MLS – New York City FC v Real Salt Lake Preview (11/4/18)

Match Preview

New York City have had a good ten days off which should serve them well here. They sit top of the Eastern Conference having won 4 of their 5 games. There is an air of seriousness about Patrick Vieira’s men this year, they definitely mean business. What's more impressive is that NYC have managed to win games without key players like Alexander Ring and David Villa, who are both once again rated doubtful for this match. With a key game coming up on Sunday away in Atlanta, Vieira may edge on the side of caution. But both could do with some minutes on the field after having not played in 3-4 weeks. Even without those two, this is still a very strong NYC lineup.

RSL don’t play again until next weekend so they can fully focus on affairs here. However, most recently when they travelled away to Eastern Conference opposition they got battered 3-1 by Toronto FC. There isn’t much of a step down with NYC, so if Salt Lake play like they did that night, they could get hammered again. The visitors themselves have injury problems, especially in defence where regular starting duo Demar Phillips and Marcelo Silva are both rated doubtful. Their defence lacks consistency in many ways and I don’t feel it’s been operating that well this season. They had one clean sheet and shut out Vancouver until the 93rd min last week, but both of those games came at home. I do worry for them on the road in a fixture like this.

New York City are the better team by a significant margin. They are one of the top teams in MLS and I’d be surprised if RSL get a result here. Past H2H meetings have all gone in favour of Salt Lake, but I certainly see NYC getting the three points tonight. Even without David Villa they should have too much and the only real worry is if they are focusing too much on the upcoming Atlanta match. That is a big fixture but I think they could get themselves into a comfortable lead and then ease off a bit in the last quarter of the game. I’m happy to take NYC on a -1 Asian Handicap. RSL haven’t impressed me much this season or indeed shown they are capable of matching up to quality teams, especially those with pace. This could be an over match as well, but the line is a little on the skimpy side at 3.0

Prediction: 3-1

Recommended bet 1 unit: New York City FC -1 @1.80

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