Major League Soccer: Round 20 Preview

MLS Betting Preview

Our new soccer writer previews the Major League Soccer midweek action kicking off this Wednesday.

Last week, Eastern Conference table toppers, Chicago Fire's 4-0 drubbing of Vancouver Whitecaps saw them move into first place ahead of Toronto FC. That was their first ever eighth straight win at home. Elsewhere, Toronto FC relinquished top spot after being clobbered 3-1 at FC Dallas.

Speaking of Dallas, they have made the Western Conference very exciting. They now lie second, four points adrift of top-placed Sporting Kansas City with two games in hand. There's pressure all over the table with teams hoping to finish in the top six to participate in the MLS Cup, others battling it out for the top two positions in their respective conferences to avoid having to play off for a spot in the coveted competition.

Wednesday 5 June

Atlanta United FC 13/20 | Draw 28/10 | San Jose Earthquakes 37/10 (01:00)

Eastern Conference outfit Atlanta United, who are currently fifth on their conference log take on the San Jose Earthquakes who lie fourth on the Western Conference standings. Fresh from a 2-0 win over Columbus Crew, Atlanta will be looking to cement their place in the top six in order to be able to reach the play-offs for the MLS Cup. Before their victory, over Columbus Crew, they had suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Miami FC. These two results epitomise their story over the last ten games. They have been very inconsistent.

San Jose Earthquakes come flying into this match. They’re unbeaten in five games, winning four and drawing only one. In that period, they have found the back of the net on eight occasions - conceding three goals in the process. I foresee a narrow win for San Jose Jose.

Minnesota United 16/10 | Draw 49/20 | Columbus Crew 15/10 (01:00)

Minnesota United are second from the bottom of the Western Conference log. They go into this match on the back of a 3-1 loss to New York City FC. In their last five games, they have recorded only one victory. They have conceded 12 goals in five games which clearly underlines the weakness of their defence.

Columbus Crew lie sixth on the Eastern Conference standings. They are two points clear of the seventh-placed New York Red Bulls. All they need to do in this match is to grind out a win or at least avoid a defeat to stay in the top six. The only problem they have is inconsistency but I think at this time they are a far more superior team that their opponents. I’m backing Columbus to win convincingly.

FC Dallas 7/20 | Draw 7/2 | DC United 13/2 (02:30)

FC Dallas are second on the Western Conference table. They are only three points adrift of table-topping Sporting Kansas City, having played two games less. They need nothing short of a victory to start converting those games in hand into points to catch up with their rivals.

Dallas are unbeaten in their last five games while DC United are rooted to the foot of the Eastern Conference table. They’ve only won one of their last five matches, losing the other four. They take into this game a goal difference of -18. This should be a comfortable win for Dallas.

Colorado Rapids 29/20 | Draw 43/20 | Seattle Sounders FC 18/10 (03:00)

Colorado Rapids know very well that they might be ninth on the Western Conference log but there’s very little separating them from the sixth position. They have 19 points and sixth-placed LA Galaxy have 22. The race for MLS Cup play-off spots is still wide open. Their most recent result, a 3-1 win against Houston Dynamo was a much-needed morale booster.

The Seattle Sounders are eighth on the log, just two points ahead of their opponents. A defeat would see them being leapfrogged. I foresee them employing a very cautious approach to the game. A draw would not be a bad result for them but a win would be better as it would have serious repercussions in the battle to finish in the top six. This will be a cagey affair and a draw is the likely outcome.

LA Galaxy 8/10 | Draw 26/10 | Real Salt Lake 28/10 (04:30)

LA Galaxy who occupy sixth place on the Western Conference log will keep in mind the fact that there’s no margin for error as the chasing pack is breathing down their necks. They’re a free-scoring team but they have also been generous to their opponents. They have scored 26 goals so far this
season and that’s exactly the same amount of goals they’ve conceded.

