MLS – Chicago Fire v Philadelphia Union Preview (3/9/16)


Chicago Fire preview

After finally ending their horrible two year winless away streak, it was back to usual for Chicago Fire last week. They lost heavily 6-2 at DC United which put a massive dent in any remaining playoff aspirations they might have had. With only 9 games left they are 8 points adrift of sixth spot and they will do well to claw back such a deficit. The Fire are obviously the worst away team in the MLS. They also possess the worst home record out of anyone in the entire league, although their results in front of their own fans aren't as bad. Only two teams have managed to beat them here, both at the start of the season and Chicago head into this game unbeaten in 8 matches at Toyota Park. This is why they are a -0.25 asian handicap favourite, something which might surprise some people. The hosts are missing key man David Accam to international duty. The Ghanaian is their one true star and is extremely dangerous with his pace and skill going forwards. Defensive midfielder Khaly Thiam is suspended but they should be at relative full strength minus these two losses.

Philadelphia Union preview

The Union wobbled a bit in July but had a strong August, winning 3 of their last 4 games heading into this match. They are back up to fourth place in the Eastern Conference and playing some decent football again. Philly are one of the highest scorers in the entire MLS and it’s been clearly noticeable how much more positive they've been this season. To do this without a star name like Giovinco or Villa is really impressive. Philly don’t rely on one man as such, but as a collective team they have threats from everyone on the field. For the majority of the season their away form has been poor, but manager Jim Curtin might just have found the right formula at the right time. Philly have won both of their last two road games, including a convincing 4-0 hammering of New England. For this match, key goalkeeper Andre Blake is with Jamaica on international duty, as is midfielder Alejandro Bedoya (USA). Bedoya is new to the team but has been involved in all three of those aforementioned August victories.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Chicago are the joint lowest scoring team in MLS and have a reputation for being involved in boring matches. But they have silently been involved in some of the more entertaining affairs in recent weeks. All of their last 6 fixtures have ended with over 2.5 goals in them, and five of those games contained at least four goals. The Fire have to win a lot of matches to have a chance of making the playoffs and draws simply aren’t enough for them. There’s not a lot of pressure on their shoulders and this has probably resulted in the team playing more free, trying to express themselves/ Philly have been a massive over team all year. Their 2-0 win against SKC last week snapped a run of 8 consecutive over 2.5 games. The Fire losing David Accam doesn’t help this bet, but I just think over 2.75 is crying out to be backed @ around the 1.90-95 mark. The attitude of both sides should be really positive. Each will fancy their chances of victory and I think we could be in for a real fun, end to end type match. The overall outcome is really hard to predict, but I think at least three goals should be scored.

Prediction: 2-2
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.93 (minimum odds acceptable 1.75)