Minnesota United v LA Galaxy
This is a straight shoot out one leg match at Allianz Field. If scores are level after 90 mins we will get an extra time period followed by penalties. Away goals don’t count. So for one of these teams their season will end right here right now. The Galaxy lost their last two regular season fixtures which might ultimately prove costly. They would be hosting a playoff match at this stage had they managed to pick up just 3 more points. I’ve been really concerned about the Galaxy defence in recent weeks. It’s been way back since August that they last kept a clean sheet and on at least 4 occasions in their last 8 games, Zlaan Ibrahimovic’s boys have conceded three or more goals. Of course, the Galaxy have plenty of threat at the other end which some would argue counteracts their weaknesses well. Perhaps this will be a challenge facing the best home defence in MLS though. The ‘Loons’ have been much improved at the back in 2019 with someone like Ike Opara making a massive impact on the team.
Despite the excellent defensive statistics that Minnesota possess I still fancy the overs for this game. I can’t get away from how poor the Galaxy are at the back and if they fall behind here could easily over commit leaving space for Minnesota to exploit all over the place. There is a frantic nature and feel to Galaxy fixtures, even the Vancouver Whitecaps managed to have a field day against them recently. With LA, it tends to be all or nothing. They’ve lost a massive 15 games in 2019, more so than any other playoff team. Yet their away record of 5-2-10 doesn’t scrub up too bad. When the Galaxy are in the mood they can put up very impressive performances. I just wonder if the extra experience in their ranks and quality such as Ibrahimovic might be enough to get them over the line here. Minnesota are -0.5 Asian Handicap favourites but something smells dodgy to me and I have a gut feeling the Galaxy might pull off a surprise. A higher scoring content is my prediction anyway and I’m happy just to back over 3 goals, which looks a generous line considering the recent form of the visitors.
Asian Total Goals Recommendation: Over 3.00 goals at 1.820
Seattle Sounders v FC Dallas
All season long it looked like Seattle Sounders would finish second in the West but after stuttering around they were only able to confirm that position on the last round of the season. A priceless 1-0 victory over Minnesota might be worth it’s weight in gold. The Sounders may well end up with two home playoff games now, or even a third if somebody can dispose of LAFC in the next round. Seattle are always strong at CenturyLink field and this is one of the hardest places to visit in MLS. They possessed a regular season home record of 11-4-2 and you just always feel with the crowd power they have here that it’s a formidable stadium. FC Dallas actually managed to come away with a 0-0 draw at this venue just last month. They can take some confidence out of that fact but a one legged playoff match is a different proposition entirely.
The rules for this match are clear. It’s a 90 minute shootout and if the scores are level at the end, an extra time period is played, followed by penalties if needed. Away goals don’t count in this fixture. FC Dallas travel here as the 7th seeded team in the Western Conference. They made sure of their post season berth by hammering Sporting Kansas City 6-0 in the last round but I think rather masks some deficiencies. In recent weeks they’ve lost 3-0 away to Colorado and 4-0 in Chicago. For me, that sets off plenty of alarm bells. Their away record in 2019 is poor with 3-3-11 stats. I really don’t trust them on the road and to be brutally honest I don’t trust them full stop. Seattle might be without key man Nicolas Lodeiro, who is rated questionable. But they have the extra experience and know-how in these playoff situations. I am quite willing to back them on the nose to win this match inside 90 mins. The -0.5 Asian Handicap looks like an appealing prospect.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Seattle Sounders -0.50 at 1.830
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