Supporters’ Shield leading Columbus Crew face fourth-place Toronto FC in a big Eastern Conference showdown Sunday night. Photo by @Ghanasoccernet (Twitter)
- MLS Week 14 includes 13 matches over Saturday and Sunday this weekend
- Will the Earthquakes be run off the pitch again after breaking a record for defensive futility?
- Read on for the odds and our best bets from Week 14 here
It’s another busy week in MLS after 13 mid-week games were played on Wednesday and another 13 will be played in Week 14 this weekend.
Another matchday, another loss and another bad loss for San Jose. The Earthquakes lost 5-0 to Colorado on Wednesday. They also lost 6-1 to Portland last weekend. They’ve now conceded five or more goals five times this year—a new record in one season, despite only playing 13 regular-season games. Since returning from the tournament they are 0-3-5 (WDL) and have been outscored 28-7. They could be in for another long night on Sunday away to LAFC. I wouldn’t put anyone off an LAFC win where they score at least three goals at -150 odds.
Elsewhere, Atlanta finally snapped a losing streak, Eastern powerhouses Toronto and Columbus both won, Chicago put in a complete and dominating performance (4-0 win) and the Galaxy continued to struggle with Chicharito back in the lineup.
This weekend serves up two matches Saturday and a huge 11 game-slate on Sunday. Let’s take a look at the odds for each game along with our top picks from the slate below.
MLS Week 14 Odds
New York City FC
New England Revolution
New York Red Bulls
Inter Miami CF
Real Salt Lake
Orlando City SC
Sporting Kansas City
Los Angeles FC
San Jose Earthquakes
All odds taken Sept 25 at Bet365
Pick 1: FC Dallas vs Orlando City SC
Fourth in the West Dallas hosts second in the East Orlando at 8:30 pm EST on Sunday. It’s a big game for Orlando head coach Oscar Pareja who spent 18 years with the FC Dallas organization before departing two years ago.
With so many matches in such a short time, you should always be checking the lineups prior to kick-off in case a coach decides to rotate. I loved Dallas over Atlanta in midweek, however, Luchi Gonzalez opted to rest Franco Jara, Santiago Mosquera and Bryan Reynolds until the later stages of the game, while Atlanta held a team meeting after last weekend’s loss and came ready to play, beating Dallas 1-0.
Dallas had only one shot on target and Atlanta’s goal came via PK for a handball, so it’s not like either team was really that impressive or that bad. It does mean that Dallas should have some fresh legs for their match against Orlando Sunday.
Count ’em up!
Week 13’s goals were 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Hp2cDwTSHP
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 24, 2020
Prior to Wednesday’s loss, Dallas had been rolling with wins in three-straight and only two losses since they resumed play this summer in nine matches. In the six games prior to the Atlanta loss, Dallas had averaged 2.5 goals scored per game but had also conceded in each match, allowing an average of 1.5 goals per game. Their streak of conceding has now reached seven games with Wednesday’s loss.
Oscar Pareja has also been known to rotate his lineup, often leaving captain Nani and star Chris Mueller on the bench. Nani got the start in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City, but Mueller was on the bench until the 71′ minute.
No matter the lineup though, things have been clicking for The Lions. Orlando has lost just a single game since the season resumed in August and that was their first match back. They are 5-2-0 (WDL) since. After Wednesday’s win, they’re now riding a three-game winning streak where they’ve won 2-1, 4-1 and 2-1.
Standings after 13 weeks ⚽️☄@SoundersFC and @TimbersFC in the top of the Western, @ColumbusCrewSC rules the Eastern pic.twitter.com/6Slz1xV7UG
— MLS Action (@MLS_Action) September 24, 2020
Scoring hasn’t been a problem for Orlando as they’ve now scored 18 in their seven matches back. Pareja will be hoping they can eventually tighten up defensively as they’ve conceded in every single match since returning as well, allowing ten goals.
In fact, counting matches at the MLS is Back Tournament, both teams have scored in 11-straight Orlando matches. In 2020 overall, both teams have scored in 15/17 of their matches, while both teams to score and OVER 2.5 goals has now cashed in 8/10 of their most recent matches.
Historically, in five all-time meetings between these teams both teams have never scored. There’s been one 0-0 draw and four shutout wins. However, given the recent play of both I see that trend ending.
Pick: Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals (-110)
2020 MLS Cup Odds Tracker
Pick 2: Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew
Two Eastern Conference powerhouses meet on Sunday night at 7:30 pm EST where neither team is really playing at home. Toronto is listed as the home team, but are being forced to play their home matches in the US. This one will be played at Venue Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.
Both are coming off midweek successes, with Columbus having defeated Minnesota United 2-1 and Toronto edging out New York City FC 1-0 with a 90′ minute Alejandro Pozuelo PK winner. The results see the Crew continuing to lead the East with 25 points, while the Reds are locked in a three-way tie for second (currently ranked fourth) with 25 points along with Orlando and Philadelphia.
These teams haven’t met at all in 2020 but there was little between them last season. The teams drew 2-2 in Columbus, with Toronto winning 1-0 at BMO Field.
Any Soccer ⚽️ Fans out there?#TFCLive 1-0 #NYCFC
On a Penalty 🦵 at 90’ by @Pozuelo_10 pic.twitter.com/dOvxRonHSP
— T O R O N T O 🍁 (@Toronto) September 24, 2020
There also looks to be little between them this season. Columbus holds the edge in goals scored (22-21) and goals allowed (just five vs Toronto’s 15). TFC have the fourth-highest average possession in the league at 56-percent, compared to Columbus’ 53.7-percent. Toronto are one of the league’s highest chance creators though and lead in shot attempts (189-146) and shots on target (79-55).
