Philadelphia Union preview
Philly were in action early on Saturday and lost 2-3 at New York City. Truth be told, they were blown away for the first hour of that contest and the final scoreline was flattering on them. They were undone by the great quality of NYC’s designated players, with the likes of David Villa in scintillating form. Fortunately, their opponents tonight don’t possess that sort of ability. Injury wise. Key striker CJ Sapong is rated as ‘probable’ here but still has to be classed as an injury doubt. The same can be said for CM Joshua Yaro who the coach would ideally like to bring into the side, he offers a better athletic option compared to Ken Tribbett who’s struggled of late. Midfielder, Warren Creavalle is another who might not feature but he could be benched for tactical reasons anyway. The Union have an excellent home record this season, winning 5/7 times and yet to suffer defeat.
Chicago Fire Preview
The Fire succumbed to a last minute goal on Saturday night away at Colorado losing 1-2 after putting up a plucky performance. This was the 31st consecutive game in which they failed to win away from home in MLS, a truly horrible record. The coach has talked about this as serious mental baggage and it’s a huge monkey they need to get off their back. Injury wise, the visitors miss holding midfielder Matt Polster to a concussion. They are also missing a few attackers, but only Arturo Alvarez is a regular starter. It does mean the Fire lack for attacking options off the bench though. In David Accam and Kennedy Igboananike they have two extremely pacey options, the big question is can the Fire actually set them up enough? In defence and midfield they are tight enough but their total of just 11 goals in 13 matches is the lowest tally in the whole MLS.
This is a match between top and bottom of the Eastern Conference. Philly are unbeaten at home this season and Chicago haven’t won on the road for 31 matches! So the outcome should be simple, right? Well I said at the weekend The Fire have shown some recent improvements away from home and once again they gave a good account of themselves. Ultimately, they are what you call a ‘bad’ team and find ways to cock up matches. An away trip following a tough visit to Colorado at altitude is hardly the ideal preparation for them here and I wonder what will physically be left in the tank. Chicago will try and keep things tight but will be pressurised by Philly at all times. One weakness for the hosts could be a high backline which Chicago might exploit with their pace. A good chance conversion isn’t a strength the visitors have though. Overall, I see both teams scoring and Philly winning, but not by a big margin. The scoreline of 2-1 stands out to me in this instance, maybe with 3-1 as a possibility.
At the time of writing Philly are priced @ 1.84 to win this match on a -0.5 handicap. I think this price is acceptable and I’d back them anything 1.75+. This isn’t a massive value bet but I just sense they will find a way to win this match and statistics back it up. The goals line is generally set at over/under 2.5 and the best price is 1.99. In an ideal world I’d like to be on an over 2.25 line but that price is as low as 1.71 and not really worth it. I’m still happy enough to take over 2.5 goals though and I’d recommend backing it anything 1.80+. The over is my more confident pick and it could be a more open game than some expect. I have a feeling both teams will score so I wouldn’t want to put anyone off backing yes in that market either.
Recommended bet: Philadelphia Union -0.5 @ 1.84 (minimum odds acceptable 1.75)
Recommended bet: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.99 (minimum odds acceptable 1.80)