Welcome back to another edition of i80 Sports Toll booth- the best place on the web for Major League Soccer Sportsbook Picks!
Last week was a struggle. It was also the first time in my career as a writer that I went 0-4 on MLS picks! I wish not to dwell on the past. Here is a recap of last week's picks, for accountability.
It is difficult losing picks when you are so dialed in. Let's make up for it this week with a great group of games!
Match- Orlando City host Red Bull NY
Pick- Orlando +125
This weekend, Orlando City hosts RBNY in what I would usually call an even match. However, form and frequency are two strikes for the RBNY side that just started their best 11 in a midweek Open Cup match in Hartford. Before that win, Red Bulls had only scored 3 times in their previous 5 games and now look to set things right and find a goal scorer.
Orlando City, on the other hand, has won 2 straight league matches- against Columbus and Chicago, and improved to 4-2-2 on the young season. They have two forwards, Ercan Kara and Alexandre Pato, who have both been impressive while sharing time in the spotlight.
Key to the Match-
Orlando is the fresher team, starting only a few of their best 11 in their midweek Open Cup matchup. They will be far fresher than RBNY who will only have 3 days to travel and put together a squad for this match.
I expect Orlando to be as good at home this year (or better) than last, when they had a 22% home field advantage by scoring 17% more and conceding 27% less in Exploria Stadium. At +125 this is a pick with little risk and a good reward.
Match- Sporting KC host Columbus Crew
Pick- Sporting KC +130
Sporting KC are one of the many Western Conference teams from last year’s playoffs that are currently outside the top 7. Their miserable start at 2-2-3 has been due to a lack of scoring (partially the absence of Alan Pulido) and exacerbated by their tough early travel schedule. In fact, their -8 goal differential in 8 matches played is tied for last in MLS, with only Inter Miami and Vancouver Whitecaps having an equally poor start. Luckily, they begin a two game homestand this week against the Columbus Crew in a game that should be winnable.
Columbus Crew are also struggling at 2-2-3 this season and, with their midweek loss to Detroit City, now on a four game losing streak. It has now also been 6 games without a Miguel Berry goal, as they are relying heavily on goals from Lucas Zelarayan this season. This should add some fuel to the “start Zardes” argument; meanwhile his talents were wasted in this loss to Detroit midweek.
Key to the Match-
If Sporting KC is going to get a win, they need to get some goals. I am looking, in particular, at Johnny Russell. His matchup should play out well; the left footed right winger should pair up against converted winger Pedro Santos at fullback. While Santos has been VERY good at left back since undertaking a forced position change last year, he doesn't get matched up with this kind of skill every week.
Match- Cincinnati FC host LAFC
Pick- LAFC +100
LAFC is perhaps one of the only expected teams atop the Western Conference. With their 5-1-1 record, 17 goals, and news this week that Carlos Vela will likely sign an extension, this team should be firing on all cylinders. They are currently also sporting the best goal differential, at +10, and the most goals in MLS, with 17.
FC Cincinnati has been much improved this season, even having a two game winning streak in march. However, they still face roster problems (qeue the Brenner milk-carton jokes) and can’t score outside of Brandon Vazquez who has 5 of the teams 7 goals this season. They CAN play ball, but are not in the same league as their LAFC opponent, whom they have only played once this season.
Key to the Match-
This is a cut-and-dry LAFC win for me. At even money this is the discount of the week.
Match- SJ Earthquakes host Seattle Sounders
Pick- Seattle +160
This week’s YouTube video will host a lot of talk about the recent downfall of the Quakes and the firing of Matias Almeyda, their coach of four seasons. Make sure you click the links at the top of this page to find our audio and video links.
With that plug aside, we can give you the abridged version- Quakes are a mess, their man marking didn't work, and we won't know what they are bringing to the table.
Seattle is a team we CAN be sure about. At 2-1-3 they are disappointing fans and need to get up the table before a quarter of the season is gone. They will be resting starters with the all-important CCL final against Pumas later this week, but should STILL have enough firepower to take out the Quakes.
Key to the Match-
The real question here is HOW MANY.
How many players will Seattle sit? How many goals can San Jose score? How many games can Seattle lose before we start to worry?
The answer is this- any given week at +160 we are taking Seattle here. They have Brian Schmetzer and a true gameplan. They have subs who can step in and perform at a high level. They should be favorites this week.
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