Dave Farrar predicts the winning Earthquakes run will come to an end, another setback for dismal Chicago Fire and Minnesota causing an upset in LA...
“I think that the Rapids are a bit better than that, and on an upward curve, so I’ll take them to make it back to back wins.”
End of the road for San Jose
Colorado Rapids v San Jose Earthquakes
Neither the Colorado Rapids nor the San Jose Earthquakes are teams that tend to divert the attention of the average MLS fan for too long, but both pulled off big wins last weekend, and have given themselves the chance of strong finishes to the season.
San Jose's win at FC Dallas was remarkable. A first away victory of the season, and one that was achieved at a team that is on top of the Western Conference and that hadn't previously lost at home in this campaign. Now San Jose head for a Colorado team who are themselves bouncing after their comeback win against the LA Galaxy.
So, can San Jose back up a third win of the season with number four? I suspect not, as they were fortunate to win at Dallas, benefiting from a nightmarish display from the home team's goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.
Colorado have gained a good deal of quality with the arrival of Kellyn Acosta from FC Dallas. It was a surprise that one of the brightest young US talents would head for a struggling team, but Acosta has already made a serious impression, scoring in both of his appearances so far, and producing big performances from those around him, such as the Scot Sam Nicholson.
At a quick glance, this looks like a meeting between two poor teams who got lucky last week, but I think that the Rapids are a bit better than that, and on an upward curve, so I'll take them to make it back to back wins.
Chicago Fire fizzling out
Chicago Fire v New York Red Bulls
A much-changed Chicago Fire team lost at Real Salt Lake last week, and after a midweek US Open Cup semi-final defeat in Philadelphia, they face a New York Red Bulls team who bounced back to form with a win against LAFC.
Not that Chris Armas' team had much bouncing back to do. They've now won seven of their last nine MLS games and that home defeat against Columbus a fortnight ago can legitimately be put down to complacency and poor fortune. I doubt they'll make that mistake again.
The Red Bulls are shaping up as a real contender in the Supporters Shield and their key players are finding form at a perfect time.
Not just the much talked about Bradley Wright-Phillips, but the likes of Daniel Royer as well, and they should be much too good for a Chicago team that looks short of ideas, and failed to produce any kind of display on Wednesday in the game that could have saved their season.
The Fire have now lost six in a row in MLS, and while they won in New Jersey earlier in the season, the Red Bulls are a much livelier prospect now. Veljko Paunovic is under serious pressure in Chicago now that his team is fading from the Play Off picture, and a seventh consecutive defeat here could leave him hurtling towards a November exit. Sadly for him, that looks more than likely.
Gamble on Minnesota
LA Galaxy v Minnesota United
Odd though it may sound for a team that has lost two games in a row, I still think that Minnesota United are one of the best sides in MLS at the moment, and I think that they can cause a San Jose style shock at LA Galaxy this weekend.
Minnesota had won three home games in a row before they travelled to Vancouver two weeks ago, and it was only because of an inspired Alphonso Davies performance that they were beaten there. Last weekend, they returned home and controlled the game against an in-form Seattle Sounders, before losing thanks to two post-90th minute goals.
It could so easily be five wins in a row, and they now head to an LA Galaxy team that can welcome back Zlatan Ibrahimovic after injury kept him out last week. The Galaxy were poor in their defeat against Colorado, and you can't take an Ibrahimovic masterclass for granted. If he doesn't fire, then LA could be in trouble, and they've already lost four home games this season.
The Galaxy are still the likelier winners, but a Minnesota team inspired by the wonderful Darwin Quintero should not be trading at [6.8], and I'm happy to take them as a third bet of the weekend. I'll admit that it's a bit of a flyer, but one that's worth risking at the prices on offer.
Staked: 66 points
Returned: 80.23 points
P/L +14.23 points
Back Colorado Rapids to beat San Jose Earthquakes @ [2.2]
Back New York Red Bulls to beat Chicago Fire @ [2.1]
Back Minnesota United to beat LA Galaxy @ [6.8]