MLS – New England Revolution v Colorado Rapids Preview (3/9/16)

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New England preview

The Revs have lost 5 of their last 6 games and as a result have dropped six points outside of the Eastern Conference playoffs. At this point in time it looks like they won't make the postseason and this run has come at a terrible time. New England have paid the price for a good cup run and at least they have the final of the US Open Cup against Dallas to look forward to in 10 days time. I have a feeling that match has been on their minds for a while and it’s probably affected their MLS form. Jay Heap’s men head into this game having not scored a goal for 361 minutes. In fact, they've only netted 3 times in their last 8 games and this pretty much highlights their main problem. I would say this is almost a must win if they are to regain any play off hopes. If they aren’t careful they’ll fall too far behind else. Key striker Kei Kamara is on international duty and so is right back JV Watson. The rest of the squad, apart from long term injuries should be available.

Colorado preview

The Rapids have had an excellent season overall although there might be some signs they are starting to hit the rails a little bit. Just 2 wins in their last 10 has hampered progress although they remain difficult to beat. A loss last week at RSL was a rarity and for once they were largely outplayed, the tight scoreline only masked by RSL missing two penalties. Colorado are a close knit side but will have to do without a couple of regular starters here. Goalkeeper Tim Howard and playmaker Shkelzen Gashi are both on international duty. Zach McMath is an able replacement for Howard and did an excellent job in the first half of the season, but the loss of Gashi will be felt in the creative department. The wide duo Sebastian Le Toux & Marlon Hairston are both rated doubtful with injury. Key midfielder Jermaine Jones is likely to miss out too.

Conclusion & betting analysis

I really don't see this being much of a classic. New England have desperately struggled to score goals recently and I don’t think that will change today. They are missing their best striker Kei Kamara and facing one of the meanest defences in MLS. Colorado are known for keeping clean sheets and shouldn’t be tested much by the low scoring Revs. However, the visitors themselves can sometimes struggle to hit the back of the net. With Gashi, plus a few other attacking players likely to miss out, I’m not sure where a goal will come from. Set pieces will be absolutely crucial and possibly the only source of of inspiration. I’m surprised Colorado can be backed a +0.5 handicap @ around 1.88. This is an extremely tempting price, but their two recent away losses put me off, including the 5-1 hammering at NYC. If they fall behind, I worry about how they could get back into the game. I think a 0-0 draw is a huge runner and it’s no surprise to see the goal line set at 2.25. I’m not going to touch the match because one scrappy New England goal could totally fuck things up. But I certainly wouldn't want to put anyone off backing the unders or Colorado +0.5.

Prediction: 0-0
Recommended bet: None

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