Philadelphia Union v Orlando City
Two form sides meet in the first match to kick off in the MLS in the early hours of Sunday morning when the runaway leaders of the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia Union, play host to the newly crowned US Open Cup champions Orlando City.
That victory over Sacramento to give the Lions their first piece of silverware as an MLS franchise only took place on Wednesday night and you would imagine they would have rightly celebrated the victory. They won’t be able to dwell on that success for too long because despite four wins in succession in MLS, Orlando are not yet locked in for the play-offs so they can’t afford to drop away now.
You would imagine there will be some heavy legs in the Orlando players here though and that spells trouble when you consider they are going to a Philadelphia Union who are yet to be beaten at Subaru Park this season and who have won their last seven league outings there.
Union haven’t just been winning matches, they have been absolutely dominating them, scoring 29 times in the last six home wins and you sense there is still more to come from a side who are playing with the freedom of having already secured their postseason berth.
Union haven’t yet sealed top spot in the Eastern Conference though and they’ll be keen to do that so they still have more than enough to play for in this match, and against an opponent who might be short of peak physical fitness and who prior to winning their last two away games had gone six on their travels with a victory, I think Philadelphia can pick up another win whether it is as dominant as the ones which have gone before or a narrower version.
Seattle Sounders v Austin FC
Two Western Conference teams meet at Lumen Field in the early hours of Sunday morning when the Seattle Sounders take on the second placed Austin FC in what is a really big match for the home side in particular.
The Sounders now find themselves six points off the top seven and only have five matches to shut that gap down and force their way in. If they are going to do that then their home games are going to be crucial to them so this is a huge contest for the North American Champions League holders.
They might be getting Austin FC at the right time too because the men in green have just started to buckle under the weight of trying to chase down Los Angeles FC at the top of the table. They have lost their last two matches and you would have to say they were fairly below par in both outings.
That should give Seattle confidence but I’m in no place to trust them right now, however their plight is only likely to yield an open game here because the Sounders have no choice but to go after their opponents here as they have to win the game.
That will play into the hands of Austin FC who can bide their time and pick off their prey. In Sebastian Driussi we have the leading scorer in MLS this term on show but the Sounders’ front line doesn’t lack for attacking power.
I just see this as a game where the sheer desperation of the home side is going to deliver a match where goals come fairly regularly. I like over 2.5.
Portland Timbers v Minnesota United
The final match to kick off this weekend comes from Providence Park where the Portland Timbers play host to their fellow Western Conference side Minnesota United in what promises to be an entertaining encounter.
I say that because when these two met at Allianz Field earlier in the campaign they played out a 4-4 draw so if we get anything like that sort of contest then we will be in for a bit of a treat.
Portland might need to go on the offensive here because although a couple of recent wins have moved them into the top seven, which means if the season ended now they would be in the play-offs, their postseason spot is not locked in and there are teams hunting them down.
Minnesota United have lost their last two matches and those defeats have come at a bad time because they have dropped out of the top four which means that as it stands they have to go on the road in the first round of the play-offs.
The Loons have started to give up a lot of chances to their opponents and that spells danger against a Portland side who have so much technical ability and options in front of goal.
That said, these two sides don’t really keep clean sheets so I wouldn’t really want to rely on either to win here. In the last 30 matches they have played in MLS this season, they have three clean sheets in total between them which makes me think goals will come here.
While Minnesota aren’t performing great guns defensively, they have plenty of scoring options at the other end of the pitch. The same applies to the Timbers so at 1.50 both teams to score looks good to me.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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