MLS – Expect goals across this weekend’s action

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MLS expert Luke Beaumont (@_LukeBeaumont) gives his take on this weekend’s Major League Soccer and shares his best bets.

Atlanta United v DC United | Saturday 21st July, 20:30 | Sky Sports

Atlanta United are the best team in Major League Soccer, I don’t think many people would argue with that. However, they are currently going through a mid-season wobble. The Five Stripes have endured a run of just five wins in their last 12, which has allowed both New York clubs to gain significant ground in the Eastern Conference.

The Mercedes-Benz stadium is a tough place to go, but New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City have come away with wins, and most recently, Seattle Sounders arrived with a game plan to create frustration and ended up claiming a point.

DC United are one of the most talked about teams currently, following their stadium opening and Wayne Rooney’s debut last weekend. DC christened Audi Field with a 3-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps. Rooney came on with around 30 minutes to go, and he played a part in his team’s second goal, before assisting the third.

Atlanta are well-backed favourites, and I believe that is justified. I fancy the Eastern Conference leaders to put the disappointment of last weekend behind them and produce better end product against DC.

The best bet here is Atlanta to win and both teams to score. Atlanta have shown they can score for fun at home, but they are always vulnerable to giving away a needless goal. The teams have already met at the Mercedes-Benz stadium this season, and it ended in a 3-1 win for Atlanta. I think we will be in for a similar outcome this weekend.

Chicago Fire v Toronto | Sunday 22nd July, 12:00am |

This will be one of the most interesting games of the weekend. A meeting between two sides who should be in playoff contention, but currently find themselves outside of the reckoning.

Toronto, surprisingly, sit second bottom of the Eastern Conference on 16 points after 19 games, a very disappointing return for a team who became the first side in MLS history to win a domestic treble last season.

It has come to a point now where every single game for Toronto is must-win, and at the moment, they are doing everything but. They arrive in Chicago this weekend having lost four out of their last five Major League Soccer outings. As well as that, they have only won once on the road this year.

This game is extremely hard to predict, so I am not even going to try. One thing I do know, however, is we should be guaranteed plenty of goals. Toronto have played ten away games so far this year in MLS, and here are some key stats:

  • Seven have featured over 2.5 goals AND both teams to score.
  • Five have featured over 3.5 goals.
  • Four have featured over 4.5 goals.

Real Salt Lake v Colorado Rapids | Sunday 22nd July, 03:00 |

This isn’t a game I’d expect anyone to stay up and watch, but if you’re looking for some value, here you go. Colorado Rapids are bad, really bad, especially away from home. And I think they’re in for a tough three or four nil drubbing as they face a Real Salt Lake side who are in red hot form at their Rio Tinto stadium.

Colorado sit second bottom in the Western Conference and their season is looking bleak. They face a relatively short 500-mile trip to face RSL who have won eight of their ten home games this season, losing only once to high-flying LAFC. It’s impossible to give the Rapids much of a chance as they have only won once on the road so far this season, losing six out of eight.

Real Salt Lake have scored in both halves in five of their home games so far this year, and I can see this happening again in a comprehensive win over Colorado. RSL have already played hosts to the Rapids this year and it ended in a 3-0 win. Therefore, I think the odds for the bets below are extremely generous.

Best Bets

Atlanta United v DC United – Atlanta to win & both teams to score (7/5 William Hill)

Chicago Fire v Toronto – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (8/13 Bet365)

Real Salt Lake v Colorado Rapids – Real Salt Lake to score in both halves (6/5 Bet365)

Real Salt Lake v Colorado Rapids – Real Salt Lake to score over 2.5 goals (13/8 Bet365)

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