MAJOR League Soccer boff Will Dyer (@W2Dyer) is back with four standout Stateside bets for the weekend.
Columbus Crew v Chicago Fire | Saturday 01.00
Crew have won four of five home games this season with the only blot coming against New York Red Bulls. They are rightly favourites for this in my books but the price still offers some value.
Chicago Fire’s result at Yankee Stadium last weekend was hugely disappointing. They had NYCFC on the ropes early doors, Shaun Maloney had a goal ruled out for offside but they took the lead through Razvan Cocis and quickly doubled it from the penalty spot.
Fire were causing absolute havoc and could well have been 3-0 or 4-0 up after half an hour but seemed to allow NYCFC back into the game after that. At 2-0 up with a man advantage you should never be squandering the three points even away from home.
NYCFC nicked a goal on the break through Mehdi Ballouchy and equalised at the death through Kyrie Shelton. The fact that Chicago failed to even score again in that game means they should be opposed tonight, in my opinion.
Crew have scored 13 goals in just five games at Mapfre Stadium this year and their recent home record speaks for itself: they won six of their last last MLS home games at the end of last season. Kei Kamara is in fantastic scoring form, leading the MLS goal charts with seven in 10.
I have seen improvements in Chicago this season and that’s unsurprising with quality players like Maloney arriving but last weekend was reminiscent of last season in which they failed to win a single away game. That record looks set to continue into this season with three defeats and a draw in their opening four away games this term. Columbus is not the kind of place to look to end that unwanted record.
Montreal Impact v FC Dallas | Sunday 01.00
Dallas are top of the Western Conference so that’s added some meat to Montreal’s price here. Credit where credit’s due to the Texans but I still have my reservations about them after watching their dismal outing when they were beaten 4-0 at home by Colorado Rapids.
Dallas are far from resolute at the back. They’ve conceded 13 goals in 11 games which is more than 10 other sides in Major League Soccer. At the other end of the pitch they are far more convincing with Blas Perez in good form again. In past seasons the problem has been a lack of distribution of goals amongst the squad but that hasn’t been the case so far this year.
That being said, I think Impact can offset Dallas’ attacking strengths. The nature of Montreal’s win last week was very impressive. I tipped them to win 1-0 or 2-0 as they have been quite a controlled and tactical side in the past but they really blew the cobwebs away with a 4-1 win over the usually solid Real Salt Lake.
Don’t let Dallas’ last away win fool you. They might have won 4-1 and deserve praise for their clinical finishing but they aren’t going to take their chances like that all time. Houston had 65% possession and more attempts on goal. It was quite a ‘smash and grab’ and I don’t think they’ll be able to repeat that against Impact. Their only other away win came against strugglers Philadelphia Union who were level until being reduced to 10 men.
I mentioned last week that Montreal had an incredible run in the CONCACAF Champions League and now that’s over it looks like it could be a real inspiration for them to land a Play-Off spot this year. They can overturn Dallas at the Stade Saputo on Saturday night. I’ll take some security on the Asian lines with -0.25 meaning we’ll only lose half our stake should the match end all square.
Colorado Rapids v Vancouver Whitecaps | Sunday 02.00
This has all the hallmarks of a dull game to me. Rapids under Pablo Mastraeoni have been an ‘avoid defeat first’ kind of team and that’s led to seven draws in their opening 10 games. As a result I couldn’t put anyone off backing the draw here but I can see quite easily see someone taking the lead and holding on for the 1-0 so I’m not tipping it.
I had Rapids down as ninth in my Pre-season Preview which looks about right but Vancouver have been the surprise package in all of MLS this year, I thought they’d finish around eight. Last week I mentioned that I think they’ll slip down the leaderboard and that’s already begun after a defeat to Seattle in the Pacific North-West derby.
I couldn’t write them off here but I think the best bet lies in the goal markets. Eight of Colorado’s 10 games so far have seen Under 2.5 goals and all five of the Whitecap’s away games have also gone under. They met three times last season and the last two both had less than three goals in the game.
Vancouver had to play Edmonton on Wednesday night in the Canadian Championship Semi-Finals and that surely won’t do their match fitness any good for Saturday night. Expect this to be quite a slow game and hopefully low on opportunities.
New York Red Bulls v Philadelphia Union | Sunday 22.00 | Sky Sports 5
Union have been a regular feature on my MLS column and I’ve opposed them every time quite successfully. They actually registered a win in mid-week to end a run of four straight defeats but I’m not about to start backing them after 1 home win.
Union have lost six of their seven visits to the Red Bull Arena since they joined MLS in 2010, drawing the other. A visit to the New Jersey based club remains as tough as ever. Red Bulls are unbeaten in five home games this season and this is probably the easiest home game they’ve had so far.
NYRB were reduced to 10 men after just 36 minutes in the New York derby yet they still managed to extend their lead to 2-0. The final result was 2-1 and I’m sure they would have won by a greater margin had it not been for Matt Miazga’s marching orders.
Philadelphia have conceded three or more goals in four of their six away games this term. I expect them to be beaten by a margin of at least two goals in Sunday night’s Sky Sports feature game and with that in mind the Correct Score group of 2-0/3-0/3-1 makes a lot of appeal.
Looking at the form you might have your doubts about whether NYRB can win this by two goals but three of their five home games have been against the stronger Western Conference sides; one was the New York derby already mentioned and the other way against top of the East, DC United. I’m confident they’ll make light work of Philadelphia’s porous back line.
Columbus Crew v Chicago Fire – Columbus Crew to win (4/5 888Sport)
Montreal Impact v FC Dallas – Montreal Impact -0.25 (17/16 BetVictor)
Colorado Rapids v Vancouver Whitecaps – Under 2.5 Goals (3/4 BetVictor)
New York Red Bulls v Philadelphia Union – New York Red Bulls to win 2-0 or 3-0 or 3-1 (14/5 BetVictor)