in that they have nobody called up for their respective countries. NYCFC aren’t so fortunate though. They are going to be missing defenders Cannot, Callens, Mattarita & first choice keeper Sean Johnson. It’s a blow that top scorer upfront Heber is also ruled out because of injury. Considering these absentees then perhaps it’s a surprise to see the home side odds-on favourites. I really don’t think I could be trusting NYC on a -0.5 Asian Handicap. It’s not as if they are facing easy opponents and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Revolution won here. In terms of betting, the pick that stands out to me is over 3.25 goals. Both teams are usually very proactive and involved in high scoring matches. With NYC missing a bunch of defenders this could accelerate goal production even more. I’m fairly sure at least four goals can be scored here and at worst three for a half loss scenario.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.25 at 1.990
FC Cincinnati v Toronto FC
There is a limited amount of fixtures this week so I am going back to the good old reliable Cincinnati over bet in this MLS preview column. For regular readers you will know backing their overs is a big money winner in recent months. A massive 14 of their last 17 fixtures have end over 2.5 with many of those contests also going over the 3.5 mark. There’s not too much I’m going to add. FCC have now lost 18 of their last 22 matches and know they’ll be picking up the wooden spoon this season. It’s all about pride now for Ron Jans’ men and they have absolutely nothing to lose. Cincinnati will ‘have a go’ trying to score goals but can’t defend properly and leave themselves far too open. Defensive duo Alvas Powell & Kendall Waston are both on international duty along with mifielders Allan Cruz and Derrick Etienne Jr.
This is a far more important match for Toronto FC. They are hanging on to a playoff spot down in 7th and desperately need 3 points out of this match. Anything less would be classed as major failure and put a big dent in their postseason aspirations. TFC haven’t been in bad form of late only losing 2 of their last 9. However, they haven’t been particularly fluent either and a number of draws have kind of stagnated their campaign. One good piece of news for them is that key striker Jozy Altidore hasn’t been included in the US squad for this international break. They will be missing the duo of Jonathan Osorio and Richie Laryea to the Canadian National team though. The previous meeting between the two sides ended in a 2-1 victory for TFC but it was a nervous win and not particularly convincing.
It’s no real surprise to see Toronto FC odds-on favourites here. But can you trust them on the road? Cincinnati’s form is so bad in terms of results and defeats that the most likely outcome is an away win. However, the hosts have shown in patches they can compete well and I could see TFC given a few scares. If FCC avoided defeat I wouldn’t be totally shocked. The best bet as ever in a Cincinnati match appears to be over 3 goals. I have mentioned the statistics and styles of play and I don’t expect anything to change here. At some stage they will have another under 2.5 match but it would likely entail a bunch of missed chances and unusual circumstances. Hopefully that won’t be the case here and the goal train continues.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.00 at 1.850
Colorado Rapids v Seattle Sounders
The Rapids aren’t going to be making the playoffs this season and the highest finish for them would appear to be 9th or 10th in the West. However, they have been ending the campaign quite well, even stunning the New York Red Bulls away from home last week (2-0). Colorado have played four consecutive road games so will be pleased to be back on their own field here. Their last two matches at this stadium ended in a 6-3 win vs Montreal and 2-1 success vs San Jose. The pressure is off and they can just go and enjoy their football. Leading scorer Kei Kamara is on duty with Sierra Leone but for the most part their squad is in good condition and they aren’t affected by many international call ups.
Seattle Sounders have some massive squad issues heading into this contest. They are missing a whopping TEN (10) players to international duty and will be totally down to the bare bones. Add in Romain Torres’ continued suspension, the long term injury of Will Bruin and other fitness doubts to Victor Rodriguez + Alex Roldan and it’s clear Brian Schmetzer’s men have issues. They will do well to field more than three proper substitutes here and it might be one of those matches they have to simply ‘write off’ and forget. Seattle still have guys like Nicolas Lodeiro and Harry Shipp who might give them something here but with the core of their squad all missing it will be difficult at this venue. Nobody likes to travel to Colorado at the best of times, especially in this sort of situation. I expect the Sounders to be very defnsive and maybe lineup with five at the back looking to earn a 0-0 draw. This could be a low scoring contest but surely Colorado have enough to win. They look a big price to me on a -0.25 Asian Handicap when you consider the Seattle absences.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Colorado Rapids -0.25 at 1.980
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