USA MLS Preview

MLS Picks of Week 24

The MLS continues to announce big name signings on an almost weekly basis. Both Didier Drogba and Shaun Wright-Phillips have signed up to ply their trade in America’s much-vaunted league and with a smattering of legends already making the United States their home, the MLS can only go from strength to strength. Yours truly didn’t do too badly either last week. Chicago and New England played out a high scoring draw and New York beat Orlando to ruin an otherwise perfect set of fixtures. The week ahead promises to be a difficult one on the punting front and I’ll be advising a few Double Chance bets to help cover potential pitfalls.

Saturday 1st August

New York City FC 19/20 | Draw 23/10 | Montreal Impact 28/10
An illustrious gathering of three former World Cup winners graced New York’s incredible 5-3 victory over a Cyle Larin inspired Orlando City. Aside from the three points, the victory was important in terms of making an effort to salvage City’s woeful form at Yankee Stadium. David Villa scored a brace, taking his tally to twelve for the season, while Andrea Pirlo debuted as a second half substitute. His impact was felt immediately and his pinpoint passing was instrumental in New York’s third and fourth goals. Montreal Impact secured three points against Seattle Sounders thanks to a late header from Laurent Ciman after dominating much of the home fixture. The Impact have also managed to acquire the services of Didier Drogba. Sitting comfortably in the middle of the Eastern Conference having played the least matches in the league, the Impact lie on the brink of a potentially successful season. However, New York have scored nine goals in their previous two home matches and are tipped to grab the win at 19/20.

Sunday 2nd August

Philadelphia Union 27/20 | Draw 9/4 | New York Red Bulls 19/10
The Union found themselves two goals to the good four minutes into their clash away from home with the league leaders. However, the Union conspired to collapse to a 3-2 loss by the end of the piece and have now lost two in a row in the MLS. They’ll be pleased to be back at PPL Park where their home form is solid. New York Red Bulls were exempt from MLS action last weekend but have instead been busy beating Europe’s top clubs and making signings. The Red Bulls beat Chelsea 4-2 and Benfica 2-1 in International Champions Cup preseason action and signed QPR free agent Shaun Wright-Phillips. The Red Bulls haven’t lost in five matches in all competitions and are rather solid on the road. I’m tempted by Philadelphia Union to win/draw on the Double Chance at 7/20.

DC United 17/20 | Draw 23/10 | Real Salt Lake 31/10 
DC United turned around a relatively poor run of form to overcome a two-goal deficit against the Union. Fabian Espindola scored the winning goal and grabbed an assist as DC took control of the match following the early setbacks. They still comfortably top the Eastern Conference but have played two games more for the same points as FC Dallas overall. Real Salt Lake won its second straight game after a four-match winless stretch in the MLS with a 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City. Javier Morales and Joao Plata provided the goals and have now scored in two consecutive matches, their pair of them responsible for Real Salt Lake’s 2-0 win over Houston Dynamo the week before. In spite of this, Real Salt Lake have lost five straight matches on the road and should prove no match for DC United. Back the home team at 17/20.

New England Revolution 1/1 | Draw 23/10 | Toronto FC 26/10
The New England Revolution managed to escape Chicago with a 2-2 draw after going 2-1 down in the 75th minute. Kelyn Rowe scored the equaliser shortly after and solidified New England’s position in the Eastern Conference mid-table. There will be concerns at the Revolution however, having won only one of their last five matches. Jozy Altidore was brought down in the box and converted a late penalty against Columbus Crew for Toronto to rally from three goals down to force a draw away from home. Sebastian Giovinco was once again in the thick of the action, scoring the goal to spark Toronto’s comeback. Toronto have snatched high-scoring draws in their past two away fixtures, the previous one being a 4-4 result at Yankee Stadium. I’m tipping Toronto to win/draw on the Double Chance at 7/10.

Orlando City 12/10 | Draw 9/4 | Columbus Crew 21/10
Not even a Cyle Larin second half hat-trick could secure Orlando City three points away from home at New York City FC and Kaka’s side have now slipped to three consecutive MLS losses. Aside from Larin, the team have battled to put the ball in the back of net and desperately need something special against Columbus Crew. Crew let a three-goal lead slip at home against Toronto and despite the error, have moved into second in the Eastern Conference. MLS top goal scorer Kei Kamara is in fine form and picked up points from four of their last five matches. Admittedly, Crew are generally poor on the road but with Orlando in such poor form, a fancy them to get something from this. Back Columbus Crew on the win/draw Double Chance at 11/20.

