For the first time this season, we’ve got a handful of MLS matches set to go down in the middle of the week. 10 teams will hit the pitch tonight, including several clubs at or near the top of their respective conferences. The premier game of the night probably goes down in Kansas City, where a struggling Sporting side will host the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders.
All five matches carry at least a little intrigue though, so let’s get started. Here’s how Wednesday’s MLS action will shake out.
The Dynamo are on the road for this one, where they’ve struggled a bit to start the season. They’ve been on fire at home, where they’re unbeaten at 6-0-1. All three of their defeats have come away from BBVA Compass Stadium, and are still searching for a road triumph. Houston will have a great chance at nabbing that elusive first road win tonight against a subpar Philadelphia Union side.
While Philly has struggled all year, they are coming off back-to-back wins. Considering those are the club’s lone two victories all season long, it’s safe to conclude they’re in their finest form of the year currently. They’re just 1-2-1 at home, but a 4-0 drubbing of DC United last week was certainly impressive. The Union have outscored United and RBNY by a combined 7-0 margin over the last two weeks, which has accounted for nearly half of their season-long goal total (15).
The Dynamo have racked up 19 goals at home, but they’ve been able to score just twice across their three away matches to this point. Both goals came in one game against Portland, and they were also shut out in Toronto and New England. Philadelphia’s defense is vulnerable, but the Union have plenty of confidence right now.
This is a great chance for Houston to end their road woes, but we like the draw here.
If there was any doubt that this Chicago team is for real, that doubt dissipated on Saturday when the Fire thrashed the Sounders by the score of 4-1. They’ve been better in their home park this season, but that’s the case for just about every team in the league. We’ve been harping on it all year, although the revamped midfield trio of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Dax McCarty and Juninho has transformed this side completely from last season to this season. They’re still 10 points off the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but that’s still a marked improvement.
The Rapids picked up a much-needed result last week at home against the Earthquakes. Pablo Mastroeni tinkered with the formation, which resulted in a season-high in goals (3) along with the club’s second clean sheet of the season. Colorado did it last season with defense, and last week’s stout showing was a positive sign to build on. They’re still sitting in the cellar of the league with just seven points through nine games, though, and Colorado will need to improve on that 0-4-0 mark away from home if they’re going to make a run.
We just aren’t going to mess with the trends. The Fire are 4-0-1 at Toyota Park and they must be as confident as any club in the league right now. This is a game they should dominate and we think they will.
After surging to the top of the Western Conference, Sporting KC have been a bit wobbly over the last few weeks. KC were shockingly beaten two weeks ago by Minnesota, though the draw they picked up last weekend in Orlando was a positive result. It was the first time all season Orlando City hadn’t won a home game, so Sporting should be pleased with a point.
The result was particularly encouraging considering KC had to play without leading scorer Dom Dwyer. Dwyer was suspended for last week’s game due to an accumulation of yellow cards, but he should be back in the starting XI tonight when Sporting host Seattle.
Speaking of Seattle, head coach Brian Schmetzer is surely looking for answers given his team’s discouraging start to the season. The Sounders haven’t won a game since April 23rd and have lost two straight coming into tonight’s game. They followed up a disappointing 1-0 loss at home to Toronto by getting smashed 4-1 last week in Chicago. Defense has largely been the problem. Seattle has racked up 15 goals through 10 games already, but they’ve conceded 16. That’s problematic.
We saw just last season that the Sounders have the kind of talent to make a late run, and they’ll need one again this season if they are to make anything of their 2017 campaign. That could start tonight by earning at least a point against a stout KC side, but that’s tough to imagine happening. KC is 4-0-1 at home this season, and we like them to run that win total to five.
NYCFC should be encouraged with last week’s performance down in Frisco, Texas. They went into FC Dallas’s park and did something just one other team has done this season – leave with at least a point. With another game set for this weekend in Orlando, there’s no telling what Patrick Vieira will do with his starting XI tonight in Salt Lake City. Andrea Pirlo could get a chance again, but we could also see striker David Villa get a night off. Regardless of who starts, one would imagine there’s enough talent in the NYCFC side to get past a struggling RSL team.
Were it not for the Colorado Rapids, RSL would have the worst record in MLS right now. They’ve gathered just eight points from their first 11 games this season, though they’re not even close to being out of the playoff race yet. If Real can start stringing some results together, they can easily make up the current five-point gap between them and Vancouver.
Of course, saying that is easier than doing that. RSL hasn’t exactly put on a show for the home fans of late, as they’ve gone just 1-4-4 over their last nine games at Rio Tinto Stadium. NYC are 2-2-1 on the road this season, which is one of the better away records in the league. The draw is possible, but we like NYCFC to get out with all three points.
This week will prove to be quite the test for Orlando City. After being held to a 2-2 draw at home by Sporting KC over the weekend, the Lions will fly all the way across the country to take on a stout San Jose Earthquakes side in California tonight. Afterward, they’ll fly all the way back to Orlando to face NYCFC at home this Sunday. That’s a lot of air mileage.
Orlando City certainly have the talent to take down the Quakes, but San Jose has turned Avaya Stadium into something of a fortress so far, this season. The Earthquakes have gone 3-0-2 in their home park thus far, which seems to signal a massive improvement over last year’s underwhelming 7-3-7 mark at home. They’ll be eager to rebound from last week’s whimper of a 3-0 defeat at Colorado. Results have been all over the map for the Quakes lately, but they’re in a good spot against a potentially jet-lagged Orlando side today.
Orlando City still sit third place in the Eastern Conference, but their last few weeks have been underwhelming. After winning six of their first seven games this season, the Lions have secured just a single point from their last three matches. Two of those came in tough road environments in Houston and Toronto, but the lack of form for this side on the road must be a concern. Orlando City is 5-0-1 at home, but just 1-3-0 away.
We like San Jose tonight. Vegas does too, which certainly limits the value in betting on this one.
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