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MLS Picks of Week 25

After finally feeling as though I had this league somewhat pinned down, last week’s results came along and shattered that narcissistic illusion. A slew of comprehensive away wins wrecked my weekend bets and served to make the race for the lead of the Western Conference even more complex. Saturday’s (USA time) eight fixtures last weekend averaged a staggering 4.88 goals per game, DC United and Real Salt Lake trading blows ten times in a 6-4 humdinger. With records broken and LA Galaxy’s nightmares on the road arrested, this promises to be yet another blockbuster weekend in America’s glittering homage to football nostalgia.

Saturday 8th August

Portland Timbers 6/10 | Draw 11/4 | Chicago Fire 4/1

Portland were made to settle for a scoreless draw with San Jose Earthquakes in their last outing, a Diego Valeri penalty cannoning back off the crossbar in the 75th minute. The stalemate extends Portland’s winless streak to four matches and they’ll be eager to host Chicago Fire, who’ve only six wins to sport from 21 matches. Chicago did, however, beat former top of the table FC Dallas 2-0 last week. They also managed to force a draw with New England the week prior although both positive results came at home and Chicago have yet to win a match on the road all season. Based on that statistic alone, Portland look a good bet. 

FC Toronto 11/10 | Draw 24/10 | Sporting Kansas City 21/10

Since returning from injury, Jozy Altidore has not only put in poor match performances but earned himself a straight red last weekend for kicking out at New England defender Jose Goncalves. Toronto went down 3-1 and have only picked up three points once in the last five fixtures. Sporting Kansas City’s sparkling run of form has been halted somewhat in recent weeks. They were held to a 1-1 draw at home against Houston Dynamo last weekend and fell away from home to Real Salt Lake the week previous. They’re not a poor side on the road and Toronto’s BMO Field is not impregnable. The away win/draw Double Chance should offer decent value here.

Sunday 9th August

Orlando City 17/20 | Draw 5/2 | Philadelphia Union 31/10

Orlando City looked somewhere near back to their best when they disposed of Columbus Crew 5-2 in their last outing. Cyle Larin scored twice and brought his season tally to eleven goals, equalling the season record for a rookie in fifteen games, ten games less than Damani Ralph in 2003. Philadelphia have lost their last three in a row and are tie with Chicago Fire on 22 points at the bottom of the MLS log. They have, however, played two matches more than their basement companions and desperately need something from their trip to Florida. I can’t see them having enough to quell a rampant Orlando City. Back the home side in this one.  

Montreal Impact 11/10 | Draw 24/10 | DC United 21/10

Montreal have been getting on rather nicely in the league and secured a fantastic 3-2 win at Yankee Stadium the past weekend. Dominic Oduro and Ignacio Piatti scored in the first half and gifted Montreal a commanding lead. The sides then traded penalties deep into the second half and although Montreal were to concede again, they held out for the win. DC United’s must be the story of the week. The ten goals scored in their 6-4 win over Real Salt Lake fell one short of a league record for goals scored in a match. The teams combined for seven goals in the second half alone, again falling one short of the record. In the end, Perry Kitchen broke the 4-4 scoreline in the 79th minute before Nick DeLeon’s strike six minutes later provided the necessary insurance. DC United remain top of the MLS table with 41 points and twelve wins. They’re not quite as strong on the road though and Montreal are tipped to win or draw on the Double Chance.

Houston Dynamo 19/20 | Draw 23/10 | San Jose Earthquakes 27/10

Tempers flared in Kansas City as the Houston Dynamo clawed their way back through a Ricardo Clark header in the 78th minute to draw 1-1 with Sporting KC. It ensured that the Dynamo’s sporadic form continued as they’ve won two, lost two and drawn one in their last five matches in all competitions. San Jose avoided losing their fifth straight match as they held the Portland Timbers to a goalless draw away from home. It doesn’t help San Jose all that much, as the Californians are beginning to slip down the Western Conference table at an alarming rate. Houston are only a place and two points above the Earthquakes in the Conference but home ground advantage should have the final say here. Back Houston to come up with the three points.

Colorado Rapids 5/4 | Draw 23/10 | Columbus Crew 19/10 

Colorado’s effort to move off of the bottom of the Western Conference was halted by LA Galaxy, who beat the Rapids 3-1 in Denver. The Rapids had won three on the trot and will be annoyed that they were unable grab anything against their more illustrious visitors. With a chastened Columbus Crew coming to town, the Rapids will be intent on taking advantage of the opportunity presented. Crew were no match for Orlando City at the weekend but remain in third place in the Eastern Conference, however they’re firmly entrenched in mid-table overall. Unfortunately much of their inconsistency comes on the road and with the Rapids seeking revenge for last weekend’s indiscretion, I’m tipping the home side to prevail.

Vancouver Whitecaps 17/20 | Draw 5/2 | Real Salt Lake 3/1

The Whitecaps have recorded two consecutive wins and scored three goals in each, moving to the top of the Western Conference by a point. A brace by Pa-Modou Kah helped secure a 3-0 win over the Seattle Sounders in their last outing with all three goals of the highest quality. In the process, Vancouver won the Cascadia Cup, an in-season competition between themselves, Seattle and Portland encompassing the nine MLS matches featuring the sides. Real Salt Lake scored the opening two of their ten-goal thriller with DC United and will be cursing the inability of their defence to hold the lead. Kyle Beckerman scored upon his return from the Gold Cup but letting in six at the back in inexcusable. It broke a three-match winning streak for Real Salt Lake but all of those victories came at home. They tend to lose on the road. Back Vancouver to take the spoils. 

LA Galaxy 13/20 | Draw 27/10 | Seattle Sounders 38/10

LA Galaxy came from a goal down to break a fifteen-match winless streak away from home, beating the Colorado Rapids 3-1. All of LA’s goals were scored in the second half with Sebastian Lletget grabbing the equaliser, Alan Gordon netting in the 69th minute and Robbie Keane adding another in stoppage time. The last time LA won on the road last year August, in Colorado. The signing of Giovanni dos Santos adds yet another jewel to the Galaxy’s already glittering array, the Mexican only 26-years-old and coming off a decent couple of seasons at Villarreal. Seattle have been simply awful. They were easily beaten 3-0 at home by the Whitecaps and have now lost seven of their last eight MLS matches. For the first time in the club’s history, they’ve gone goalless for four consecutive games. Even the return of talisman Clint Dempsey from the Gold Cup could not rouse the side into action. Put your money on the Galaxy and don’t look back. 

Monday 10th August

New York Red Bulls 13/20 | Draw 27/10 | New York City 39/10

Finally, a New York derby to end the week. The Red Bulls are in top form and have snuck into second on the Eastern Conference table by virtue of five wins in their last six encounters, not including friendly victories over both Chelsea and Benfica. They disposed of Philadelphia Union 3-1 at the weekend as Bradley Wright-Phillips scored the second goal from an assist from new Red Bulls arrival, brother Shaun. The elder Wright-Phillips came on as a second-half substitute and made an immediate impact on debut. David Villa continues to impress for New York City but Andrea Pirlo was largely ineffective in their home loss to Montreal. Frank Lampard made his long-awaited debut for the club but was powerless to change the final result. The Red Bulls haven’t lost to City in the last two derby meetings and are tipped to continue their dominance in the fixture

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