MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER expert Kyle Worthington (@SM_Kyle) analyses the opening weekend of the season, picking out his favourite fancies.
MLS is finally back!
I’ve trawled through each of the opening games and I’ve narrowed my picks down to three that I really like. I’ve opted for a slightly safer approach this weekend with it being the first round of games but nevertheless I’ve chose what I feel are the best three selections at respectable prices from across the pond.
FC Dallas v New England Revolution | Saturday 2nd March 2019, 21.30
Dallas are my outside pick for a shot at the Cup this season and this opening game is a great chance to start on the right note. They host a New England side who historically travel horribly.
Looking back over the last two seasons, the Revs have competed in 34 MLS road games. The stats make for some bleak reading – those 34 games away have resulted in W3-D9-L22. Astonishing really when it’s laid out like that. What surprises me, especially last season ,was the fact Revolution do score away more often than not but overall it’s a really poor record and it just can’t be ignored.
I don’t like to get bogged down in just plain numbers like this usually but for the past two years it’s almost been a no brainer to take a bet against New England travelling, and I don’t see any reason why that’s going to change this time around.
What I like about this fixture more than anything is, everything is pointing Dallas’ way who boast one of the strongest home records in MLS. Again, I’ll take the past two campaigns as my example, and the hosts have W18-D12-L5 in that sample. Now it almost reads like a flipped version of the Revs away stats. Dallas have also scored 2+ in 21 of those 35 games.
Let’s summarise, now it’s opening weekend so without getting carried away I’ve looked through several markets and I’ve decided to play it safer than I would had this game been 10 or so games into the season.
It’s a fixture in which I can’t see anything other than a Dallas win. The home team, for me, have a far stronger squad – both in terms of quality and depth – and like I said, I really do fancy them to be right up there and challenging come the end of the season.
Colorado Rapids v Portland Timbers | Saturday 2nd March 2019, 23.00
I’m really surprised at the price of Over 2.5 Goals in this game at 21/25 (Marathon) as this game stands out for me as a banker for goals. Again, I’m going to base this pick on the standout stats with it being the first week of the season.
Using the past two seasons as an example, here are the numbers when it comes to goals. Looking at Colorado’s past 34 home MLS ties we see that Over 2.5 has landed in 25 of those matches, that converts to just under a 74% success rate. Switching to Portland and over the same period in away days, we can see the Timbers have crossed Over 2.5 Goals in 27/39 road trips, a percentage strike-rate of just under 70%.
Colorado shipped goals for fun at home last season, conceding 32 in 17 home matches. Towards the back end of the campaign it got really bad as they leaked 14 in their last five home outings alone. I don’t see any reason to believe that this season will be much different for Colorado, I can only imagine that it’s going to be another tough year all round.
Portland, on the other hand, are free-scoring both at home and on the road. Their ability to find the net away is very impressive – they notched at least once in all but four of their games on their travels last term, one of those times being the final against Atlanta.
I fancy a big season for Portland, they’ve certainly got the quality to back up the hype surrounding them. Losing in the final last season was disappointing but what an achievement it was getting their in the first place, and personally I see no reason for them to come into this new season expecting anything less than what they managed last year.
Overall, I just don’t see this game being without goals, it stands out a mile to me when looking through this weekend’s fixtures. All signs point to an exciting encounter and I’m confident we’ll get just that.