Following last night’s Houston-Vancouver game to kick off the weekend, we’ve got another seven matches on tap for Saturday. The marquee matchup of the day will go down in Orlando, where the Lions will host a Sporting KC squad coming off a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Minnesota last week.
These are two of the league’s powerhouses this season, and it’ll be interesting to see if KC can rebound to hand Orlando City its first loss in the new stadium. We’ve also got some interesting clashes between Minnesota and Toronto and Chicago vs. Seattle.
Let’s tackle the slate from a bettor’s point of view.
This is as wide a betting line as we’ve had all season in MLS. Despite playing better of late, Minnesota United come into tonight’s game in Toronto as massive underdogs. Frankly, the betting line may have more to do with TFC’s form than MNUFC’s.
Toronto stumbled out the gates this season, but they’ve really turned it on recently. The Reds have won each of their last five games and they now own a league-best 22 points and sit atop the Eastern Conference. They’ve been able to overwhelm their opponents thanks to brilliant play from their stars at the top and a solid, deep bench. They look primed to get right back to the MLS Cup Final again.
MNUFC are coming off of one of the most impressive performances we’ve seen from any team all season. They toppled mighty Sporting KC last weekend, 2-0, and they’re suddenly just two points out of the West’s final playoff spot. The Loons have still conceded a league-high 25 goals, but the defense has made huge strides. MNUFC has picked up a clean sheet in two of their last three matches overall.
While Minnesota could give TFC some issues, we’ve gotta follow the money with this one and ride red-hot Toronto at home.
The Rapids were one of the league’s most pleasant surprise teams last season, but 2017 has been quite the different story. Colorado are sitting at the bottom of the league standings with just four points through their first eight games. The Rapids are 1-6-1 so far, which is easily the worst record in the league.
They made their way to the playoffs last season thanks to a stingy defense, but that hasn’t been there so far this year. Colorado has surrendered 12 goals through eight games after conceding just 32 in 34 games a season ago. They did just get goalkeeper Tim Howard back from suspension, but it’s tough to win when you don’t score goals. The Rapids have scored just five goals of their own all year long, and they’re the only club with fewer than nine so far.
San Jose, on the other hand, is steadily getting results just about every time out. They went through a bit of a lull a few weeks back that forced head coach Dom Kinnear to tinker with the formation, and it’s worked wonders. The Quakes have picked up back-to-back wins since the switch to the unconventional looking 4-3-3.
This is a series that has been dominated by the Earthquakes over the years. A Colorado victory last October snapped a 14-game unbeaten run by San Jose against the Rapids. Winning on the road is tough in this league, but we like the Quakes to keep the Rapids’ miserable ‘17 campaign going.
These two clubs engaged in a wild 4-4 draw when they met last season, so we can only hope for similar fireworks tonight when the two get together again from Olympic Park.
The Crew will be disappointed after losing on their home turf against Toronto on Wednesday. We know TFC are in excellent form, but Columbus blew a 1-0 lead they carried well into the second half before conceding a pair late. They’ll be looking to take their anger out on a vulnerable Montreal side, but their own form is a concern. The loss to TFC marked Columbus’ fifth loss in their last seven games, though they do still have 16 points on the year.
2017 has been an uneven campaign thus far for Montreal. The Impact have been unable to consistently string results together, and as a result they’re currently sitting 10th in the East. A road win in DC last weekend is encouraging, though, and the Impact will have to take advantage of their home field if they plan to make a run. Four of Montreal’s next five fixtures will go down at Olympic Park, where they’re currently 1-1-1 on the season.
We just don’t trust Columbus right now. Montreal are a better side than they’ve shown for much of the season, so we like them to get it done today.
Amazingly, the Philadelphia Union finally won a game last week. Start planning the parade route! The Union didn’t just win, they spanked the New York Red Bulls 3-0 to get into the win column for the first time in their last 15 regular season games. Can they make it two in a row this week in the nation’s capital?
