Toronto FC v Orlando City
The opening match to kick off this weekend sees two Eastern Conference sides going at it when an underperforming Toronto FC side play host to Orlando City, who have made a positive start to the season, when they were expected to struggle after their close season player exodus.
There was a lot of hype around the Canadian side this term, mostly because they have Lorenzo Insigne arriving in July, but they will want to be in a position to strike when he joins the club and after four losses in succession they are clearly not going in the direction they desire.
Orlando have had their taste of world class talent with the likes of Kaka and Luis Nani playing for the club, but they have been and gone and they are looking to compete without them. The early signs are good and I think they will cross the border in a confident mood.
This might be the day that Toronto turn their season around but I actually prefer both teams to score in this match. Toronto had scored in their opening nine matches but had drawn two successive blanks, however in the first of those they were down to 10 men in the third minute, and the second came three days later having played 87 minutes with a man less.
The home side have a wealth of attacking talent so I don’t think they’ll keep going goalless for long. It should be said that both those scoreless games were on their travels. Orlando have also only failed to find the net twice this season – against Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls, two of the tighter defences in the league.
Toronto certainly can’t claim to be one of those. They have conceded 22 in 11 matches and are missing two key centre-backs in Carlos Salcedo and Chris Mavinga.
Chances should come regularly here so both teams to score looks a great bet.
Colorado Rapids v LAFC
The Rapids are unbeaten in their last 21 home league fixtures, but never have they faced a challenge quite like they’re staring down on Saturday.
Severe weather forced Colorado to stay in Minnesota later than expected to complete their U.S. Open Cup tie, a 2-1 loss, on Thursday afternoon. Less than 48 hours later, they’ll kick off against an LAFC side that has two more days of rest following their own 2-0 cup win over the Portland Timbers at home on Tuesday night.
Los Angeles also owns the best away form in the Western Conference with nine points from four matches. And even in a league where home field means as much as it does in MLS, the xG totals suggest LAFC should be ever so slight favorites even before accounting for Colorado’s schedule.
Los Angeles owns the second-best away xG difference per 90 minutes at +0.76, fractions ahead of Colorado’s +0.71 xG mark at home. And LAFC also has the deeper roster, with eight of their 23 goals coming off the substitute’s bench.
None of this is to discount Colorado’s home form. But the circumstances are just too difficult not to side with LAFC here.
CF Montreal v Charlotte FC
With apologies to former Tottenham Hotspur man Victor Wanyama, CF Montreal don’t have the starpower of some MLS sides. But manager Wilfried Nancy’s men will gain attention if their recent form continues
Montreal are unbeaten in their last seven, and their best performance may have been their last, a dominant 4-1 home win over Orlando City.
American 23-year-old Djordje Mihailovic has posted five goals and three assists and may be playing himself to a European move. Around him, Montreal make up for a lack of headliners with unusual atterica Stadium a difficult place to play in their first MLS season, and have now won four in a row at home after last weekend’s 1-0 win over Inter Miami.
But they don’t exactly have a high quality victory. Miguel Angel Ramirez’s side has defeated a New England team without its top two scorers in Adam Buksa and Gustavo Bou, and an Atlanta team missing club all-time scoring leader Josef Martinez. And only so much of Charlotte’s -2.3 xG difference at home can be explained by taking early leads to make the opponent chase the game.
This will be Charlotte’s toughest home opponent since a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy. And it’s more likely to end the same way — in defeat — than the odds are suggesting lacking depth. Five players have already found the net multiple times in 10 league fixtures.
Philadelphia Union v New York Red Bulls
The New York Red Bulls have tied an MLS record by winning their first five away matches to open the season. But there’s reason to think that the run comes to an end in Philadelphia.
Part of that is the Union’s obvious class. Manager Jim Curtin’s men won the Supporters’ Shield in 2020, and may have reached the 2021 MLS Cup without an untimely Covid outbreak. They lead the Eastern Conference standings despite a vicious early-season schedule that has taken them to Montreal, New York City FC, Nashville and LAFC.
Another part is how the tactics will shape up. Like their sister clubs in Germany (RB Leipzig) and Austria (Red Bull Salzburg), New York take the high press to the extreme. That has brought them results on the road against opponents who want to keep the ball.
But the Union are the most Red Bull-like club in MLS outside of New York, and won’t be afraid to be just as defensively minded despite playing in front of home support.
They’ve done so in the recent past, to the tune of three consecutive home league wins over the Red Bulls and a five-match unbeaten run in games between the sides overall.
Additionally, the Red Bulls played close to a first-choice squad in their 3-0 U.S. Open Cup win at D.C. United on Tuesday night, while the Union heavily rotated their team in a 2-1 loss at Orlando City. And Red Bulls leading scorer Lewis Morgan is expected to miss out as he recovers from mild illness from COVID-19.
A draw could certainly be in the cards. But the Union have better finishers and more of them, and are easily the more likely team to find a goal or two here.
That together makes the hosts good value to take all three points if you can take the draw out of the equation.
Inter Miami v DC United
Manager Phil Neville’s Inter Miami are reliably proactive at home and conservative away.
It’s a trend that has been going more than a year, since Neville took the reins of the David Beckham-owned club to begin the 2021 campaign.
