Welcome back to another edition of i80 Sports Toll booth- the best place on the web for Major League Soccer Sportsbook Picks!
Doesn't it feel great to get back into Major League Soccer? Even better- winning 3 our of 4 picks and landing in the cash for our first week of 2022. Our success of 2021 will be hard to duplicate- but let's track my picks from last week and see how I did.
Starting the season up .96 units isn't shabby. Let's get right into this week's Picks!
Match- Toronto FC host New York Red Bulls
Pick- New York Red Bulls +170
Red Bulls looked great last week- scoring three goals despite only 31.2% possession. What was most promising, however, was the 18 shots and 7 shots on goal they took while seeing much less of the ball.
With Ayo Akinola out, Toronto will turn to Jesus Jimenez to try and score against a Red Bulls team that surrendered only 33 goals last season. Alejandro Pozuelo looks bored, tired, or uninterested and has yet to make a difference in this year’s young campaign.
Key to the Match-
I take the young Red Bulls side to be athletic, fit, and competitive in each game this season. While we have yet to see how the youth match up against more experienced (and frankly, more skilled) teams, I don’t expect that to be a problem against this Toronto FC squad.
The Red Bulls will press, as they do, and look to turn their opponent’s mistakes into points when they head up to BMO Field this weekend. I love +170 on a team that I would consider a favorite to win this weekend.
Match- Sporting KC host Houston Dynamo
Pick- Sporting KC -160
Sporting KC is coming off a 3-1 loss to Atlanta in the season opener and is looking for some hometown magic in their return to Children’s Mercy Park this weekend. Some positives from last game, however, include holding possession against a GOOD Atlanta United team and Daniel Salloi getting on the scorecard early.
The Houston Dynamo will go into this matchup after going scoreless in their first game- a 0-0 draw against Real Salt Lake. New center forward Sebastian Ferreira was not able to find the net in his first appearance and will look to face off against a Sporting KC defense that was outmatched against the firepower of Atlanta United
Key to the Match-
This game will go to the team that has the most successful wing play. While I talk a lot about Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russel on the Sporting KC attack, Houston added speed in Corey Baird to pair with Fafa Picault on the outside of their 5 man midfield formation.
Houston’s defense did well to hold off Real Salt Lake in week 1, but Tim Parker and Daniel Steres won’t have enough to keep the Sporting KC stars from doing what they do- scoring goals.
Match- FC Cincinnati host DC United
Pick- DC United +110
FC Cincinnati got off to a great start defending their Wooden Spoon with a poor showing in Austin where they conceded 5 and failed to score. In that match they were behind from the second minute and made one of the most questionable 2021 offenses, Austin FC, look like a MLS powerhouse.
DC United themselves will take their week 1 victory but I will tally that in the “unproven” column; Charlotte really MIGHT just be that bad. It was, however, promising to see Michael Estrada score both from the penalty spot and the run of play. Anytime your newest forward acquisition hits a brace in his first match is a time to celebrate.
Key to the Match-
Of all the places I think DC United will outplay Cincy, and there are many, their biggest advantage is in net. While people around the league like to tease DC’s Bill Hamid (cue the Olympic Theme?) he is a respected MLS goalie, allowing 1.29 goals against per 90 and a 73.8% career save percentage.
Alec Kann on the other hand is a journeyman- playing in Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, and around the USL since 2014. He has less impressive stats (71.1% save percentage and allowing 1.48 goals per 90) against MUCH lesser opponents. Allowing 5 goals in the season opener is not how he wanted to start this season, and I would assume DC United finds at least three more this week.
Match- Charlotte FC host LA Galaxy
Pick- LA Galaxy +115
This weekend's match in Charlotte will be electric- almost 75,000 fans will attend the franchise's first home match after already showing overwhelming road support this week. Charlotte wants football, and they are going to be an awesome new fanbase to join the league.
Galaxy, on the other hand, are coming in hot. Fresh off a 1-0 victory against NYCFC they will look to take 6 points against Eastern Conference teams in their first two weeks of play. Their next few games are against tough Western Conference opponents in Seattle, LAFC, and Timbers, so this game will be important to them starting 2022 on the right foot.
Key to the Match-
If the Galaxy employ the same formation and tactics as their opener against NYCFC, the right side of their attack is going to feature Douglas Costa and Chicharito.
As much as fans (and the camera) have loved Christian Fuchs this preseason, I don't see anyone in this backline slowing down what the Galaxy have to offer. They will play this like a scrimmage and get their offense tuned up for a Western Conference run.
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