Real Salt Lake are at the bottom of the log. Their defensive frailties are absolutely astonishing. They have conceded 38 goals in 19 games. I also don’t think they have a strong enough squad to turn their fortunes around. A wounded tiger will always be dangerous but LA Galaxy, who have something to play for, are likely to triumph in this particular encounter.

Thursday 6 July

New England Revolution 1/1 | Draw 24/10 | New York Red Bulls 49/20 (01:30)

The New England Revolution lie second from the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. On Sunday they were thrashed 3-0 by Philadelphia who are only two spots above them. New England are known for causing upsets against the giants but they always struggle against the so-called small teams.

The New York Red Bulls haven’t had the best of seasons. They are a team that can beat anyone and can be beaten by anyone. They have just progressed to the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup after beating Philadelphia on penalties. This is more likely to end in a draw.

Orlando City  | Draw | Toronto FC (01:30)

Orlando City are playing with little pressure. They are fourth on the Eastern Conference log and there’s no imminent threat to crash out of the top six. On the other hand, finishing in the top two would be miraculous. They beat Real Salt Lake 1-0 on Saturday, which I think was a good
reaction to the 4-0 drubbing that they were handed by top of the table Chicago Fire.

Toronto FC are Chicago Fire’s nearest pursuers with only two points separating the duo. They will be hoping to win the one and pray that Chicago drop points in order to leapfrog them into first place. Toronto have only lost three of their 18 games so far. They dropped points this past weekend
after losing 3-1 to FC Dallas. This is a top of the table clash and we’re in for a treat. I reckon Toronto will edge Orlando City out.

Houston Dynamo 8/10 | Draw 26/10 | Montreal Impact 3/1 (02:30)

Houston Dynamo currently lie fifth on the Western Conference standings. They have inexplicably failed to register a single victory in the last five games. They are a team currently on a downward spiral. This is their chance to turn the corner.

Montreal Impact have been blowing hot and cold the whole season. They are oozing with confidence though ahead of this encounter, on the back of a 2-0 victory over FC Dallas. Houston Dynamo are going through a rough patch but I reckon they will turn the corner in this game. I’m backing them to win.

Vancouver Whitecaps 12/10 | Draw 24/10 | New York City FC 2/1

The Vancouver Whitecaps were demolished 4-0 by Chicago Fire this past weekend but to be honest, they lost to a very good side. The Whitecaps currently lie seventh on the Western Conference log and all they have to play for is to break into the top six to have a chance to participate in the MLS
Cup. Before being embarrassed by Chicago Fire they had played two consecutive draws.

New York City FC are third on the log and are hoping to finish in the top two to avoid playing off for the MLS Cup. They are really in good form, having won all their last three games. City are better equipped to win this one than their opponents.

Portland Timbers 23/20 | Draw 24/10 | Chicago Fire 22/10 (04:30)

Portland Timbers will have it hard against the Eastern Conference table toppers. Portland have only one win in their last five matches. They lie third on the Western Conference log. They are a very good side but they’re off form. Breaking into the top two to avoid playing off for the MLS Cup is their main goal.

Chicago Fire top the Eastern Conference standings. They continued firing on all cylinders this past Sunday, thrashing Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0. Chicago Fire will be looking to consolidate their top spot in this game against the Western Conference’s third-placed team. This will be an evenly matched encounter and I think Chicago will outscore their opponents.

Sporting Kansas City 6/10 | Draw 28/10 | Philadelphia Union 17/4 (02:30)

High-flying Sporting Kansas City top the Western Conference log. Sporting KC last tasted defeat at the end of May, after which they’ve gone seven matches unbeaten. Nothing should stop the Philadelphia Union from coming out all guns blazing. They are eighth on the log, three points adrift of sixth-placed Columbus Crew, with two games in hand. They will be looking to catch up for sure. This should be an exciting encounter and I’m expecting a surprise win for the Philadelphia Union.

FC Dallas
New York City
Sporting Kansas City

Written by Benedict Ngwenya for

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