Thank you all for joining me on this ride- with this I complete my mission of 27 Major League Soccer Sportsbook Articles in 2021! We did not cover every matchday, but we did publish one article each week (for weekend games) for the entire 2021 regular season!
This weekend featured some unpredictable games- we lost almost 3.5 units, but still have a total of +44.37 units on the season. Let's finish strong and get after it- here are our DECISION DAY Sportsbook picks.
Match- Columbus Crew host Chicago Fire
Pick- Columbus -200 (and rising)
This is the interesting match of the week- Columbus Crew need a win and miracle- every other team losing AND them scoring enough to overtake RBNY in goal differential. However unlikely that may be, they still have something to play for- and the reigning MLS Cup Winner is coming off of a two game win streak.
Now, we talk about the Chicago Fire.
Fire came in rough- losing 7 of their first 9 games before a hopeful midsummer stretch. Since then, they fired coach Raphael Wicky AND now news is coming out that the Fire organization told SEVEN players including 6 every-game starters they would not be re-signed next season- and we expect those players to sit.
Chicago will also be without Francisco Calvo who will be traveling to the Costa Rican National Team AND Gaston Gimenez who will be with his wife who will soon give birth.
Key to the Match-
It is difficult to pick a team who may not be able to field a viable team, and that is exactly how I see the Chicago Fire.
Columbus Crew are going to be locked and loaded- they will not want to leave their year as defending champions on a bad note. I don’t expect a miracle to bring them into the postseason, but they still want to win their last home game as MLS Champions.
Match- NYCFC host Philadelphia Union
Pick- NYCFC -140
This match features two playoff teams vying for a top spot in the MLS Cup Playoff who are both excellent at home and mediocre on the road. NYCFC has averaged 2.06 points at home this season while Philadelphia has averaged only 1.06 points on the road.
Let’s add to the mix that NYCFC is red hot- winning their last three games, albeit against lesser opponents in DC United, Chicago, and Miami. This is their first test before the playoffs and NYCFC will look to use home field advantage to feel out their chances against top tier teams.
Key to the Match-
Philadelphia likes to use long passes including crosses and set pieces to create chances- including using Kacper Przybylko as a large weapon inside the box. I don’t think that plays very well in Yankee Stadium. They will need to play NYCFC’s game with short passes and playing through the middle instead of the wings.
I expect NYCFC to control the game and leave with 3 points at home.
Match- Toronto FC host DC United
Pick- DC United +130
DC United looked to be a dark horse to make the playoffs before dropping 3 of their last 4 games. Where we sit now, DC United needs a win and help to make the MLS Cup Playoffs- including RBNY losing to Nashville, and Montreal losing or tying Orlando.
Those scenarios are definitely all possible.
Toronto drew their last three games and is winless in their last 5. They are also the second to last team in the league at home- only Cincinnati is worse at getting home points. Looking at who they are playing without (Ayo Akinola, Ralph Priso, Yeferson Soteldo) I expect Toronto to drop points at home in what could be Jozy Altidore’s MLS swan song.
Key to the Match-
Both teams here are going to look to counterattack and both teams will look to play an offside trap. HOWEVER, I would look at DC to get a result as they are the more aggressive team AND considering Toronto leads the league with 68 offside calls.
Something tells me Ola Kamara will do what he does best- scoring on penalty kicks, as he looks to move back up to first in the golden boot chase.
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