Inter Miami v Orlando City | Sunday 23rd August 2020, 01:00 | Sky Sports
Those of you who have read my Saturday piece for this weekend will know I said no to go to bed too early in order to get some late-night viewing of Los Angeles versus LA Galaxy, however you’ll probably need a coffee or two as well as Inter Miami against Orlando City in the early hours of Sunday morning looks another exciting clash!
I accept that MLS football is not everyone’s cup of tea, but even if you don’t follow it so closely than you’ll probably still be familiar of Inter Miami and the David Beckham connection. The former England captain owns the club and his sway has managed to attract World Cup winner Blaise Matuidi to the club. The pair were teammates at one point at PSG.
It certainly has not been an easy ride for Miami in their new life as an MLS club. They played two ‘normal’ games before the lockdown, and lost both of those. Then in the MLS is Back Tournament they played three times, and lost them all as well. Therefore, it is a sweet five games and five losses for this new club, but in their defence all of those losses was by a one-goal margin, so they’ve certainly been competitive in those encounters.
This match will see Inter Miami play their first ever match at Inter Miami CF Stadium, so maybe that will serve as extra motivation for the home team in that regard. No fans of course will be present, so that does take away some of the glitz and glamour that this type of occasion would normally present.
This is a bit of a rivalry game between these two Florida clubs and we got a taste of that in the tournament as Orlando secured a narrow 2-1 win last month. This was a very close game and Inter Miami actually opened the scoring early in the second half, and in the end it took a 97th minute winner from Designated Player Nani to get Orlando up and running in the competition, which saw them make the final, only to lose out to Portland Timbers.
Orlando did impress in the tournament, much to the point where there is now genuine excitement around the club about where Oscar Pareja can take them. Considering he is not so long in the job, the progress they’ve made has been rapid, but now they need to prove themselves in an actual MLS game, and they will be more tested here playing away from home, as the tournament itself saw them adopt something of home status.
Orlando were backed to struggle big time and not even make it out the group, so reaching the final and playing in the manner they did should serve them well. Their team spirit was there for all to see, and when you can get someone like Nani on board and buying into everything then it doesn’t half help. They’ve only played one actual away game under Pareja, and they lost 2-1 at Colorado Rapid before the lockdown came into effect. They’ve kicked on since then however, and almost look like a new team.
Inter Miami are actually a new team and I just can’t really accept the fact they are favourites to win this game. Considering they’ve lost every match as an MLS club, regardless of the fact they may have deserved more at times, just doesn’t fuel me with confidence.
I do think the Matuidi signing is fathomed into that, but it looks as though he won’t be involved this weekend and it’s not as if he is a 20 goal a season striker anyway, and Orlando built real momentum in the tournament, so they’re the one to back.
A price of 59/29 (VBet) on an Orlando win I think represents excellent value. Sure, Miami will win a game at some point and everything will click together, but I just think the Beckham and Matuidi factor is part of the short price on offer, and Orlando are therefore the safer option in my eyes.
Malmo v Falkenbergs | Sunday 23rd August 2020, 13:30
Malmo have built up a four point lead at the top of the Swedish top flight after quite an impressive opening 16 games under the management of Jon Dahl Tomasson.
The 23-time Allsvenskan champions have finished inside the top three in eight of the last ten seasons, including five titles, so they’re normally at the top of the pile. They haven’t won the league for two seasons now however, which is why the club decided to think a little different and try Tomasson in his first outright managerial job since 2014.
They will be expected to extend their unbeaten streak, which currently stands at 10 league games, when entertaining Falkenbergs at what will be an empty Eleda Stadion on Sunday afternoon.
Falkenbergs are inside the bottom three in the league, which perhaps comes as no great surprise considering their budget and being one of the smallest at this level. They’ve largely been a Superettan club, but this will be their fifth season in the big league over the last seven possible, so they’re starting to settle down.
That being said, results this season haven’t necessarily gone so swimmingly and there is every chance they could finish the weekend bottom of the pile, as only goal difference is currently keeping them off the foot of the division. In 16 matches, they’ve won only twice, but both of those did come away from home, which is where they seem to be reserving their better football for. Nine of 13 points came in away matches.
Expecting them to continue away in Malmo though is another matter as they possess just one of two unbeaten home records in Allsvenskan. February was the last time they lost a home game in any competition, and that was to Wolfsburg in the Europa League. August 2019 was actually the last time they suffered a domestic loss here, so to say they’ve made this place a fortress is something of an understatement!
Whilst all may seem lost before a kicked for Falkenbergs this weekend, there is a little bit of hope for them yet. The reason I say this is whilst Malmo do have the joint-best defensive record in the league, they’ve conceded in six of their nine home encounters since returning from lockdown.
It is also only three clean sheets in Malmo's last 11 overall, and maybe it could be a case that they’ll take Falkenbergs a little lightly here, and may get punished.
Eleven of Falkenbergs’ 16 league fixtures this season has seen both teams scoring, and Malmo’s are only one behind on 10, so goals are generally the name of the game when these are both involved.
With that being the case, I think Malmo to Win and Both Teams To Score looks a more attractive play at 15/8 (Betway), as opposed to merely backing Malmo in the 1×2 market at 1/5.
Inter Miami v Orlando City – Orlando City (59/29 VBet)
Malmo v Falkenbergs – Malmo to Win and Both Teams To Score (15/8 Betway)