New York Red Bulls v Chicago Fire | Saturday 1st May 2021, 18:00 | FreeSports
I hope you don’t mind me bringing back this weekend article for this weekend at least, but there are a number of interesting games across the footballing globe which I think are worthy of interest. The first of which comes from Major League Soccer, and I think we are all taking a bit of an extra interest in this, even if you’re not necessarily a fan of the league, purely because spectators are in the ground.
British fans will also have a bit of an eye on New York Red Bulls considering Gerhard Struber is their Head Coach, having formerly been in charge of Barnsley in the Championship.
He helped guide them to the great escape last season, and arguably put them on course for the success they’ve had this season under new management. He moved to the States with a fair amount of last season remaining, but having had to quarantine etc, he has only been actually on the touchline this season.
He is therefore clearly going to need some time to really get the best out of these players given the rather high intensity game he wants them to play. Two games in and they’ve two defeats to their name, but we’ve certainly seen in flashes what they’re capable of, whilst in other glimpses they’re making the kind of mistakes which will often always be punished.
It won’t be easy for them this weekend, even though Chicago Fire at home on paper is the sort of match they’ll expect to be winning. The Fire have one draw and one loss to open their 2021 campaign, and they’ll be eager to make it third time lucky on Saturday night. They’ve only won two of the last 12 head-to-head renewals however, so history is possibly against them, if that means anything!
Goals is definitely the way to go here, and having seen both of the Red Bulls games I thoroughly expect them to be quite an entertaining watch over the next month or so.
As mentioned, they’re still adjusting to this new coach and his methods, it will take time. In time, they should become a top team again, but for now they aren’t necessarily one to trust. Chicago aren’t expecting to compete this season, and they too have showcased some defensive issues in their opening two games.
Both teams have seen both teams scoring and each finish over 2.5 goals, and that is a trend I would be surprised if I did not continue this weekend. Therefore, the play is Both Teams To Score & Over 2.5 Goals at 17/20 (William Hill).
Utrecht v Willem II | Saturday 1st May 2021, 20:00
Whilst MLS has only been up and running for a few weeks, the Dutch Eredivisie is approaching the final stages. Four games remain and it would take something of a miracle for anyone to deny Ajax winning the title.
Den Haag will almost certainly occupy one of the two certain relegation places, with four clubs hoping to stay above water in avoiding both the other relegation place, and the relegation play-off position. Willem II are in that category, and face a tricky trip to Utrecht on Saturday.
As for Utrecht, it looks like they will take up their customary position in that bracket of clubs outside of the top three or four. You can almost certainly rely upon them to finish anywhere from fifth to eighth before a ball has been kicked in pre-season.
You can then almost certainly rely upon them to not make an impact should they progress into the Europa League qualification places, but clearly they’ll want to get there. Three points isn’t so important for them given they’re pretty settled in the Conference League play-offs.
It is therefore arguably a much more important contest for Willem II this weekend given they sit just one point above the bottom three. Emmen sit third from bottom and have won three in a row, so they’re hot on the tails of the teams above them. Willem II did at least get a slender 1-0 win over Waalwijk last weekend to also drag them into the relegation picture, but can they repeat such an outcome against a superior opponent.
As someone who watches quite a bit of the Dutch league, I wasn’t so surprised to see the pre-match odds here, and that opens the door for finding a way of getting Willem II on side, or at least go against Utrecht in some way.
I say that because Utrecht are one of those sides who are relatively inconsistent. They’ve drew away at Ajax for example, and taken four points from third place AZ, but they’ve also failed to win three of the six meetings with the current bottom three.
Utrecht actually beat Willem II 6-0 earlier in the season, and I think that means they may approach this thinking it’ll be quite easy. Something else I’ve noticed about them is a lack of clean sheets. They kept none over the bottom three teams this season, and achieved only two at home. Clearly they play quite openly, which is quite a typically Dutch way where the emphasis is on attack, and that puts goals firmly on the table.
The risk backing goals here is that Willem II aren’t exactly full of them. They are the third-lowest scorers in the division, and only two other teams have failed to score in more Dutch top flight games.
However, the stats of Utrecht are what is swaying me more than anything. They are comfortable in their position, so I think they’ll be quite lax in their approach and possibly neglect their defensive duties to a degree, which they clearly do anyway given the lack of clean sheets.
9/10 (Sport Nation) on Both Teams To Score is a dream price, as it really should be shorter.
New York Red Bulls v Chicago Fire – Both Teams To Score & Over 2.5 Goals (17/20 William Hill)
Utrecht v Willem II – Both Teams To Score (9/10 Sport Nation)