MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER expert Will Dyer (@W2Dyer) casts his eye over the weekend card in search of a few winners.
Orlando City v FC Dallas | Sunday 00.30
Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard make their debuts this weekend as Soccer takes centre stage. LA Galaxy face Mexican giants Club America in the International Champions Cup. The Gold Cup is also on and, with a total of 45 players from MLS playing in that tournament, it’s important that we adjust our betting strategies accordingly.
These two sides will both be significantly weakened this weekend. Orlando are without captain, playmaker and top scorer Kaka thanks to a ridiculous red card brandished to the Brazilian for a ‘stamp’ against Real Salt Lake. They are also without their powerful young forward Cyle Larin who has six goals this term. Between them those two have scored 15 of the Lions’ 23 goals this season.
Dallas have their problems too. Their squad has been raided by the Gold Cup. Tesho Akindele, Kyle Bekker, Blas Perez, Moises Hernandez and Je-Vaughn Watson are all missing. Perez and Akindele have hit eight of Dallas’ 24 goals and that heaps the pressure on Fabian Castillo.
Both sides will be used to the climate with Florida and Texas prone to scorching summer temperatures but I expect this game to fizzle out pretty quickly with so many key players absent and the less experienced players likely to be a little lost. The Texans have not scored more than once in any of their last five away games and OC have kept a clean sheet in three of their last last at home.
I think this will be tight so Under 2.5 goals looks the play at 4/5 with SkyBet.
Montreal Impact v Columbus Crew | Sunday 01.00
The in-form New York City FC visited the Stade Saputo last weekend and left with all three points but they were absolutely played off the park. Impact had 25 attempts on goal compared to NYC’s three and if it wasn’t for the clinical finishing of a certain David Villa, the result could have been very different.
Crew are second in the Eastern Conference but they have played three more games than Montreal and only six points separate the sides, so for me, there’s not much in this. Columbus have also failed to win a single away game in eight attempts this season.
Prior to last weekend’s defeat the French Canadians had won four home games in a row and if they can keep Kei Kamara quiet, they stand a great chance of winning this. Crew lost here last August and also lost at home to Montreal just last month so odds-against (7/5 SkyBet) on the home win looks a steal to me.
Chicago Fire v Seattle Sounders | Sunday 01.30
Bottom of the East plays top of the West and if these sides were at full strength you’d have to fancy Seattle to cruise past the Fire, even in Illinois. Seattle are missing both their first and second top scorers.
Clint Dempsey is busy beating Gold Cup opponents on his own whilst Obafemi Martins has a strain probably keeping him out for a couple more weeks but Seattle managed to beat the East’s best side, DC United, 1-0 last weekend without both of those players and I’m finding it hard to get my head round the price on the Western Conference leaders.
Yes, Seattle have lost four of their last five away games but Chicago have lost three of their last four at home and with the Fire missing influential men; Shaun Maloney, David Accam, Joevin Jones and Jeff Larentowicz, I think the hosts are set to struggle.
Plenty of people despise head-to-head records but I don’t mind them. Seattle have never lost to Chicago in 11 meetings since 2009 and they have won eight of the last nine times these two have met in all competitions. 29/10 (BetVictor) is too big.
New York City FC v Toronto FC | Sunday 20.00 | Sky Sports 1
Major League Soccer’s form side New York City FC take on Toronto at the Yankee Stadium. There’s a party atmosphere as England and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard makes his debut and with David Villa on form, it would take a wise man to oppose City this weekend.
New York beat Toronto on their own turf just last month with two goals from David Villa and with four wins in their last five games and Toronto coming off the back of their heaviest defeat of the season, losing 4-0 in Los Angeles, I have to fancy the hosts.
I have been super critical of NYC but I believe it was warranted as their winless run of 12 games earlier in the season was dire. They have completely turned that on it’s head now and with the class of Frank Lampard added to their midfield they should be even stronger.
TFC will be without key players Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley who feature for the USMNT at the Gold Cup whilst Canada’s star player Jonathon Osorio is also absent through International duty. This game is live on Sky Sports on Sunday night at the delightful time of 8pm and I fully expect it to live up to its billing.
New York win at evens (SkyBet), for me.
Orlando City v FC Dallas – Under 2.5 Goals (4/5 Skybet)
Montreal Impact v Columbus Crew – Montreal Impact to win (7/5 Skybet)
Chicago Fire v Seattle Sounders – Seattle Sounders to win (29/10 BetVictor)
New York City FC v Toronto FC – New York City FC to win (1/1 Skybet)
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