Welcome to my MLS Soccer picks, and with the season now approaching the final straight there’s plenty of betting opportunities available for us all to make more money off the bookies.
West meets East in my next pick with Los Angeles FC entertaining New England Revolution at the Banc of California Stadium, with the hosts looking for a fourth win from five matches— Kickoff: 2230hrs (EST)
LOS ANGELES FC
Los Angeles FC secured a third win from four matches last time out in the MLS when they beat Toronto FC 4-2 away from home at BMO Field in Ontario as they close in on at least a Final Series play-off berth.
This impressive win on the road followed previous wins at home over Real Salt Lake and Colorado Rapids along with a point away from home at LA Galaxy, so tonight’s hosts look in good shape ahead of this weekend’s action in the MLS.
With just three points now separating 3rd placed Los Angeles FC from the current Western Conference league leaders, Dallas FC, there’s everything to play for as we head into the final weeks of the regular season.
Dallas face a difficult looking fixture at home to high-flying Columbus Crew of the Eastern Conference this Saturday, so this evening’s encounter with struggling New England Revolution looks to be a perfect opportunity for Bob Bradley’s Los Angeles outfit to grab another important three points.
Los Angeles seem to have recovered from their recent downturn in form too as they’d previously suffered a five-match sequence without a win, but recent wins over the aforementioned Real Salt Lake, Colorado Rapids and Toronto FC should see a confident Los Angeles take to the pitch for this clash.
Home Form & Team News
Los Angeles FC have been pretty solid on home turf throughout this season which is reflected by their current home record that stands at 7-5-1 23/10, losing just once at their Banc of California Stadium to date.
The one blot on Los Angeles’s copy book was a recent 2-0 defeat to 2nd placed Sporting Kansas, but the hosts could go some way to avenging this defeat by leapfrogging Sporting Kansas into second spot with all three points tonight.
It’s been an impressive start to the MLS for the new franchise expansion club under manager Bob Bradley who is improving his stock following a disastrous spell with Premier League side Swansea City.
Bradley had been at the helm for just three months at the Welsh club before being shown the door after a sequence of poor results, but taking Los Angeles to the Play-offs would go a long way to achieving redemption for him on a personal basis.
Los Angeles have built their success on home turf upon a solid defensive unit which has kept six clean sheets so far, including back-to-back shut-outs in 2-0 wins over Real Salt Lake and Colorado Rapids.
The hosts themselves have failed to score in just 2 of their 13 home matches to date with Mexican striker Carlos Vela (11 goals, 5 assists) leading the way for the home side.
Vela is backed up by the likes of Diego Rossi (9 goals, 5 assists) and forward Latif Blessing (5 goals, 6 assists), but Los Angeles will have to do without the services of Adama Diomande (9 goals) who is sidelined with an adductor strain.
Diomande will join the injured trio of Quillan Roberts, Mark-Anthony Kaye and Danilo Silva on the sidelines as their side look to capture an eighth home win this evening.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
New England registered a very welcome three points in their last outing with a narrow 1-0 win away at New York City which ended a miserable nine-match sequence overall without a win in the MLS.
As a result of this alarming slump in form, New England have slipped down to 8th place on the Eastern Conference league ladder, but are still just three points adrift of 6th placed Montreal Impact ahead of their trip to Los Angeles.
Recent defeats to LA Galaxy, Minnesota United, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union (home), DC United and Philadelphia Union (away) had threatened to de-rail New England’s charge for a play-off spot but the recent win at New York City may have sparked a revival.
It may be a slight concern for New England Revolution manager Brad Friedel though that his side have failed to score in 4 of these last 9 matches, and he’ll be turning to the likes of forwards Teal Bunbury (11 goals), Cristian Penilla (9 goals, 6 assists) and Diego Fagundez (7 goals, 6 assists) to remedy the situation.
However, it should be pointed out that forward Bunbury hasn’t figured for New England since their 1-1 draw at home with Portland Timbers at the start of this month and may not feature tonight either.
Away Form & Team News
The recent 1-0 win at New York City ended a terrible run of results for Friedel’s side as they’d previously endured a run of 10 matches on the road with a victory.
Within this disappointing 10-match sequence, New England had lost five and drawn five and this poor run has contributed towards a fairly average looking away record that stands at 17/24.
Indeed, New England’s problems on their travels extends much further than just this season’s MLS campaign as the visitors have captured just 3 away wins from their last 31 outings on the road.
This is an appalling return for a side that has aspirations of claiming a Final Series play-off spot, and one that must be addressed by manager Brad Friedel if his side are to be considered serious contenders.
Defender Chris Tierney is the only long-term absentee through a torn ACL for the visitors who will be looking to post back-to-back away wins for the first time since August and September back in 2015!
This will be the first ever meeting between these two sides, but Los Angeles FC seemingly have the obvious upper hand over New England Revolution. Both sides could well score here but I’m expecting Los Angeles to come out on top in this clash.