LA Galaxy have been basking in the glory of their amazing victory against local rivals LAFC. They looked dead and buried at 0-3 down, but somehow managed to come back and win 4-3. The introduction of Zlatan Ibrahimovic was of course a big factor in this, with him bagging two goals off the bench, one of which was an outrageous long distance attempt. I have to say I think Zlatan masked obvious deficiencies within the team though. For a large majority of the contest they were simply outplayed by LAFC and conceded a huge number of chances at the other end,. On another day they could've gotten absolutely battered and it was fortunate for them that things turned out alright in the end.
The visitors to the StubHub Centre this week are SKC and they meet for a Sunday evening showdown. Sporting have looked good this season, already having bagged 3 out of 4 wins. They took down DC United 1-0 in the previous round and to those people who followed them last season this wouldn’t have been a shock scoreline. SKC were known for grinding out wins and keeping clean sheets. However, this season they have mostly been full of goals and looked more vulnerable at the back. Truth be told they should've scored 3 or 4 last week but their finishing was very poor. I’m still not convinced with them defensively at the moment either and they are conceding too many big opportunities for my liking.
LA Galaxy are -0.25 Asian Handicap favourites here. This is probably about fair, although even then the hosts might be overrated a bit. The simple fact at the moment is that SKC are probably the better side and certainly look like the most all round unit. The bet I really like for this contest is over 2.5 goals. I’m surprised the odds are as big as 1.85 on this line and I’m convinced it’s because SKC still have this reputation of being so strong defensively. For me, the dynamics of the team have changed to become a more offensive unit and because of this they are becoming more exposed at the back. Neither team can properly defend unless they literally park the bus right now, but I don’t see that happening here. Entertainment should be the name of the game with opportunities at both ends. There is enough attacking firepower for this over bet to land and the value looks very generous.
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.75 goals @2.01
Both teams haven’t had the start to the season each desired, but at least Orlando head into the match on the back of a victory, 4-3 against NYRB. It felt like the game in which they really woke up and it might just kick start their campaign. Orlando have suffered with injuries for the most part of 2018, but now the squad is in a much healthier state with only key defender Jonathan Spector still injured along with Orioll Rossell who has yet to play a single minute. Portland have stemmed the flow of defeats by drawing two straight games, but they haven't convinced me this season. It’s been hard for them continually playing away from home and a lot of mistakes have crept into their game. I fancy Orlando to win today and backing them on a -0.25 handicap makes sense in my opinion. Over 3 goals is also worth a look at generous odds. Neither team can really defend but possess plenty of quality in attack, So this should be a natural over type of match really.
Recommended bet 1 unit: Orlando -0.25 @1.91
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 3 goals @2.12
The home team usually wins this particular H2H match-up but I wouldn’t be rushing to back RSL. The problem is that Vancouver are starting to become one of the best road sides in MLS. They have already won at Houston and Columbus this season which is pretty impressive. They tend to set themselves up well for road play operating fairly deep defensively, with an ability to hit teams on the counter attack with pace. RSL will have to be fairly deep themselves here and maybe try to win how they did against NYRB a few weeks ago. I don’t have any particular strong feelings about the game. Maybe a draw is the most probable result. Any value looks to be on the Whitecaps and the unders, but this isn't a contest I want to get involved in.
Recommended bet: None
The away team hasn’t won for a while when these two teams meet, but that might change today. Things just don't look right with the Fire at the moment. They managed to pick up a point last week against Portland, but it was another poor performance, especially defensively. I fancy the Crew might win this match, especially if they keep playing as they have done on the road this season. Greg Berhalter’s men have kept consecutive road clean sheets which is surprising in some ways. But I think they have clearly tightened up and shifted more of an emphasis to defence away from home. Conditions are set to be on the cold side in Chicago today and I just wonder if we might see a tighter fixture than some might expect. Nothing interests me from a betting perspective, but any value probably lies with the Crew and the unders.
Recommended bet: None
I’m going to go against the value here and take Dallas -1 on an Asian line. At a price of 1.82 I don’t think it’s anything special, but they should be able to win this match fairly comfortably. Dallas have been relatively unconvincing for a while, but head into this match on the back of a two week break which should suit them. The last time that happened they cruised past Seattle 3-0 and I see a similar sort of result today. Colorado don’t look that bad a unit under new manager Anthony Hudson, but it’s clear they are a limited team. Colorado won’t create many chances here. The Rapids have been fairly clinical in attack this season but it’s noticeable how few opportunities they actually create. Dallas will dominate possession and play patiently against as team that will be hard to break down. FCD have been used to this for years though and usually find a way to break through. I don’t think this will be a classic, but the Texan outfit to win to nil is my call.
Recommended bet 1 unit: Dallas -1 @1.82
This is a tricky one. Philly looked really good on the opening day when they beat New England 2-0, but I’m concerned that might prove to be a one off. They did face ten men for the majority of that contest as well. Since that game they have drawn a blank vs Columbus and Colorado and they are lacking goals for sure. I actually think San Jose are the better team at the moment but have been surprisingly poor defensively under the management of new coach Mikael Stahre. He had a lot of 0-0s during his time at Hacken in Sweden, and sooner or later I have to believe he will tighten up the ship. Maybe it will come here and I don’t think it will be a very open contest. However, nothing would ultimately surprise me and I’m very uncertain about this game. Statistically I think the value is with San Jose +0.5 and under 3 goals, but I don’t have the confidence to back either of those bets.
