MLS expert Luke Beaumont (@_LukeBeaumont) unpicks the Sunday night Stateside action.
Atlanta United v Columbus Crew | Sunday 19th August 2018, 21:00
Atlanta United host Columbus Crew on Sunday evening in another all Eastern Conference clash. This is a meeting between two sides who are having good seasons, but in different ways. Atlanta are league-leaders while Columbus occupy a play-off spot in spite of off-field issues.
At home, Atlanta are the kings of over 2.5 goals. The Five Stripes have won seven home games this season and with each of those seeing over 3.5 , never mind over 2.5. They've dropped quite a few points at home this year, but they have been against sides who have the quality to hurt them. Looking at Columbus’ away record, Atlanta might just be alright.
The Crew have failed to score in eight of 11 away games so far this year. They went on a run of four consecutive away games without scoring before putting three past New York Red Bulls on the road. It’s never clear when they are going to turn up.
I expect to see a comfortable Atlanta United win, with Josef Martinez in the goals and moving closer to breaking the MLS record of most goals scored in a season. Atlanta to win in a match seeing at least three goals is Evens (Sky Bet)
DC United v New England Revolution | Monday 20th August, 00:30
When Wayne Rooney joined D.C. United, the club were rock-bottom of the Eastern Conference. They are now up to 8th, sitting just six points off the play-offs. They also have four games in hand on Montreal who are in 6th.
D.C. have won three of their last four games and Rooney has been instrumental in their recent success. His transfer to the United States was questioned initially, with many wondering what desire he had left. However, he quietened any doubters with a heroic performance against Orlando City that went viral across social media.
Rooney will be up against a familiar face this weekend as D.C. United host New England Revolution, who are managed by Premier League legend, Brad Friedel. The former shot-stopper has done a good job at New England – they’re positioned nicely, just outside the play-off places.
A few weeks ago, I would have struggled to call this game. However, New England are on a run of poor form. They haven’t collected three-points since the start of July, and are winless away from home since April. Opening Audi Field and bringing in Wayne Rooney has rejuvenated D.C. United and they’re beginning to look like a real force.
United’s last four home wins have included both teams to score, and the Revolution have scored in eight of their last nine away games without winning. 2/1 (Bet365) for a DC to win and both teams to score looks like good value.