MLS Playoffs – Colorado Rapids v LA Galaxy Preview (6/11/16)

Colorado preview

The Rapids were the only team in MLS that remained unbeaten at home during the regular season. In total, their record was 11-6-0, scoring 20 goals and conceding just 7 times. The Rocky Mountain outfit kept a lot of clean sheets at Dick’s Sporting Good’s Park and the exact 1-0 scoreline was a common result. A repeat of that here would send the tie into extra time. I dare say Colorado were somewhat satisfied only losing the first leg 1-0. They’d ideally liked to have picked up an away goal but only suffering a tight defeat away at the Galaxy is never a bad result. The outcome of the first leg means that the Rapids don’t really need to change their usual gameplan. They know how to keep things tight, control the game and make themselves extremely difficult to penetrate. Perhaps actually scoring a goal might be their biggest issue should the Galaxy turn up in their best defensive mood. Colorado don’t exactly have a wealth of attacking options who are classed as particularly dangerous.

LA Galaxy preview

Bruce Arena’s men actually ended the season with the second best away record in the Western Conference which is an improvement on most of their recent seasons. Galaxy lost just five times on the road and avoiding defeat again would see them progress to the next phase. The visitors are more known for their offensive star players like Robbie, Keane, Giovanni Dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes. However, they do possess strong defensive ability when required. The back four includes top players like Cole, Van Damme & Rodgers, all of whom are excellent at MLS level. I could see Bruce Arena playing Colorado at their own game by sitting back, soaking up some pressure and preserving a clean sheet for as long as possible. As time progresses, Colorado will have to take risks and that's when I expect the likes of Dos Santos to pounce, perhaps with a late away goal.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Of all the playoff games this weekend, this looks like the trickiest to bet on. For the most part, I expect this to be a tight contest. But if LA Galaxy were to score an early away goal then all sorts of stuff could kick off. Colorado are quite short to win the game on a -0.5 Asian handicap at around the 2.10 mark. There is no guarantee they will prevail and if Galaxy were to strike then I think it’d be difficult for them to turn it around and they could self destruct. I think the visitors will come through the tie overall, quite in what fashion I’m not entirely sure. I just think come the absolute crunch they have the better players who know how to get it done. If the match went to penalties then Colorado would have an advantage with Tim Howard in between the sticks, but that’s about it. I would not recommend anyone to stake heavily on this affair, but under 2.25 is my choice. Unless the Galaxy score in the first half then I just don’t see this one opening up, but it’s a very tricky match to bet in.

Prediction: 0-1

Recommended bet 0.5 unit: Under 2.25 goals @ 1.92