AFTER a midweek round Major League Soccer fixtures, Will Dyer (@W2Dyer) returns to attack the weekend’s Stateside action.
DC United v Philadelphia Union | Sunday 00.00
Back-to-back wins for Philly will have shocked many and whilst I didn’t expect them to beat New York Red Bulls last weekend I could see it coming during the game.
Philadelphia’s other recent win came against this weekend’s opponents, DC United, at PPL Park two weeks ago. Credit to the U, they played well and fully deserved their late winner from Zach Pfeffer but DC United at RFK Memorial is a completely different prospect.
The Men In Red are unbeaten in seven home games so far this season. Philadelphia lost 1-0 in Washington D.C last year and with their four defeats in seven away games, I have to fancy the Eastern Conference leaders on their own patch.
Union, for all their defensive frailties, have a bit about them up front. They counter with great pace and in C.J Sapong and Conor Casey they also have big forwards which offer them a handy alternative. Fortunately for DC, the latter is out injured with a quad strain this weekend.
NYRB struggled to make possession count against Philly last weekend but United are the kind of side that manage games very professionally, especially at home. I expect the hosts to win this and thanks to a few iffy recent results we can back them at odds against at home. I was expecting more like 4/6 so SkyBet’s 11/10 looks the bet of the coupon, to me.
New York City FC vs Houston Dynamo | Sunday 00.00
NYCFC will be eagerly anticipating Frank Lampard’s arrival in the hope that he can dig them out of a really deep hole. Super Frank scored in his last ever Premier League appearance last weekend but the Chelsea legend isn’t set to debut for NYCFC until mid-July.
New York’s new ‘expansion’ side NYCFC have not won in 10 games now. The longest winless streak for an expansion side was 14 games for Vancouver in 2011 and I wouldn’t be surprised if these boys break that unwanted record. Their only win came at home to New England Revolution in a game in which they were under the kosh for large swathes and could quite easily have lost.
It seems Jason Kreis’ side just don’t know how to win games. With a lengthy injury list this weekend including key midfielder Ned Grabavoy and questions over starting defenders Chris Wingert and Jeb Brovsky they aren’t in the best shape.
Worryingly Kreis’ coaching record against Houston is just W3-D7-L4, which further adds to my confidence in Dynamo avoiding defeat on their first visit to Yankee Stadium. David Villa has looked as clinical as ever at times but his impact alone has not been enough to win games.
With just one win in 12 games for NYCFC this season and Houston only losing five of their 13 you would expect odds of around 2/5 or shorter for The Orange to take at least a point but we are getting 3/4 (Bet365) and that looks a steal to me. Owen Coyle’s men have only lost one of their four games against Eastern Conference opposition and look well placed to get something in the Big Apple on Saturday night.
Seattle Sounders vs New York Red Bulls | Sunday 22.00 | Sky Sports 5
The Sunday night fixture list throws up a couple of cracking East v West ties. There’s no doubt in my mind that Seattle are the best all-round competitors in MLS at the minute. They are the only team to have conceded less than 10 goals this season; they’ve now kept three clean sheets in a row and that rises to four on the spin at home. Surprisingly Red Bulls have fired two blanks on the bounce so Seattle look to be facing them at the perfect time.
I’ve a few stats here to back up my selection. Firstly, New York Red Bulls have not conceded more than two in a single game so far this season. They have conceded exactly one in five of their 11 games and exactly two in three of those games. On that basis, Sounders are unlikely to run away with this.
All of the West Coast’s sides last four win ‘to nils’ have been 1-0 or 2-0 and that brings me to my market; the 1-0/2-0 Correct Score Group at 16/5 (BetVictor). In front of their own fans at CenturyLink Field, Seattle are very hard to play against.
I expect this game to be tight but with Martins and Dempsey lurking they should take a chance or two. In a league where many sides struggle to close out games once they’ve taken the lead Sounders are actually quite competent at it. I’ve faith in their ability to stifle NYRB if they score first.
New England Revolution vs LA Galaxy | Monday 00.00
Boy, I’m looking forward to this. This is as big as they come in US Soccer. Revs haven’t won in four outings but their opponents have plenty of confidence issues too. Galaxy haven’t won any of their seven away games this term and they’ve lost two of their three visits to Eastern Conference sides without even scoring a goal.
Recent LA performances have been sub-par in comparison to the style and professionalism that we’ve come to expect from them in recent years. LA have won the MLS Cup in three of the last four seasons but I seriously doubt they’ll be able to repeat that feat if they continue to play like this.
The Californians may have recorded back-to-back home wins but both were only 1-0. One of those goals was a penalty and the other a 92nd minute winner. They really haven’t been at the races for much of their games this season.
These drab performances in front of goal mean that their 13-goal tally is joint-12th across both Conferences. Revolution are the joint-top scorers with 18 goals. NE Revs were 1-0 up and looking good for the three points last weekend until they received two red cards in the space of five minutes. Without those sending offs, I’m certain they would have beaten DC United and ended their poor run of results.
Lee Nguyen and Chris Tierney will be suspended for this match but Revs have an embarrassment of riches in attacking midfield and the likes of Kelyn Rowe have been fantastic when called upon. I’m expecting more huge performances from Charlie Davies, London Woodberry (what a delightful name) and Andrew Farrell.
I think Revs will try to really stamp their authority on the Conference with a win here (13/10 BetVictor) and get a bit of payback against a side that have had their measure in big games in the past.
DC United v Philadelphia Union – DC United to win (11/10 SkyBet)
New York City FC v Houston Dynamo – Houston Dynamo double chance (3/4 Bet365)
Seattle Sounders v New York Red Bulls – Seattle Sounders to win 1-0/2-0 (16/5 BetVictor)
New England Revolution v LA Galaxy – New England Revolution to win (13/10 BetVictor)