Welcome back to another edition of i80 Sports Toll booth- the best place on the web for Major League Soccer Sportsbook Picks!
This week was a great week for MLS and did we ever make money! Last article I gave out 4 picks and went 3-1 missing only the Nashville home opening tie. Here is a quick chart, for accountability purposes.
Match- DC United host Houston Dynamo
Pick- Houston Dynamo +280
This Saturday the 3-0-5 DC United face off against the 3-3-3 Houston Dynamo in Washington DC. United have had struggles which are currently being exasperated by their inability to draw this season. In fact, while they sit at the bottom of the table after 8 matches, they are only one point out of 10th place with 2 games in hand. A single draw would have changed their season outlook thus far.
The Houston Dynamo are currently in the middle of the Western Conference table with an average goal differential and a two game losing streak against Copa Tejas rivals. Their young new striker Sebastain Ferriera has been fantastic, being shown up only by veteran Darwin Quintero; both strikers are tied atop the Dynamo scoresheet with 4 goals apiece.
Key to the Match-
The Dynamo are great late in games. They have depth with players like Corey Baird, Tyler Pasher, Darwin Ceren, and Memo Rodriguez that allow coach Paulo Nagamura to make the team stronger off the bench. That is a mismatch against a DC United squad that has conceded last in almost every loss.
DC United allowed a 93’ game winner to Atlanta, three (!) goals after the 80’ mark against Austin, and an 80’ goal to the Crew in just DC’s past few games. Their inability to close out could lead to a late upset by Houston this weekend. At +280, this is a solid pick to start the weekend.
Match- NE Revolution host Columbus Crew
Pick- Columbus Crew +260
The Revolution, once the cream of the East, have fallen apart this season. They have had drama on the pitch (Charles Gil getting into it with Bruce Arena) and we have to wonder how long the losing can continue before something changes. They COULD be joined by Gustavo Bou this week, who missed time with a leg injury, but having star players at less than 100% does not inspire confidence in Foxboro this weekend.
The Crew are also having a rough start, but one that I can see turning around quickly. They have 140 shots this season, second only to LAFC. With a slight jump in QUALITY (only 27.1% of those shots landed on target) I can see the Crew returning to the fearsome form that led them to the 2020 MLS Cup.
Key to the Match-
Miguel Berry needs to score.
The Crew traded veteran forward and one-time league star Gyasi Zardes to the Colorado Rapids. This shows me that they love Berry and think he can become an everyday starter, a face that seemed predetermined last season when he scored 8 times in just 844 minutes.
Fast forward to this season, and Miguel Berry has 1 goal in 611 minutes- a far cry from his expected output. I can’t see him holding the starting job if things don’t get better. History has proven he CAN score, but now he NEEDS to score to push the Crew to an away win.
Match- FC Dallas host Seattle Sounders
Pick- Dallas -130
FC Dallas play the Seattle Sounders this weekend, and I think it is just in time for what I would otherwise consider an upset. Seattle Sounders played mid-week on their way to become the first MLS team to win the Concacaf Champions League. Combine their home field advantage with their fresher legs (and sprinkle in a little Seattle hangover) and I believe FC Dallas has a clear advantage this week.
The Seattle Sounders are 2-1-4 this season in MLS because they were obviously focused on winning the Champions League. I think they will shoot up the standings very soon, but this week they have a tough task against FC Dallas who has not lost since February.
Key to the Match-
FC Dallas have averaged 2.6 points per game at home this season, tied with LAFC for best in the league. They have a unique geographical advantage with the Texas heat, and Saturday will see highs of 93 degrees and possibly upward of 85 degrees at kickoff. This adds another layer of cramps and dehydration to the Sounders who, unfortunately, did not survive the week’s game unscathed.
Joao Paulo looks to have had significant knee damage this week, and Nouhou Tolo left with what looked like an upper thigh injury. Take Dallas this week and enjoy watching future USMNT stars Jesus Ferreira and Paxton Pomykal.
Match- San Jose Quakes host Colorado Rapids
Pick- Colorado Rapids +155
I may be the only one on the planet excited by the Colorado Rapids, so here we go. This is a team that has been on the upswing for seasons and finally put it all together in 2021. Off to a slow start THIS season, I think they are going to beat the Quakes and move up the Western Conference leaderboards this week.
Colorado addressed their striker problem a week ago with the addition of veteran Gyasi Zardes to join Jonathan Lewis, Diego Rubio, and Max Alves da Silva in what could turn out to be a potent attack. Place that on the spine consisting Mark-Anthony Kaye and Bryan Acosta at holding midfield and you have a solid base for MLS success.
Key to the Match-
San Jose has been very San Jose this season- starting only 1-3-5 and firing coach Matias Almeyda two weeks ago. They have yet to earn a point on the road and their 1.2 points average at home is almost as miserable as their 1.18 line from all of 2021.
The strength of this team is also in midfield- with Uueill and Gregus pairing up as a strong tandem. This matchup, however, will feature through ball after through ball as Rapids will look to break down the weak defensive line that has allowed a league-leading 23 goals in only 9 matches this season.
My only regret is wishing Colorado still had Kellyn Acosta instead of MAK in midfield- his long passes have had EYES and I would love to see his free kick magic one last time in this matchup.
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