Sporting Kansas City 8/10 | Draw 23/10 | Houston Dynamo 7/2 
Sporting Kansas City had a three-game winning streak snapped at the hands of Real Salt Lake in their last outing. Their form at Sporting Park is simply sublime and they have yet to lose a match at the ground all season, winning their last five. Benny Feilhaber has been in sensational form for Sporting Kansas City, having scored in three consecutive matches, while forward Dom Dwyer is a constant threat. Houston Dynamo, despite occupying eighth place in the Western Conference, having been playing rather well of late. Sure, they lost to Sporting Kansas City about a week ago in cup action but beat the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 away from home and LA Galaxy 3-0 in Houston last weekend. However, one cannot help but look back at their 3-1 loss to Sporting on the same ground last Wednesday and back the home victory at 8/10. 

Colorado Rapids 18/10 | Draw 22/10 | LA Galaxy 14/10
A feel-good story emerged from the Colorado Rapids camp as defender Drew Moor has been included in the MLS All-Star side to face Tottenham on Wednesday. Moor was emotional in a press conference after eleven long seasons in the MLS and managing to recover from an ACL injury sustained last year. In addition, the Rapids have won their last three consecutive matches, beating the Seattle Sounders 1-0 away from home last time out. LA Galaxy were handled 3-0 by Houston Dynamo away from home as Steven Gerrard’s second game in the MLS ended in disaster. Galaxy’s form away from home has been lacklustre to say the least and they would’ve hoped Gerrard’s presence would’ve helped in this regard. With the Galaxy travelling to Colorado I’m opting for the Rapids win/draw on the Double Chance at 5/10.

Seattle Sounders 21/20 | Draw 9/4 | Vancouver Whitecaps 5/2
From the leading the Western conference, the Seattle Sounders have lost seven of their last nine league games and have dropped to fifth. Losing Clint Dempsey to Gold Cup action (where he secured the Golden Boot) and Obafemi Martins to injury has left them desperately short of scoring options and they’ve only rattled the net twice in their past five matches, scoreless in three. They’ve been marginally better when playing at home and will hope this plays in their favour with the visit of the Whitecaps. Vancouver got back to winning ways with a 3-1 victory of the San Jose Earthquakes. Mauro Rosales and Kendall Waston scored in the first half before Octavio Rivero added another from the penalty spot. The Whitecaps are second in the Western Conference and have picked up three wins and one draw in their last five away matches. I’m tipping Vancouver to come away with the victory at a valuable 5/2. 

San Jose Earthquakes 13/10 | Draw 22/10 | Portland Timbers 2/1
Quincy Amarikwa scored a late consolation goal for the San Jose Earthquakes as they went down 3-1 to the Whitecaps last time out. San Jose have had a torrid time recently, suffering four straight MLS losses. Three of those matches have been on the road and although they lost 2-0 to Houston in their last match at Avaya Stadium, their form at their home ground is usually solid. FC Dallas were too good for Portland in their last outing as the Timbers succumbed 4-1 away from home, stretching their winless streak to three matches. Fanendo Adi’s stoppage time penalty was Portland’s first goal on the road since May 30th. They’ve lost five of their last six away from home. San Jose Earthquakes are tipped to get back to winning ways at a valuable 13/10.  

Monday 3rd August

Chicago Fire 27/20 | Draw 9/4 | FC Dallas 19/10
Chicago Fire will feel gutted for three reasons. One, they are still rooted to the bottom of the overall MLS standings by a clear five points. Two, they managed to go on top against New England in the second half last week before conceding immediately after to share the spoils. And three, they lost out on the potential signing of Didier Drogba to Montreal. As consolation they have managed to secure the services of discarded Toronto forward Gilberto but one feels it is too little too late for the franchise. They welcome league leaders FC Dallas to Toyota Park. Dallas have won five matches in a row in the MLS and have two games in hand at the top of the table, level on points with DC United. However, four of those matches have been played at home and their form on the road is rather poor. One has to feel that their current form can galvanise Dallas to victory here. Back the away win at 19/10 and cross your fingers.

Written by Rick John Henry for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!