Welcome back to another edition of i80 Sports Toll booth- the best place on the web for Major League Soccer Sportsbook Picks!
Match- Charlotte FC host Philadelphia Union
Pick- Philadelphia +140
While Charlotte FC has one of the biggest home field advantages around MLS, those numbers are largely skewed because of their horrible .69 points per game on the road. This week they have a tough test as the league’s best, the Philadelphia Union, come to town.
Philadelphia is formidable in their own right, and have not taken their foot off the gas since locking in the 1 seed in the Eastern Conference; they are 6-1-1 in their last 8 matches, including two away wins during that span.
Key to the Match-
I feel like Philadelphia is still fine tuning the offensive machine that leads the league with 68 goals this season, and they see Charlotte without Christain Fuchs (suspension) this weekend. Even if they decide to heavily rotate, they have 5 players with 6+ goals and should easily put in a few this week.
As a side note, Charlotte should be proud of a good expansion season. Philadelphia Union, however, will put the nail in their coffin this weekend.
Match- FC Cincinnati host Chicago Fire
Pick- Cincinnati -145
As a general rule, I like to avoid any odds under -120 for soccer matches, but this one is just too good to resist. With Cincinnati controlling their own destiny, and very likely to see extra play this MLS postseason, I think they are likely going to win against the Chicago Fire in Cincinnati this week.
Chicago was able to play spoilers on the road this summer, with wins in Vancouver and Charlotte. However, I think this team is looking to next season. Their offseason moves, signing Shaqiri and attaining Przybylko, seem more like follies now as their 9-8-15 record reflects more questions than answers.
Key to the Match-
To me, the question isn’t if Cincinnati will lose, but whether they might end the match with a draw. Of their 18 matches since June 19th, 12 have ended with no result (rivaling Nashville’s draw streak from last season).
With attackers like Brenner and Brandon Vazquez combining for 31 goals and 10 assists (and Luciano Acosta adding 8 goals and 12 assists) this top attacking trio in MLS should fare well against Chicago this weekend.
Match- LA Galaxy host Real Salt Lake
Pick- LA Galaxy -160
After a recent 0-1-3 stretch, Real Salt Lake finds themselves on the outside of the MLS Cup Playoff race looking in. Meanwhile, their week 33 opponent, the LA Galaxy, have two games to catch up one point and overcome Nashville and earn a home playoff match.
And while RSL have had an average season at 11-10-11, their offense has left much to be desired. They scored only 39 time this season, second lowest in the Western Conference. This week they will once again have an offensive “Plan C” this week, with Damir Kreilach and Bobby Wood both listed as “out” for this match.
Their opponent, the LA Galaxy, may be the healthiest they’ve been all season; Chicharito, Vazquez, and the newly acquired Puig looked plugged in and ready to go.
Key to the Match-
Sometimes it is as easy as picking the better team in better form. Galaxy should have a good weekend at home, although they are no longer in control of their own destiny in finding a home playoff match. This one should secure a playoff berth, which is step one.
Match- Columbus Crew host Red Bull NY
Pick- Columbus +115
The New York Red Bulls have quietly had a good season, even if the supporters are too busy lamenting another barren transfer window and an unceremoniously crashing out of the Lamar Hunt Open Cup (to rivals NYCFC, no less).
This week is not about RBNY, however, but is instead about the Columbus Crew finishing their redemption tour strong; looking ahead at securing the final spot in the Easter Conference Playoffs.
Key to the Match-
Cincinnati has been good at home, recently, without defeat in 5 matches and beating NYCFC and Miami during that span. This week, they could do well against the tough RBNY press with highly skilled players such as Lucas Zelarayan (Cucho will be out serving a suspension).
One would only need to turn on a USMNT game to see how Aaron Long is not the Aaron Long of old, and I find it hard to see this defense keeping Columbus out of the net. RBNY has scored twice only 3 times in their last 12 matches, so one goal MIGHT be all it takes for Columbus to secure a positive result.
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