MLS – Montreal Impact v Philadelphia Union Preview (23/7/16)


Montreal preview

It feels like the Impact have played some good football in the last couple of months without really picking up the sort of results they deserved. In total, the Canadian side have only lost 2 of their last 12 games, but in that same period have only managed to obtain a couple of victories. A large number of draws have hindered their progress. Usually with teams like this then there’s often a lack of ambition and an unwillingness to push for three points. I don’t think that’s particularly the case with Montreal though, it's just the way things have worked out. Last week they lost to NYC 1-3 at home and badly missed playmaker Ignacio Piatti who was suspended. He’ll be back here and along with Didier Drogba should make up a formidable duo going forwards. The NYC loss was only their second at home all season and since Mauro Biello took over halfway through last season it’s become a difficult place for opposition sides to visit. Key defender Laurent Ciman is rated doubtful due to injury, but could suit up.

Philadelphia preview

The Union remain second in the Eastern Conference and have enjoyed a surprisingly good season. Last week they were involved in a pulsating clash at home to the Red Bulls, coming from 0-2 down to draw 2-2. There’s some great spirit within the Union camp this year and their offense has been quite potent, one of the highest scoring teams in the east. Philly played in the midweek cup and lost against New England on penalties. They fielded a pretty strong XI in that contest so might pay the price here. They will probably need star goalkeeper Andre Blake to make a string of saves if they’re to get anything out of the match. Philly have generally been pretty positive all year and will try and counter attack at pace in this contest. Creative midfielder Ilsinho is suspended.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Montreal matches have been a hotbed for goals and both teams scoring in the last couple of months. The exact same can be said about Philly games and both teams have a knack of being involved in higher scoring affairs. The tempo of this game will probably be pretty fast, neither likes to operate slowly and fast counter attacks are the game of the game. The first pick I like for this game is over 2.75 goals. I think this is a fairly obvious selection when you consider who is playing. It should be a high scoring contest unless Philly are flat after midweek, in which case Montreal are more than capable of scoring three goals themselves. Bearing that in mind, I’m also going to back the Impact to win. Initially when I wrote this preview the -0.25 handicap was an acceptable price, but now those odds are too short. I’ll still take the Impact on the nose @ 1.91. They have a great fitness advantage over Philly who’ve actually played two energy draining matches since Montreal last took to the field. I’d say something like a 3-1 or 3-2 win is a likely outcome at Le Stade Saputo.

Prediction: 3-1
Recommended bet: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.98 (minimum price acceptable 1.80)
Montreal Impact -0.5 @ 1.91 (minimum price acceptable 1.80)

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