Dave Farrar predicts Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact will crumble again, while Tata Martino's Atlanta provide great odds on overs...
“The Crew are now unbeaten in seven, and haven’t conceded a goal in their last five, and they face a TFC side who are looking increasingly desperate”
TFC slide continues
Columbus Crew v Toronto FC
I was hoping that Toronto's reputation would see Columbus trading at odds against to win this, and so it has proved. The Crew are now unbeaten in seven, and haven't conceded a goal in their last five, and they face a TFC side who are looking increasingly desperate.
The excuse of the CONCACAF Champions League is now a fading memory, and fans of the reigning MLS Cup winners have to accept that their team is a shell of what it was last season. The absence of Jozy Altidore certainly weakens them, but they've been short all around the field this season, and deserve to be where they are, towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
TFC have now lost three of their last four games and are yet to win a point on their travels in MLS this season. The Crew have already beaten them away from home in this campaign, and the only issue facing Gregg Berhalter's team is the absence through suspension of Federico Higuain. He is a vital string puller for them, but they're good enough and confident enough to overcome his absence.
The bare facts of this game are that Columbus are very strong defensively, as their record shows, and Toronto are going to struggle to break them down. Sebastian Giovinco MAY recapture his best form, but that's a risk worth taking, and with Gyasi Zardes in terrific shape for the Crew, they're always likely to find a way through.
I see this as low scoring, with Columbus keeping up their excellent record, and more than likely winning to nil.
Montreal Impact v Houston Dynamo
I know one or two people very close to the Montreal Impact who were shaking their heads at the actions of Remi Garde last weekend. After the defeat in Minnesota, Garde deciding to criticise his team, and seemingly lay the blame for the Impact's start to the season at their door, rather than his.
These seemed like the actions of a desperate Coach, and now the Impact welcome a free scoring Houston Dynamo side who have a point to prove after they fell at RSL in midweek.
This will be the Dynamo's fourth road game in their last five, and they've played well in the previous three, winning in Chicago and then returning to Texas to beat NYCFC.
Travel sickness and the quick turnaround is obviously something to factor in, but Montreal look so disjointed at the moment that I think even a 60% Houston has a chance of beating them. It's now 382 minutes since Montreal scored a goal, and their confidence looks to be waning in every game.
Houston have their flaws in terms of concentration, especially late on in games, but they're a thrilling attacking side, spearheaded by Alberth Elis, who has now scored eight times this season. They look big to me at [2.9] to win here, and hasten the exit of Garde.
The powers that be at Montreal are extremely ambitious, are possibly regretting their decision to sack Mauro Biello, and are having their patience tested. It may well be tested some more this weekend.
Excitement in Atlanta
Atlanta United v Philadelphia Union
Live on Sky Sports Football
Finally, we head to the Mercedes Benz Stadium, where Atlanta United look to bring to an end their run of two games without a win against a Philadelphia Union team who are in decent form. The Union have won three of their last four and will be full of confidence after an impressive victory against Chicago.
All but one of Atlanta's home games this season has had at least four goals, and with that possibility trading at around [2.3], I think that we should take advantage. Tata Martino's all out attacking style is well suited by the bets atmosphere in MLS, and with the Union likely to play their part, we should have a high scoring game.
The bare facts tell you that the Union are more prolific at home than away, but they've missed a lot of chances on their travels lately, notably in New England, and they're more than likely to score here against a team that can't quite decide on its best defensive line-up.
Atlanta, though, possess the aces: the excellent Miguel Almiron and the current top scorer in MLS Josef Martinez. The two have been a little sketchy in recent weeks and are due big performances. I think they'll come this weekend, in a high scoring win for the home side.
Staked: 39 points
Returned: 44.14 points
P/L: + 5.14 points
Back Columbus Crew to beat TFC @ [2.02]
Back Houston Dynamo to beat Montreal Impact @ [2.9]
Back Over 3.5 Goals in Atlanta United v Philadelphia Union @ [2.3]