The hosts have endured a poor campaign and still find themselves second bottom of the Western Conference table. For a team that is always expected to at least make the playoffs and then ultimately challenge for the MLS Cup, this season has obviously been a major step back. Losing a key man such as Obafemi Martins hasn’t helped and in recent times they’ve also been hindered by the absence of star player Clint Dempsey to international duty. Once again the American will miss out here, although returns next week. The rest of the squad is in good condition and should be buoyed by a big crowd which is out to celebrate ‘pride day’ here in Seattle. The hosts are now the lowest scoring team in MLS but showed some better signs last week at the Red Bulls where only really bad finishing cost them. The chances were being created though which is a step forward.
New York City preview
Patrick Vieira’s men returned to winning ways last weekend, although made life difficult for themselves. City were in complete control for an hour and raced into a 3-0 lead against Philly, but inexplicably conceded a couple to complicate matters. It was their first win in five games which lifts some of the pressure on the manager. NYC are situated third in the Eastern Conference which isn’t too bad. For the first time this season all three of their designated players performed well last weekend. Whether or not both Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo will start here remains to be seen, the artificial surface at Centurylink Field is known to be dodgy and avoided by certain individuals. But of their important players, only holding man Federico Bravo is ruled out. Right back Andoni Iraola has replaced him in recent weeks and done an ok job, but he’s not a natural in that role.
The Sounders will be supported by a partisan crowd, close to full capacity for an MLS match which doesn’t happen too often during a season. So I’m sure that will give the players a bit of an edge here and increase motivation. Seattle do have the second worst home record in the Western Conference, but have at least won 3 of their last 4 matches at this stadium. NYC have been better on the road this season and won three times, including a 2-1 success at Portland. But this is their first road match following a four game home streak so it could be difficult for them to suddenly adapt to different tactics, A trip to the West Coast is never easy for a team like them either, although at least it doesn’t kick off late. I personally think Seattle will win the match and both teams score. But it could be a close contest. When you consider the form and lack of goals from the hosts so far this season, then understandably a few people might question their credentials.
I don’t personally see any value in betting on this match. In terms of the outright market, Seattle are priced about 1.85 on a -0.5 handicap which looks way too short when you consider their failings this season. Without Clint Dempsey they’ve shown a tendency to constantly miss chances and their lack of goals is a massive worry. You would think that they’ll be able to break through a NYC defence that rarely keeps a clean sheet though. There’s maybe a case to back the overs, but the goal line is 2.75. Only 4 of Seattle’s 14 league games have ended over 2.5 this year and staggeringly only one of their fixtures has contained at least four goals. The home defence is quite solid with the likes of Brad Evans and Chad Marshall strong at the back. As aforementioned, I think Seattle might just sneak victory and the overs might just come in. But it would be too risky to back the hosts or over 2.75 and I feel like it’s a match best swerved.
Recommended bet: None