Portland Timbers v LA Galaxy
Heavyweight clash here between two good teams who are just starting to find form. The Timbers are unbeaten in nine matches whilst the Galaxy have won their last three and are starting to look much more effective again. Portland games are usually good for overs & both teams scoring. But the Galaxy defence can be really strong when Bruce Arena makes them hard to break down. I don’t think either side will be operating freely and will probably fear losing. This match kicks off at 12:30 local, really early for an MLS fixture. Maybe some players won't have properly woken up yet. It could be hot this time of day too, leading to a lower tempo game. Something like a low scoring draw or maybe a tight home win is my prediction.
New England v Chicago Fire
Both teams are through to the US Open Cup semi finals after victories in midweek. New England needed penalties to see off Philly so there could be an element of fatigue here. That said, most would imagine they have too much for the Fire. Chicago haven’t won away from home in over 2 years, a run stretching well over 30 MLS games. The Fire have looked better of late though and have only lost two matches by more than one goal all season. They have a knack of staying in matches due to a solid defence. New England have generally looked tighter in the last couple of weeks so I’d say the most likely outcome is a 1-0 or 2-0 home win. But the price on New England isn’t big enough for me to commit anything, especially as they just played ET and penalties a few nights ago.
Toronto FC v DC United
I don’t really rate either team right now. DC United away from home have been really dire this season, only scoring six goals. But they have a habit of avoiding defeat and have managed to scrape a number of draws. With someone like Bill Hamid in between the sticks, they have a keeper who ensures they stick around long enough to earn something. But DC United aren’t a side I have a great opinion of and if Toronto take their chances, the Canadians should win today. The problem is their chances haven’t been taken of late. Key striker Sebastian Giovinco is in a slump, although the return to fitness of Jozy Altidore should help him out. I have a feeling Toronto get three points today, but @ 1.90 I’m not willing to commit any money on them.
Colorado Rapids v FC Dallas
This is a top of the table Western Conference clash and maybe this could be a prelude to the end of season playoffs in which both sides could meet each other. Colorado have had a brilliant year and nobody expected them to be this good. They rely on a strong defence to get them results, keeping a lot of clean sheets. Dallas have sometimes been flat in away games, not entirely focusing on the game in hand. But they are sure to be 110% up for this one and will be dangerous if they operate at their best level. Truth be told I think this will be a cagey encounter and neither side will want to lose. Dallas are best known for their fast offense but they can also be extremely tight at the back. I think this is a 0-0 contender and if anyone is to win then 1-0 is a strong possibility either way.
Houston Dynamo v Vancouver Whitecaps
Houston have been much more solid under their interim manager since Owen Coyle departed. But they’ve only won 1 of their last 8 games and the lack of goals is starting to hinder them. In midweek they lost in the US Open Cup at home to Texan rivals Dallas, again succumbing to a 0-1 scoreline just like they did at LA Galaxy last week. Vancouver meanwhile, can be highly inconsistent and on the road it seems either they win or lose. I think this will be a slow paced contest with relatively few chances. Even with an 8:30pm local time start, the temperatures are expected to be extremely hot. This is the sort of game which has drinks breaks every 15 mins and it has the hallmarks of a potential 0-0, or a 1-0 win for someone with a goal out of nothing. I’m going to predict Vancouver sneak three points.