LA Galaxy preview
The Galaxy managed to claim a 1-1 draw away at Seattle last week, perhaps in fortuitous circumstances. It’s fair to say they were second best for a lot of that contest and if the Sounders had taken their chances, could’ve been out of sight. LA are now seven games unbeaten, which includes four victories and they’re starting to get their season back on track following a difficult mid season slump. As per usual, Bruce Arena’s side have been very strong at home, yet to suffer defeat and winning 6/10 matches. The squad is in pretty good condition, although winger Gyasi Zardes is rated doubtful with injury. This wouldn't be the biggest loss in the world though because Zardes hasn’t enjoyed the greatest of campaigns so far. Galaxy have a string of other quality players like Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane, all of whom can win a match on their own.
New York Red Bulls preview
The Red Bulls are unbeaten in five games heading into this contest and managed to rescue a late draw at Chicago in their previous fixture thanks to a Bradley Wright Phillips goal. However, the worst news for New York was confirmed after the match when it was revealed key midfielder Dax McCarty is out for at least 6 weeks due to a fracture in his leg. Dax is one of the most underrated players in the whole league and is totally what makes the Red Bulls tick and purr in the middle of the park. His importance can’t be understated and this is a man capable of dominating any midfield. I’m sure his absence will be badly felt. The Red Bulls also have their usual string of defenders ruled out. It seems they can’t keep a settled backline for any prolonged period this season. New York are a good home team but pretty poor away. They've only won 1 out of 12 contests on the road this season, losing a whopping seven times! This will be a struggle for them on the West coast at a late hour.
Conclusion & betting analysis
LA Galaxy look a decent price here around the 1.95 mark. They are one of the strongest home teams in the league and are facing one of the poorest road outfits. I think the only reason LA are such juicy odds is because of the visitors’ reputation. It’s a shame these two teams only meet once a year these days because it's a heavyweight contest. But I truly believe Galaxy to be in a different class, especially here at the StubHub centre. New York are really going to miss McCarty and I could see the hosts physically imposing themselves on the game. Bruce Arena’s men haven’t been the most free scoring of late but this could be a game when they run riot a bit. The Red Bulls have a tendency to leave gaps at the back and could really struggle with circadian rhythms too. By the time this match finishes it’ll feel like well past midnight NYC time, so fatigue and mental tiredness could kick in. I like backing the Galaxy on the nose and also taking over 2.75 goals. This has the feel of a really open game but I’d say LA will ultimately come out on top fairly easily.
Recommended bet 1 unit: LA Galaxy -0.5 @ 1.96 (minimum odds acceptable 1.80)
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.99 (minimum odds acceptable 1.85)