A look at some advanced states from fbref, sees Toronto first in the league in expected goals at 24.8 compared to the 15th-ranked Columbus at 15.9. Having only conceded five goals on the season is incredible for the Crew, yet TFC are still the league-leaders in expected goals-against at 7.8. TFC have the most touches of the ball this season and are first in each of middle third, attacking third and opponent’s penalty area touches. The Crew are respectable in each of those areas ranking fifth, eighth and 14th respectively.
Bringin’ the heat.@Lucazelarayan31 & @Pedro32santos named to Team of the Week.#Crew96https://t.co/wJe1Tu4dDC
— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) September 24, 2020
While it looks like TFC could be the team that creates more chances in this one, some of those numbers are likely propped up by their heavy schedule of games against some weaker opponents this season. In fact, as good as Toronto has looked, a closer look would show they actually haven’t beaten a winning team this season, despite their 7-4-2 (WDL) record. Those wins have come against NYC (2), Montreal (3) and Vancouver (2). Those teams have a combined record of 15-3-21 (WDL). NYC is the closest to being a winning team at one game under .500.
It will be a step up in class against a Crew team with just a single loss and who are 9-3-1 and who are undefeated in their past six games. However, if we’re going to pick holes in Toronto’s wins, we could play the same game with Columbus. The Crew’s wins have come against NYC, Cincinnati (2), New York Red Bulls, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Nashville and Minnesota. Only Philadelphia of that group has a winning record with Minnesota next in line with a .500 record.
I see this match being a cagey affair with little between the teams and few goals being scored. Bet the UNDER or on a split of the points in a draw.
Pick: Under 2.5 Goals (+100), Draw (+230)
∙ @ColumbusCrewSC keep rolling
∙ @ColoradoRapids & @LAFC win BIG
Recap a 13-match night with the Fastest 3 Minutes pres. by @ATT. pic.twitter.com/vJtN6uUd1M
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 24, 2020
Pick 3: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Portland Timbers
Don’t be confused by how the teams are placed on the schedule for this one. Vancouver may be listed as the “home” team, however, they are actually playing at Providence Park in Portland due to the adjusted COVID-19 scheduling. Some Canadian teams have played in US stadiums already for home games, but have not played the opponent from that stadium in the same game. Not so on Sunday night at 10:00 pm EST. The Caps are at home only for administrative purposes, giving Portland the obvious edge.
Portland is coming off their third meeting with rivals Seattle on Wednesday where they escaped with a 1-0 win. Seattle had 66.7-percent possession, led in attempts 19-9, shots on target 6-2 and were by far the better team in the match. Seattle also held the advantage in crosses 40-12 and had the ball all over the attacking half of the pitch with 457-178 attacking half passes and 244-88 final third passes.
Six saves by Portland’s Steve Clark and a 13′ minute Yimmi Chara goal was enough to gain Portland the three points though.
🚨 A RECORD BREAKING night for @LAFC! 🚨
▪️ MLS record 5 goals in opening 33 minutes
▪️ Largest margin of victory in franchise history (6-0)
▪️ @BWPNINENINE moves up to 6th on all-time MLS scoring list (115) pic.twitter.com/33ysE6cXNV
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 24, 2020
Vancouver traveled to Los Angeles to meet LAFC on Wednesday, and oh boy, did things get bad quickly. LAFC, who were coming off a 3-0 loss to Seattle and who had been shutout in 3/4 matches, took out all their frustrations on the overmatched Whitecaps. LAFC were up 4-0 inside of 14 minutes, 5-0 at the half and marched to an easy 6-0 win. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored twice in the opening 11 minutes and nearly had a hat-trick on the team’s fourth goal, though it was deemed a Vancouver own goal.
Last season these teams each won on their home ground, Vancouver winning 1-0 and Portland 3-1. During the 2018 season Vancouver took both matches with identical 2-1 wins. Portland won all three 2017 matches by that score as well, 2-1. A trend is emerging here and it’s that of goals when these two meet. Nine of the past ten meetings between the Caps and Timbers have seen both teams scoring and the total going OVER 2.5 goals.
History, both past and present seems to be on the side of a high-scoring affair in this one. Not only in past head-to-head history have we seen goals, but each team’s current track record also point in that direction.
“Tonight we put it all together.”
Steve Clark on last night’s victory over Seattle and the hard work resulting in a total team performance. #RCTID pic.twitter.com/w14lWXEIbn
— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) September 24, 2020
Prior to the 6-0 loss, Vancouver had looked to maybe be turning a corner with wins in three of four matches. Those games featured a bevy of goals with scorelines of 2-1 (win), 3-1 (win), 4-2 (loss) and 3-2 (win).
And before Wednesday’s 1-0 win, Portland matches saw both teams scoring in six-straight and at least three goals combined being scored in 6/7 since the regular season restarted. Counting all their matches in 2020, betting both teams scoring and OVER 2.5 goals has cashed at a rate of 12-5. Interestingly, the past two times Portland played Seattle this season, in their next match, they allowed four goals on both occasions.
Caps’ head coach Marc Dos Santos will surely be expecting a better effort on Sunday, while the Timbers could be in a bit of a letdown position after a big midweek win over Seattle. As long as Portland dresses a full complement of starters they should be an easy bet for the win. They are again, playing on their home field and Vancouver, in any match not played at BC Place in 2020, has been shutout in 7/10 games. Then again, the Timbers have kept just two clean sheets in 17 matches in 2020.
Pick: Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals (-120)