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.
This weekend’s action continues with Chicago Fire travelling to Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening…
Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake currently occupy 6th place and the last remaining Final Series play-off spot in the Western Conference ahead of their home match with Chicago Fire at their Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah.
Saturday evening’s hosts have suffered just one defeat from their last five matches which is a vast improvement upon previous results which saw Real Salt Lake lose back-to-back away matches at LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew.
However, recent wins against Sporting Kansas and Dallas FC on home turf have maintained their challenge for a top six place, and although they lost 3-2 away at Minnesota United, Real Salt Lake have bounced back by sharing points with Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes in 2-2 and 0-0 draws respectively.
The home side will certainly want to return to winning ways here though as things are pretty tight amongst the chasing pack in and around the top six of the Western Conference, with only three points separating them from 8th placed Minnesota United.
Real Salt Lake manager, Mike Petke, will be looking to the likes of forward Joao Jimmy Plata (6 goals), attacking midfielder and Slovakian international Albert Rusnak (5 goals) and Corey Baird ( 5 goals) to provide the creative spark for the hosts here.
Home Form & Team News
Despite the recent three league matches without a win, Real Salt Lake will be confident that they can make the most of home advantage this evening as they’ve put together a very impressive sequence of results.
The hosts are unbeaten in their last 10 matches on home soil amidst an overall home record of 8-2-1 23/14, and they’ve slowly been building some menacing momentum in front of their home faithful, while perhaps flying under the radar a little.
But there’s no doubt as to their abilities at the Rio Tinto Stadium as they possess the best home record in the Western Conference, and Real Salt Lake will be keen to continue to make hay while the sun shines by taking the spoils here.
Mike Petke has no new injury concerns ahead of this clash, but seven first team players still remain sidelined, but following last week’s point at San Jose, Petke may well be tempted to freshen things up a bit with Danilo Acosta and Damir Kreilach pushing for places in the starting eleven.
Real Salt Lake are unbeaten in the last two meetings at home against Chicago Fire and they’re expected to be pushing for all three points in this encounter.
Recent results couldn’t have been any worse for visitors, Chicago Fire, as they make their way to Utah on the back of a miserable run of five defeats on the trot which has left them in a lowly 8th place in the Eastern Conference.
Defeats to Vancouver Whitecaps, Philadelphia Union, Dallas FC and back-to-back losses to Toronto have threatened to de-rail Chicago’s season, and the visitors will be desperate to put a halt to this losing streak sooner rather than later as they attempt to chase down 6th placed New England Revolution.
The Fire find themselves five points adrift of New England, so you can see how these recent five defeats haven’t done them any favours, and they face a difficult trip to Real Salt Lake this Saturday evening.
Before their current losing streak though, Chicago Fire were seemingly in great form as they’d put together a five match run without a loss which included wins against San Jose Earthquakes and New York City, both of which were recorded at their Toyota Park.
One thing you can hang your hat on though where Chicago Fire are concerned, is the fact that goals are never very far away when they take to the field and this is very evident when looking at their results so far this season.
12 of their last 14 matches have seen 3 goals or more, and we could be in for further goals in this encounter too.
Away Form & Team News
Chicago’s results away from home have contributed to their recent slump in form as they’ve now gone six matches without a win on their travels amidst a below par overall away record of 2-3-6 14/24.
Chicago possess the fifth worst defensive record away from home in the Eastern Conference which hasn’t been helped by failing to keep a single clean sheet on the road this term, so it looks like they’ll have their work cut out in Utah if they’re to come away with anything here.
Chicago manager, Veljko Paunovic, also has several injury worries ahead of this important encounter with five players missing through injury, most notably being Matt Polster and Dax McCarty while defender Grant Lillard is rated as doubtful for this clash.
Forwards Nemanja Nikolc (10 goals) and Aleksandar Katai (9 goals) represent the visitors’ best chances of creating havoc in Real Salt Lake’s final third, but it’s been Chicago Fire’s leaky defensive unit which has let them down on numerous occasions.
As mentioned previously, Real Salt Lake possess the best home record in their Conference and the home side will be looking to their form in front of their own fans to fire them into the play-offs.
In addition, even though It looks quite likely that we’ll see a few goals in this encounter, with both teams looking fairly decent bets to hit the back of the net, it’s Real Salt Lake’s solid form at their Rio Tinto Stadium which could be the difference in this inter-Conference clash.