Another weekend of Major League Soccer action is upon us and as usual there’s no shortage of stories and plot lines to draw. There’s a East coast derby (of sorts) and a clash between two Western Conference heavyweights on very different runs of form at the moment. Here are four tips for the weekend.
New England v DC United
Gillette Stadium, Saturday 25 May
The hope, from the perspective of the New England Revolution anyway, was that Bruce Arena’s appointment as head coach and technical director would provide the Foxborough franchise with some sort of bounce. That, however, did not materialise last weekend as the Revs struggled to a 0-0 away draw to Montreal.
This will be a better test of where New England are right now. Arena’s biggest challenge will be to tighten things up at the back, with the Revs already having conceded 31 times this season. In this sense, he might have looked at the goalless draw away to Montreal as a good start.
1u - Back New England Revolution to Win @ +114
FC Cincinatti v New York Red Bulls
Nippert Stadium, Saturday 25 May
After a strong start to life in MLS, FC Cincinnati have fallen away drastically over the past few weeks. Indeed, MLS’s latest franchise have lost six of their last seven matches, slipping to the foot of the Eastern Conference with just 11 points from their opening 13 fixtures of the campaign.
FC Cincinnati are a stronger proposition at home, though, and won the only game of the past five they have played in front of their own fans. The Red Bulls, however, come into this game with four wins from their last five matches and appear to have turned the corner. There have been over 2.5 goals in four of their last five outings and with FC Cincinnati struggling that could become five from six here.
1u - Back Over 2.5 Goals @ -120
Philadelphia Union v Portland Timbers
Talen Energy Stadium, Saturday 25 May
Sitting atop the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Union have the look of real challengers this season, at least on the basis of their early form. Jim Curtin’s side have not suffered defeat since the loss to the LA Galaxy back in April and have found form at both ends of the pitch, scoring 10 and conceding just two in the three games before last weekend’s shutout to Seattle.
The Portland Timbers’ form comes with the caveat that they have yet to play their first home game of the season, with Providence Park finally reopening next week. After a good scoring run, Giovani Savarese’s side have found it difficult in front of goal recently, scoring just once against Vancouver and Houston. They’ll surely need to improve on that if they are to come away from Philly with a result.
0.75u - Back Portland Timbers 0 Goals @ +180
Sporting KC v Seattle Sounders
Children’s Mercy Park, Sunday 26 May
Widely considered one of the frontrunners for this season’s MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield, Sporting KC have fallen on tough times of late. Indeed, Peter Vermes’ side are without a win in their last seven league games, with last season’s Western Conference finalists scoring just twice in their last three outings. Even when they scored four times in a game before that against New England, they conceded four.
On the other hand, the Seattle Sounders are undefeated in their last six MLS matches, keeping pace with Los Angeles FC at the top of the West. Their success has been based on a defensive solidity which has seen Brian Schmetzer’s side keep clean sheets in two of their previous three games. They are proving themselves to be one of the toughest teams to beat in the division.
0.75u - Back Sporting KC Under 1.5 Goals @ +113