MLS – Minnesota United v Atlanta United Preview (31/3/18)

Match Preview

Minnesota lost some ground last week by losing 3-0 away at New York Red Bulls, but their performance wasn’t as bad as the result suggested. It’s true that on another day they probably could’ve conceded 5 or 6 goals, but they deserved to net at least one themselves. A combination of poor finishing, the woodwork and some good goalkeeping denied them. But it’s clear to see that Minnesota are generally looking dangerous in the final third this season. Head coach Adrian Heath has always preferred to have a positive approach, and with expectations quite low this year they’ve surprised a few people with extra threat. Of course, the Loons still lack for plenty of quality and it is a shame that injuries have already started to pile up. The likes of Sam Cronin, Kevin Molino, Danladi and Tyrone Mears will probably miss this match against Atlanta United.

This was the fixture last season in which the new boys from Georgia really made their first serious mark on MLS, winning 6-1 in snowy conditions. Since then, Atlanta have been perhaps the most dangerous looking MLS team and their attack force is unstoppable when in full flow,. With the combination of Martinez, Almiron, Vilalba and Gressel they certainly don’t lack for firepower. The aforementioned Martinez was absolutely unplayable in this game last year and I don't know how Minnesota are going to stop him this time around either. Atlanta opened up the season with a shock 0-4 loss at Houston, but have since hit back with easy wins against DC United and Vancouver. This might be slightly tougher as it’s an away match, but realistically the visitors are by far the superior side.

It’s no surprise to see Atlanta -0.5 Asian Handicap favourites for this match. On paper, this could be argued as being the worst team vs the best team in MLS. The fact that Gerardo Martino’s men can currently be grabbed at an odds-against price could look massive come the end of the game. Minnesota have some pluckiness though and showed in all of their fixtures this season that they can’t be treated too lightly. The Loons even managed to beat Atlanta in Georgia last season (3-2) and will try and fight fire with fire. This is why I like over 3 goals in this match. Every single fixture for both teams has gone over 2.5 this year and I expect a very open style of match, full of chances. Minnesota miss too many opportunities for my liking but I expect them to contribute towards this line, whilst Atlanta have that bit of extra quality upfront to be clinical when needed. Truth be told, I see something like a 3-1 or 4-1 away win, but if Minnesota grabbed something I wouldn't be completely surprised Backing the goals seems the most sensible solution anyway.

Prediction: 1-3

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 3 goals @2.0

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