MLS Picks for Friday, March 31

by Taylor Smith
on March 31, 2017

Following a week that gave us just three MLS games thanks to the international break, we’re back in full swing this weekend. There are 10 MLS games on tap for this week, with only FC Dallas and Colorado taking the week off.

The festivities get kicked off on Friday with a pair of games, before seven on Saturday and a capper on Sunday night. Let’s hop right in and tell you all you need to know about Friday’s doubleheader.

Toronto FC (-0.5)
VS
Sporting Kansas City (+0.5)
Total: 2.5

Both of these clubs come into this showdown unbeaten, though each side only has one win through the first three games, as well. Toronto got into the win column two weeks ago against their rivals to the north in Vancouver, while Kansas City toppled San Jose 2-1 on the same day.

The slow start was unexpected for a Toronto team that came into the season with lofty goals. Fortunately, they’ll be back at full strength this week. Sebastian Giovinco is set to go after missing the Vancouver game with a leg contusion, while American internationals Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore are ready to feature, too.

The high-powered TFC offense will have to deal with what has looked to be a rather stingy defense on the Kansas City side. Sporting have allowed just one goal through the first three games, though on the flip side they’ve only scored two themselves.

One of their goal scorers, Benny Feilhaber, may miss this one with hamstring tightness. The malady has kept him out of training during the week, putting his status for the game into question. They also may be without Honduras international Roger Espinoza after his international duty. If both are gone, that’s two gaping holes in the KC midfield.

We haven’t seen TFC get off to their typically high-flying ways yet, but this is a good spot for them to get themselves a convincing victory.

Pick

Toronto FC
2
Sporting KC
0
Seattle Sounders (-1)
VS
Atlanta United (+1)
Total: 2.5

How ‘bout Atlanta!? They don’t have the look of an expansion club, as they’ve won two of their three games to this point and they’ve scored 11 goals along the way. They could have easily won all three, but faltered in the late stages of the season opener against New York.

Seattle, meanwhile, earned their first win of the season two weeks ago against the Red Bulls in the Sounders’ home opener, 3-1. They’re now 1-1-1 on the young season.

Unfortunately, this excellent on-paper matchup may wind up underwhelming, as both Atlanta and Seattle may be without several key contributors. Atlanta’s top goal scorer, Josef Martinez, went off injured while on international duty with Venezuela. Miguel Almiron, Carlos Carmona and Kenwyne Jones may also be out after playing for their respective international teams.

The same can be said for the Sounders. Jordan Morris had to leave his US teammates with an ankle injury, and he’s reportedly day-to-day. Nicolas Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey, Roman Torres and Joevin Jones were also out in order to play World Cup qualifiers and may not re-join the Sounders in time.

Both of these clubs have the depth necessary to potentially field a passable team this week, but it’s a shame we likely won’t get to see two of the league’s premier teams going head-to-head at full strength. With so much up in the air, this one’s a tough call. Seattle is at home, though, and their reserve pieces (Will Bruin, for example) are more proven. We’ll give the Sounders the edge.

Pick

Seattle Sounders
2
Atlanta United
1
Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, but he’s willing to take one for the team on that front every now and then.

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