MLS – Vancouver Whitecaps v New York Red Bulls Preview (3/9/16)

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Vancouver preview

The Whitecaps are bang out of form. They are winless in seven MLS games, in fact they've only tasted victory twice since mid May! As a result, they have slipped to second bottom of the Western Conference, although are far from out of playoff reach. A strong finish to the campaign could see them make the top six, although the way they are playing right now it looks a bit of a pipe dream! Carl Robinson's men simply haven't been good enough. On paper this is a team which lacks star quality and ultimately the results don’t show anything different. The offense was capable of scoring goals earlier in the season but netting just once in seven games highlights their major issue. I have never felt confident in their ability to hit the back of the net all season, too many chances are regularly missed. Robinson has rotated around his strikers, but nobody has stood up and delivered the goods. For this match, The Caps are very stretched due to six players being called up for international duty. At least 3 or 4 would’ve started here. But maybe it won't be a bad thing because some other players now get a chance. They can’t do any worse, right?

New York Red Bulls preview

Jesse Marsch’s men are unbeaten in nine games, a run which has taken them up to third in the Eastern Conference. The Red Bulls have played some good football during this time, and arguably should've picked up more points during this run. Remarkably, the last four Red Bull away games have all ended 2-2! What’s even more shocking is that NYRB led 2-0 in three of those contests, each with only about 20 mins left. It's fair to say they've blown some good positions, but the overall standard of their road displays has been much improved compared to earlier in the season. Nevertheless, the fact still remains they’ve only won 1 out of 14 on their travels in 2016. This is a good chance to add to that tally, although they'll have to do it without key playmaker Sacha Kljestan. He, along with left back Kemar Lawrence are both on international duty. On a more positive note, key midfielder Dax McCarty looks set for a return and his presence in the middle of the park shouldn't be underestimated.

Conclusion & betting analysis

There’s an old saying, ‘beware of the wounded animal’. Vancouver look to be in a right old mess, winless in seven games and seriously struggling to score goals. Many people have already written them off this season and because they miss half a dozen players to international duty then many will expect them to lose this contest. The Red Bulls are unbeaten in nine games and playing much the better of the two, surely this is an obvious outcome? Well, nothing is ever that simple in football. Logically, the Red Bulls should probably win, or at least avoid defeat. But I’ve seen situations before where a team is missing a lot of regular players, and somehow the backup guys perform really well. The Whitecaps know they have to deliver something here, so maybe they could surprise. A trip this far west is never ideal for New York, and they have a terrible history in this fixture. Vancouver have never lost to the Red Bulls in their entire MLS history, and have even won the last three meetings. I don’t personally see an edge in any market. I agree logically the Red Bulls should win, but I personally see something like a low scoring draw. I have a strange feeling something weird might happen so I’ll leave it alone.

Prediction: 1-1
Recommended bet: None

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