CJ Sapong has pretty much just taken Jay Simpson’s job up top for Philly. He earned MLS Player of the Week honors after notching his first career hat trick against RBNY. Can he do it again today? We’ll see. The Union do have some injury concerns heading into DC, though, as Roland Alberg and Ray Gaddis may be forced to miss the game. That’ll force Jim Curtin to test his squad’s depth.
United were disappointingly beaten 1-0 by Montreal at home last week. It was already the fifth time DC have been shut out on the season, and their nine goals is the second-lowest total in the entire league. The offensive struggles have been a shock considering this team was scoring boatloads of goals down the stretch of last season. We think they’ll see some positive regression as the year goes on, though, and it could start today against a leaky Union back line.
Philly should be encouraged, but winning on the road in this league is a tough task for any club. DC have more quality than they’ve shown so far, but they’ll break through today.
Following an excellent run that saw them get four points from two games against powerhouses Portland and Dallas, Sporting Kansas City suffered the most shocking defeat of the weekend last week by losing to Minnesota, 2-0. It won’t get any easier for them this week as they’re heading down to Orlando to take on a Lions squad that’s a perfect 5-0-0 at Orlando City Stadium this season.
City will be licking its wounds, as well, after being housed 4-0 at Houston last Saturday. They’ll be eager to return home after losing back-to-back games for the first time all season. Cyle Larin will look to get back on track, as the Canadian international is currently the team’s leading scorer this season with six goals. They’ll also be buoyed by having Kaka back in the lineup, who’s scored two of his own in limited duty.
Picking up a win here will be a tall task for KC, especially without Dom Dwyer. Sporting’s talismanic striker is suspended for this game due to yellow card accumulation, which will force head coach Peter Vermes to dig into his bench. Expect KC to come into this one with a willingness to sit back and defend. Goals have been tough to come by at times, but they’ve held opponents to just five goals through 10 games.
The Lions have the players necessary to give Sporting some defensive headaches. It’s tough to see where KC’s goals will come from with Dwyer sidelined, and we like Orlando to keep the perfect home record intact.
RSL had the look of a team on the verge of turning things around, but they’ve now lost each of their last three games and haven’t been particularly competitive. RSL have been outscored 9-1 over their last three matches against Atlanta, KC and Dallas and are stuck on eight points through 10 games. They’ve struggled to score goals and the defense has been leaky. That’s not a combination that’s going to win you many games in this league.
New England has also stumbled of late, though they do get to play four of their next six matches at Gillette Stadium. They’re winless in their last five overall, but do own a solid 2-0-2 mark at home so far in ‘17. They’ve been defending poorly recently, but this is a strong get-right spot for them against a Salt Lake side in terrible form.
The Revs are heavy favorites here for a reason. And that reason is because RSL is awful.
The final game of the day is one of the weekend’s most intriguing matchups. Chicago and Seattle appear to be two clubs headed in opposite directions. The Fire seem poised to make the playoffs following an active offseason and a lengthy dry spell, while the defending MLS Cup champion Sounders haven’t gotten off the ground this season.
Chicago will be disappointed by blowing a 2-0 lead in LA last weekend, but earning a point on the road certainly isn’t the worst result in the world. They were able to pick up just a single point from their three-game road swing, but being back at Toyota Stadium tonight should help the Fire find some form. Chicago is an unbeaten 3-0-1 this season at home.
The Sounders had a chance to make a statement last week against the aforementioned red-hot Toronto FC, but faltered and fell 1-0 on their home pitch. They’ve really been all over the map with their results. They blitzed the Galaxy 3-0 on the road three weeks ago, then fell behind at home against New England by three goals before pulling back with a draw.
There is obviously enough talent in the Seattle side to eventually right the ship, but eighth place in the West on 10 points from nine games certainly isn’t where they thought they’d be at this point. We like Chicago to get back on track and take advantage of Seattle’s inconsistent form.
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