Another weekend of Major League Soccer action is upon us after the international break and as usual there’s no shortage of stories and plot lines to draw upon. The play-offs are just over a month away and so time is running out for a number of teams. Seasons are on the line. Here are four picks for the weekend in MLS.
Philadelphia Union v Los Angeles FC
Talen Energy Stadium, Saturday September 14
The Philadelphia Union have been the biggest surprise package in MLS this season and there is little sign of their challenge fading having claimed two big wins in their last two matches. Indeed, Jim Curtin’s side have won all of their last four games in front of their own supporters. A win here would really underline their credentials.
Los Angeles FC have set a new standard at the top of the Western Conference, but for the first time in the season they are in the middle of a poor run of form, drawing two and losing one of their last three matches. Many of LAFC’s best players will be back this weekend, though. This could be the fixture of the weekend in MLS.
0.75u - Back Los Angeles FC To Win @ +155
Atlanta United v Columbus Crew
Mercedes Benz Stadium, Saturday September 14
Frank de Boer’s Atlanta United side come into this game on the back of a rare defeat, losing 3-1 away to the Philadelphia Union in their last outing. That result cost Atlanta top spot in the Eastern Conference, but nonetheless, their form over the summer has been strong, winning 10 of their last 11 games at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Of those 10 home games, Atlanta United have been winning at half time and full time of eight of them. They have also scored at least twice in their last eight matches in front of their own fans. The Columbus Crew won their last game on the road, but that was against FC Cincinnati - the league’s whipping boys. This will be very different.
1u - Back Atlanta United To Win To Nil @ +160
Portland Timbers v DC United
Providence Park, Sunday September 15
Not so long ago, DC United were challengers in the East. A poor run of form has seen Ben Olsen’s side fall down to fifth in the standings, losing four of their last five matches. However, the 3-0 away win over the Montreal Impact in their last outing hinted at an upturn in form. Can they back that result up?
The Portland Timbers are in the middle of a 10-match home streak following the redevelopment of Providence Park earlier this season. Their stoppage time winner over Sporting KC should boost their confidence after back-to-back home defeats before that. Gio Savarese will still be concerned by how frequently his team is conceding.
1.5u - Back Both Teams To Score @ -181
Seattle Sounders v New York Red Bulls
CenturyLink Field, Sunday September 15
Both these teams come into this fixture on the back of disappointing defeats. The Seattle Sounders were in good form before suffering a loss to the Colorado Rapids in their last outing, while the New York Red Bulls also lost to the same opponents in their previous league match.
There has been over 2.5 goals in Seattle’s last five matches played at CenturyLink Field, but they have also conceded at least three times in their last three home games. There has also been over 2.5 goals scored in seven of the New York Red Bulls’ last eight away matches. All the signs point to goals being a feature of this weekend’s fixture.