MLS Playoffs – DC United v Montreal Impact Preview (27/10/16)

DC United preview

The capital club have lost just two games since the end of July and head into the playoffs having won 4 of their last 5 fixtures. The defeat at Orlando on Sunday almost doesn’t count either because they rested and rotated a lot of players. Coach Ben Olsen has a few selection dilemmas because the squad is in a very healthy condition. Does he keep faith with the side which has been winning games recently, or bring back some of his supposed better players who have been out? One thing is for sure, red hot striker Patrick Mullins will be starting upfront and he’s been in lethal form since arriving from NYCFC in the summer. I haven't seen a United team look so threatening going forwards for a long time,. This isn’t your typical traditional DCU lineup that relies on defence, they are now capable of outscoring anyone. Confidence is high and I fully expect the hosts to be on the front foot right from the off in positive fashion.

Montreal Impact preview

All the talk ahead of this fixture regarding Montreal is that star striker Didier Drogba won’t play. He recently refused to be part of the bench when he was dropped from the starting XI and seems to have gotten the hump with the team. Officially, he’s ruled out with a back problem but it’s obvious that other factors are at work. Montreal should otherwise be close to full strength. The Impact got easily beaten 3-0 by New England at the weekend, but fielded a second string side so all of their most important players should be fresh and ready for action here. Montreal haven’t been in brilliant knick ahead of the game, but haven’t been that bad either. They certainly don’t enter the playoffs with as much momentum as they had this time last year anyway. The big question is how much of a distraction this Didier Drogba situation is going to be. There’s every chance it might actually make everyone want to prove a point and bring them together as a team, but for sure there’s plenty of uncertainty.

Conclusion & betting analysis

DC United are a popular selection to win this match and have been backed down as low as 1.90 on a -0.5 Asian handicap. I do agree they are the most likely team to win the game but these odds feel a little bit short because I don’t think there's a massive difference between the two teams. Montreal might be missing Didier Drogba but I'm sure the coach has challenged his attack force that they can cope without him.  The Impact have enough attacking quality and pace to make them competitive here. Incredibly, the last nine DC United games have all ended over 2.5 goals. Most of those fixtures have contained an abundance of chances and United seem to really suck sides into shootouts at the moment. Montreal will more than happily fight fire with fire and I think backing over 2.75 goals makes some sense here. Unless for some reason the playoff environment moves each side into its shell, then this over should cover. I think it will be a close and balanced contest, perhaps even going the distance into extra time after a high scoring draw.

Prediction: 2-2

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.75 goals @ 2.03

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