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.
My first pick of this weekend’s action sees Houston Dynamo make their way to the MAPFRE Stadium in Ohio to take on Columbus Crew – kickoff: 1930hrs (EST)
Columbus Crew registered a second 3-2 win on the trot last weekend when they walked away with all three points at New York Red Bulls at the Red Bull Arena which maintained their strong challenge for a Final Series play-off place.
In their previous match, Columbus Crew recorded a 3-2 home win over Orlando City so Saturday evening’s hosts will now be gunning for a third win on the trot when Houston Dynamo come to town as The Crew bid to keep their slim hopes of an automatic Final Series spot alive.
Despite registering these back-to-back wins, Columbus Crew still remain eight points adrift of both of the New York franchise clubs, namely New York City and Red Bulls, so they’ll need either one of these clubs to slump if they’re to stand any chance of catching up.
This seems fairly unlikely, but Columbus will no doubt keep plugging away, and with home advantage this Saturday along with leading goalscorer, Gyasi Zardes (13 goals) in fine form along with the likes of Federico Higuain (4 goals, 5 assists) in support, The Crew look in good shape for a third win on the bounce.
Home Form & Team News
Columbus Crew currently occupy fourth place in the Eastern Conference and although they trail the New York clubs by eight points, they themselves hold a comfortable seven point cushion ahead of Montreal Impact as we head into this weekend’s action.
The home side possess a reasonable looking home record which stands at 7-3-2 24/17 and they’re the division’s fourth highest goalscorer at home so far this season. With just one defeat from their last nine matches on home turf (which was a 2-0 loss to Atlanta United), Columbus Crew have made themselves a very hard team to beat at home.
Indeed, The Crew have suffered just two defeats from their last 21 matches in their own backyard which is one of the strongest home records in the whole of the MLS.
There is, however, concerns over whether Federico Higuain will make it in time for today’s clash as the attacking midfielder is rated as doubtful through injury. Patrick Mullins scored his first goal for Columbus Crew in last week’s 3-2 win away at New York Red Bulls, so if Higuain misses out then Mullins is likely to get the nod for another start.
Houston Dynamo’s problems deepened last weekend when they went down to a 1-0 defeat at home to high-flying Sporting Kansas in an all-Western Conference clash which saw the Dynamo slump to a third consecutive defeat.
Previous defeats to Philadelphia Union 3-1 at home and a 2-1 loss away at Portland Timbers along with the aforementioned loss to Sporting Kansas has resulted in Houston slipping down to third from bottom in the Western Conference.
A margin of seven points now separates them from sixth placed Real Salt Lake, and with a difficult trip to Ohio ahead of them this Saturday evening, it doesn’t look like The Dynamo will be reducing this deficit anytime soon.
Houston are now without a win in the MLS from their last five outings as they’d drawn back-to-back matches with Colorado Rapids and Dallas FC prior to their recent three-game skid, and as I’ll mention a little later, history is also against them at the MAPFRE Stadium too.
However, the visitors will be hoping that their key personnel such as striker, Mauro Manotas (11 goals) and influential attacking midfielder, Alberth Elis (9 goals, 7 assists) can lift them out of their gloom and end this miserable losing streak.
Away Form & Team News
Houston Dynamo will need to produce something pretty special though if they’re to take the spoils against Columbus Crew in Ohio, particularly when you take into consideration their poor results on the road so far this season.
Away from their BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston have recorded just one away win all season and that was a 3-2 win at Eastern Conference strugglers Chicago Fire who are second from bottom in the division.
The underlying trend for Houston on their travels has been a spate of defeats, and they head into this encounter having lost four of their last five away matches, conceding 8 goals and scoring just 4 in reply during this woeful sequence of results.
Houston’s away record stands at a poor 1-4-5 14/18 and although they possess the dangerous aforementioned pair of Manotas and Elis, Dynamo’s defence has kept just one clean sheet at the other end and have conceded 2 goals or more in no fewer then 8 of their 10 away matches to date.
To make matters worse with regards Houston Dynamo’s defensive situation, Phillipe Senderos has been ruled out along with long-term absentee AJ DeLaGarza and midfielder Juan Cabezas. The absence of Senderos is not only a blow due to his experience at the back, but also the fact that he’s scored 4 goals for The Dynamo too.
The momentum looks well and truly being the hosts, Columbus Crew, as we head into this weekend’s MLS action, and they certainly have more at stake riding on this encounter than the visitors Houston Dynamo.
The Crew will be desperate to maintain their bid for a Final Series play-off place, while their home form has been excellent and the main reason why they currently occupy a top six spot in the Eastern Conference.
In addition, Columbus Crew have won the last three meetings with Houston Dynamo at home, recording 1-0, 3-0 and 2-0 wins respectively, so history is also on the side of the hosts here too.