Welcome to my MLS Soccer picks, and with the season already well underway, there’s plenty of betting opportunities available for us all to make more money off the bookies.
There’s further action in the Eastern Conference this Saturday evening when bottom club Chicago Fire take on Montreal impact at the Stade Saputo in Quebec – Kickoff: 1930hrs (EST)…
Montreal Impact gained a valuable point last time out when they travelled to Real Salt Lake and held the hosts to a 1-1 draw at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah.
This recent point enabled Montreal to hang onto sixth place and the last remaining Final Series play-off spot in the Eastern Conference, although their situation is becoming increasingly tight.
The hosts have now gone four matches without a win as they’ve been held to three stalemates against Portland Timbers (away), DC United (home) and the recent draw at Real Salt Lake – in addition to a 2-1 loss at home to Atlanta United.
They still remain in sixth spot but they’re now just one point ahead of 7th placed New England Revolution as we head into this weekend’s MLS action.
The fact still remains though that this upcoming clash against Chicago Fire now becomes a ‘must win’ encounter for the hosts, and having lost just once in their last seven matches on home turf, Montreal will be confident of grabbing all three points here.
The Impact have also kept four clean sheets during this recent seven match sequence which includes valuable wins against Houston Dynamo, Orlando City, Sporting Kansas, Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes.
With a poor away record that reads a disappointing 2-2-9 11/27, it’s now imperative that Montreal Impact make the most of their remaining home games of the regular season.
The home side possess some key attacking personnel as well in the shape of attacking midfielder Ignacio Piatti (11 goals, 8 assists) who has been instrumental to Montreal’s success this season, as well as midfield pair, Saphir Taider (5 goals, 1 assist) and Alejandro Silva (1 goal, 6 assists).
Home Form & Team News
Montreal’s home record to date stands at 7-1-4 20/14 which at first glance doesn’t appear to be too convincing.
However, as mentioned earlier, the hosts have suffered just one reverse in their last seven on home soil which was an understandable loss to Eastern Conference leaders, Atlanta United.
Five wins from their last seven on home soil though has kept Montreal in the hunt for a precious Final Series play-off spot, and this evening could see them register a sixth win in eight games.
Given Montreal’s poor showing on their travels so far this season, it’s just as well Remi Garde’s team have raised their game at home in recent times as they look to grab the last remaining Final Series play-off spot.
It’s also an encouraging sign for Montreal that the hosts have scored in each of their last seven matches at Stade Saputo, scoring 2 goals or more in 4 of these 7 home games.
Right-back, Chris Duvall is still sidelined through injury so Jukka Raitala will continue in the defence while midfielder David Choiniere will also miss this encounter.
There are no other injury concerns for manager, Remi Garde, with the attacking trio of Piatti, Mancosu and Silva expected to start up front for the hosts.
Chicago Fire have experienced a very disappointing campaign so far this season as they sit bottom of the Eastern Conference with a goal difference of -14 which places them below wooden-spoon rivals, Orlando City and Toronto FC.
Chicago’s problems have been underlined by a dreadful seven-match losing streak prior to their outing in Quebec, and confidence looks like it’s being drained from The Fire after each defeat.
Bizarrely, although they find themselves bottom of the Conference, they’re just seven points adrift of their hosts, Montreal Impact, so it’s not all done and dusted just yet.
There are still nine games left for Chicago Fire to play, and although admittedly their predicament looks a lost cause, mathematically, they’re still in with a chance of grabbing that last remaining play-off spot.
That said, it’s extremely difficult to stop the rot when it’s appeared to have set in, and that’s exactly what has happened to Chicago Fire who are in the middle of a horrific spell of form.
This disastrous seven-match sequence have seen The Fire ship a total of 18 goals while scoring just 8 in reply, and they’ve conceded 2 goals or more in 6 of these 7 matches as well.
Defensively, Chicago look like they’re on a hiding to nothing here and if they afford Montreal Impact’s play-maker, Ignacio Piatti too much space, they could find themselves on the end of another heavy defeat this evening.
Away Form & Team News
Needless to say that Chicago Fire’s form away from their Toyota Park in Illinois has been decidedly under-par as their current away record of 2-3-7 15/26 confirms.
Four of Chicago’s six league wins have been achieved at Toyota Park while on their travels, Chicago’s rare successes have been limited to wins at New York Red Bulls and Orlando City – the latter being their last win on the road since May this year.
Since then, Chicago have been winless from their subsequent seven matches away from home which include five defeats and two draws.
It’s not that Chicago Fire can’t score goals away from home – they can, and in fact they’ve failed to score just twice on their travels all season, but it’s their inability to keep things tight at the back that has cost them dear.
No clean sheets and conceding 2 goals or more in 9 of their 12 away matches to date has been a recipe for disaster for the visitors who will now look to try and contain Montreal Impact in their own backyard.
Manager, Veljko Paunovic has a few injuries to contend with as goalkeeper Patrick McLain, defender Jonathan Campbell, midfielder Matt Polster and forward Diego Campos are all ruled out with knocks.
Former Germany captain, Bastian Schweinsteiger may continue at the back for the visitors, while striker and leading goalscorer, Nemanja Nikolic (10 goals) will push for a starting place for this clash having previously been dropped to the bench.
Honours have been shared in the last seven meetings between these two sides with each team winning three and sharing a draw, but the momentum is undoubtedly with the hosts, Montreal Impact.
Ignacio Piatti of Montreal Impact looks the key player in this tussle, and his influence on the game could produce a few goals with the home side taking the spoils in this encounter.