Dave Farrar predicts it'll be another struggle for Bob Bradley's team in Canada and is sticking with the tried and tested Atlanta goals bet...
“I was fully expecting the home team to be odds on for this, and am shocked that they’re not, which makes the Whitecaps at home against a fading LAFC the bet of the week.”
Vancouver revved up
Vancouver Whitecaps v LAFC
LAFC looked desperately tired in their defeat by Atlanta last week, and while three late goals added an unrepresentative gloss to the scoreline, I'm still keen to oppose Bob Bradley's team as they head to Canada.
LAFC have had to start their MLS existence on the road, and the travel is starting to tell. Their Banc of California Stadium will open on April 29 and it really can't come soon enough. They did wonderfully well to win their opening two games, but that turnaround defeat against the LA Galaxy has hurt them, and I don't expect them to have recovered by this weekend.
Diego Rossi looked leggy last week, Carlos Vela played well in patches, and Benny Feilhaber was another who looked weary in the midfield. These are key men, and with very few options off the bench, fatigue will soon be a major factor for Bradley. They'll also have to do without the suspended Joao Moutinho, which leaves them with a difficult hole to fill at left-back.
As for Vancouver, they're thrilled to be back at home after their road trip and their coach Carl Robinson has been rotating the team and able to keep the squad fresh. Vancouver are honest and hard working, and will once again be major contenders for the post season.
I was fully expecting the home team to be odds on for this, and am shocked that they're not, which makes the Whitecaps at home against a fading LAFC the bet of the week.
Dallas done riding their luck
New England Revolution v FC Dallas
After their chaotic pre-season, and such a poor performance in their opening game at Philadelphia, I expect the campaign to be a real struggle for the New England Revolution.
They have roared back with three wins out of four, and have played some really impressive football. They've now scored six unanswered goals in their last two games, and a forward line of Teal Bunbury, Diego Fagundez, Cristian Penilla and Wilfried Zahibo looks as threatening as any in MLS at the moment.
The Revs are also all powerful at home: they've won nine of their last eleven games at Foxboro, and I think that they'll keep that going against an FC Dallas team who have been getting away with it in this campaign.
The headline news is that they're unbeaten, which is why New England are available at [2.28], but they've been poor: their one win came against a drained Seattle, they should have lost to Portland, and then scored in the last minute to equalise last week against Colorado.
Their record might look and sound good, but three draws out of four against weak opposition, all at home, is hugely unimpressive. They're reliant on Mauro Diaz who can get isolated, and just don't have enough scoring options in front of him to create any real danger.
The Revs look a massive price, and need to be backed here.
Tata's boys on target again
Atlanta United v NYCFC
Live on Sky Sports Football
Tipping goals in Atalanta games is becoming predictable, and we were actually quite fortunate last week that three goals arrived late on against LAFC, but with these two set to do battle for supremacy at the top of the East, I can't see anything other than a shower of goals at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
NYCFC have scored at least twice in every MLS game so far this season, and they welcome back David Villa as a starter for this one, along with Alexander Ring, who is such an important midfield runner.
They'll feel that they can get in behind Atlanta, who look wide open defensively, but in turn Tata Martino's team will look to overpower NYCFC. You can't quibble with Josef Martinez's phenomenal goal-scoring record, nor the creative input of Miguel Almiron, and while I feel that Atlanta still miss Yamil Asad, who was their most subtle creative talent, they'll still go close this season.
And with a massive crowd to roar them on in one of the great footballing venues, it's hard to see how that atmosphere won't inspire them again, and give us a thriller. Atlanta's first five games have now given us 19 goals (including that scrappy 1-0 win in a snowy Minnesota), and while they're fresh, it's worth staying on that bandwagon, especially against an NYCFC side who have a similar approach.
Staked: 18 points
Returned: 18.70 points
P/L: +0.70 points