Recommended bet: None
LAFC head into this match licking their wounds after an incredible defeat last week. They were 3-0 up and cruising against city rivals LA Galaxy, yet somehow managed to succumb to a 4-3 loss. All the talk was of course about Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goals, but even prior to his arrival on the field there had been some signs that LAFCA were choking. It still can’t be forgotten how good Bob Bradley’s men were for a good 50 mins of the contest though. They totally dominated their illustrious opponents, creating chance after chance. The likes of Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi and Latif Blessing have looked so dangerous in attack this season.
It will be a challenge for Atlanta to contain them, especially with key defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez suspended and Jeff Larentowicz likely injured. United pulled off a rare strong defensive effort last week, holding on 1-0 to beat Minnesota from just the 3rd minute. They sat extremely deep and soaked up a lot of pressure. I was surprised they were able to hang on for a clean sheet, but it goes against the grain and this team usually prefer to be more offensive. I think it was a combination of going down to ten men, brutally cold weather conditions and a surprisingly good Minnesota performance which forced them on the back foot in that fixture. Here at their Mercedes Benz Arena home, I expect them to go searching for goals much more.
Atlanta United are -0.75 Asian Handicap favourites here which is fair enough. They will probably get the job done and could expose LAFC’s frailties at the back again. However, I think they need to be extremely careful and respect the danger that LAFC possess in attack. Apart from last week, Atlanta themselves have looked very vulnerable at the back this season and haven’t convinced me. The bet I like for this game is over 3.25 goals. This might feel like quite a big line at this stage of the season, but everything pre match points towards a high scoring content. Both teams possess so many quality attacking players that surely this will be an over. Neither outfit likes to defend that much and there will be opportunities on the break to convert at either end.
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 3.25 goals @1.88
Seattle are currently pointless having lost both of their opening two fixtures and I just sense this is the sort of match they really need to win. Here at CenturyLink Field they are usually quite strong and formidable, so I’d imagine that eventually they will get the business done. However, it might not be easy against a Montreal side that beat Toronto 1-0 last time out. They were much better defensively in that fixture and should use that as a blueprint when facing future opponents who are stronger, such as Seattle today. In all truth, the Impact haven't looked too bad at the back in normal play, where they haven't conceded that many big chances. The key to this match could be the fitness of Nicolas Lodeiro. He is one of the best players in the league and Seattle really need him here with Clint Dempsey suspended and striker Will Bruin doubtful. I don’t think they will find it at all easy, but Seattle to just scrape over the line something like 1-0 is my prediction. Any value looks to be on the under, but that is a really risky bet in any MLS fixture these days, so I’ll leave it alone.
Recommended bet: None
For me, this won’t be that much of a spectacle. Colorado are clearly a work in progress under new manager Anthony Hudson. They are operating in a very direct system at the moment which caught SKC out cold last week when they scored twice inside the first 10 minutes. I don’t expect Philly to fall for that trap though. They are likely to sit very deep and focus on defence. To me, this reeks of a low scoring encounter, devoid of many chances and quality. Maybe both teams will fancy beating each other but unless that occurs then we should anticipate a cagey affair. Perhaps there is some value on Colorado -0.25 and under 2.5. But I will happily leave this one alone.
Recommended bet: None
It might be early in the season, but it looks like it’s going to be a long campaign for DC United. In simple terms, they just look really ‘weak’ and feel destined to finish in the bottom three of the Eastern Conference. They might even claim the wooden spoon yet again. United feel like a stale side under Ben Olsen and even with some new additions like Yamil Asad and Darren Mattocks, the attack force is lacking too much. DCU haven't been helped by a fixture schedule which seems them only play roughly two of their first dozen matches at home. They are waiting for a new stadium to be completed, so things might improve in the second half of the campaign. But right now they have a tough set of games and a trip to SKC is less than ideal.
For the home team, they appear to be a transformed side this year. Gone is the rock solid defence and ability to keep clean sheets which served them so well last season. But on the flip side they are actually creating a huge amount of chances and crucially converting more of them as well. The signings of Felipe Gutierrez and Johnny Russell appear to be fantastic pickups and have made this SKC unit far more dangerous. But in general, the mentality of everyone is much more positive and they are willing to attack more. This might be against the natural instinct of head coach Peter Vermes, but right now it’s working. Last weekend they came from 2-0 down early doors to eventually grab a 2-2 draw at Colorado. That is the sort of comeback which SKC could never have achieved in recent years, but they have the weapons and firepower to dominate games much more now.
I just see this match as being one way traffic from start to finish. I expect SKC to dominate the game in all aspects. They will control possession, create more chances, be far more dangerous and this will probably show in the final scoreline. There is still a slight worry that SKC lack a proper quality #9 striker, but with so many other players now chipping in with goals then this is less of a problem. United will carry the odd threat on the break with the pace of Asad and Mattocks and they may even bag a goal. But I now have much more confidence that SKC can outscore teams if needed. Based on recent matches then Sporting are capable of netting 3 or 4 times here which should be enough to cover a -1 Asian Handicap, or at worst generate a push. It will take a strange turnaround of form or a lot of luck for DC United to suddenly obtain anything, so I’m firmly in the court of backing SKC on this handicap.
Recommended bet 1 unit: Sporting Kansas City -1 @1.82