It hasn’t always meant results — Miami are one of the poorer home teams in MLS since 2021 — but it usually means goals. Some 16 of Inter’s 22 home matches have featured at least three goals. That includes three of five home games this season. The other two came against a Chicago Fire side that leads MLS in scoreless draws, and against an LAFC side that enjoyed a man advantage for the entire second half.
And recently, Neville has a new in-form striking option in Ecuadorian World Cup hopeful Leonardo Campana. The 21-year-old has five league goals to his name — four since the start of April — and was rested in the U.S. Open Cup midweek.
In 2021, D.C. United played high-scoring games nearly everywhere under Argentine Marcelo Bielsa disciple Hernan Losada.
Since Losada’s dismissal last month, United’s identity is a bit less clear under caretaker manager Chad Ashton. But the arrival of Greek striker Taxi Fountas — who already has two braces in four appearances — gives D.C. one of the league’s deepest assortment of finishers along with Michael Estrada and Ola Kamara.
Ashton also played one of the weakest lineups among those MLS teams who played a midweek U.S. Open Cup game, which suggests he’s eying Saturday as a game where his side can be proactive as well.
That suggests another typical Miami home game — one with at least three goals.
Real Salt Lake v Austin FC
Two sides in the Western Conference meet when Real Salt Lake host Austin FC in one of the matches of the weekend.
RSL have started the season fairly well but nowhere near as well as Austin FC. The visitors begin the weekend in second place in the table but a lot of that is down to their home form where they had picked up 13 points from 15 prior to their loss to LA Galaxy last week.
I suspect that the fast start Austin FC have made to the season could be coming to a bit of a halt. They didn’t look great against the Galaxy and even in the win the week before at Houston they were not the vibrant team we saw at the start of the season.
Austin now face a very tough assignment away to Real Salt Lake, a team who very rarely lose at home, where the Rio Tinto Stadium is something of a fortress.
RSL were minutes away from a place in the MLS Cup final last season and have kept most of their squad intact for a tilt at the title this term. They have picked up 10 points from a possible 12 at home this year, with wins over Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy and Nashville SC.
Austin are much improved this season but no team gets an easy ride at Rio Tinto and if there is a winner in this match I expect it to be Real Salt Lake.
LA Galaxy v FC Dallas
The last game to kick off on the Saturday card which heads into the early hours of Sunday morning is another Western Conference clash between LA Galaxy and FC Dallas.
These two teams go into the contest third and fourth in the table but it is the Galaxy I’m siding with here. FC Dallas have 19 points this term but 16 of them have been at Toyota Stadium. They might only have lost one of their four away games but they have only scored in one of them too. They don’t travel well.
I think it is fair to say that we are all still expecting the real LA Galaxy to show up. A team which carries the attacking threat of Chicharito, Douglas Costa and Kevin Cabral among others should be destroying teams in this league.
That hasn’t really happened but Galaxy have won six of their 10 matches this season and three of their four home matches, which includes wins over the champions New York City, Los Angeles FC and Nashville SC – all top six sides in their respective Conferences.
FC Dallas might be on a bit of a downer heading to California having been so close to US Open Cup progression, only to lose their heads in injury time and the tie against Sporting Kansas City in extra time.
Galaxy go into this match having conceded just one goal in their last four MLS matches and they have enough at the other end to get the job done, against a side whose away xG totals so far have been 0.94, 0.20, 0.25 and 0.98.
Atlanta United v New England Revolution
Two Eastern Conference heavyweights battle it out at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday when the former MLS Cup winners Atlanta United host the current Supporters’ Shield holders New England Revolution.
The Revs began this season in a real hangover from last year. That isn’t a surprise. They dominated the regular campaign but then bombed out in their first stage of the playoffs and four defeats in their opening six probably wasn’t unexpected, especially when you consider they lost Tajon Buchanan at the end of the campaign, while Matt Turner will be heading to Arsenal soon.
There have been signs of life in recent times with New England and that too is to be expected. They still have a high class squad, led by the incredibly good Carles Gil who is ably supported by the likes of Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa, the latter of whom is in good form. The Revs won 5-1 in the US Open Cup this week to add to two wins from their last four in MLS.
Atlanta United are having to battle a heavy injury list which has already claimed Brad Guzan and Ozzie Alonso for the remainder of the season, leaving them short of an international level keeper and a shield for their defence. That is already showing as the ‘Five Stripes’ are conceding more goals than we are used to seeing.
This remains an Atlanta side who can find the back of the net regularly though. Josef Martinez is out but his replacement Ronaldo Cisneros bagged a hat trick against Chicago last week, and there are plenty of technically good players at the right end of the pitch for the home side.
Atlanta generally attack at home but their injuries force them to do that even more. New England are looking to make up for a slow start so they will go after this game.
Despite their woes at the beginning of the season, New England have recorded xG totals over 1 in every game this term. Atlanta’s home xG tallies have been 1.84, 0.59, 3.06 and 1.79. Chances should come regularly here and goals can too.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
18+ please gamble responsibly.
Back the Four & Five Star Selections as an Accumulator on Betfair ⬇️
*Bet link only appears when accessing from mobile.
Haven’t got a Betfair account? You’re in luck…
Sign up to Betfair and get a full refund if your first bet loses. Grab an account through the offer below and place £20 on the 95/1 MLS Best Bets Accumulator. Here are the two possible outcomes: