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If there was any doubt in your mind that the New England Revolution were the best team in the Eastern Conference, there shouldn’t be any longer. New England won their conference-leading 9th match of the season in convincing fashion on Wednesday, traveling to Fort Lauderdale and putting up a 5-spot against Inter Miami. The Revolution’s attack is led by Adam Buksa and Gustavo Bou, who form possibly the most dangerous up-front combination in the league (only Vela and Rossi at LAFC could possibly rival them for that title). But the true key to New England’s success is creating the plays to get them those scoring opportunities, and there’s no one better at that than Carles Gil, whose return to full health this season has been the biggest difference for the Revolution.
While the 5 sticks out in the final score of the match against Miami, the 0 is just as important for New England moving forward. A defense missing starting goalie Matt Turner and center back Henry Kessler, both of whom are with the US national team, shut down Gonzalo Higuain and co. for 90 minutes. The Revolution won their last 4 meetings against the then-Montreal Impact in 2020, and Montreal are coming off a game in which they surrendered 4 goals to Cincinnati, followed by a loss to NYCFC. The trip to Gillette Stadium will be far too tall a task for them, so take New England with the spread -1.5.
Double Chance Pick
Thursday’s home win over Philadelphia was a huge step in the right direction for Orlando City. The Lions looked through much of the spring as if they’d be the primary challengers to New England for 1st place in the Eastern Conference. But after a span of 5 wins in 6 matches, Orlando went through a 3-match winless stretch, picking up just 1 point. A tough Philadelphia team proved to be a challenge, and while Orlando were outplayed through much of the match, they kept the three points at home to stay in 2nd in the East. A win on Sunday could move them within 2 points of the top spot.
NYCFC have looked unbeatable at times, but they’ve been inconsistent all season. Valentin Castellanos was expected to be their best offensive weapon, and while Castellanos got off to a hot start, he’s failed to score in 8 straight matches. Jesus Medina, a winger, has done most of the heavy lifting for New York, but the team was built to succeed around a pure striker, and until Castellanos gets into better form, it’s hard to have faith in this team week-in and week-out. NYC’s last 10 matches have been decided by 0 or 1 goal, and with that little differential it’s a good bet to play the percentages. You can more than double your money by doubling your chances and taking a tie or an Orlando win.
Money Line Pick
It’s hard to have any confidence in a team that doesn’t appear to have any in itself. Inter Miami’s dumpster fire of a season continued with a 5-0 loss at home to New England on Wednesday. Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi look more like washed-up has-beens and less like the kind of veteran players David Beckham hoped would jumpstart the franchise by drawing local support and energizing the team’s younger players. Miami have now lost 6 in a row, they’ve scored fewer goals than any other team in the Eastern Conference, and even a win and the 3 points that come with it wouldn’t be enough to get them out of last in the East. As long as they keep running out this same lineup, though, not much is changing.
The Philadelphia Union have at times been shaky away from home, but after playing a tight match against Orlando on Thursday night, they’re now much more acclimated to the summer humidity that Florida is known for. Kacper Przybylko has scored in two straight for Philadelphia, and the Polish forward has been one of the bright spots for a team that most likely won’t defend its Supporters’ Shield crown but still has the depth and ability to be competitive against any team in the league. Miami are desperately lacking that, and even at home they shouldn’t provide too much of a challenge to the Union. Take the road team to bring back all three points to Philadelphia.
Money Line Pick
Just 1 point separates the New York Red Bulls and DC United in the Eastern Conference standings as the 2 sides face off in the nation’s capital on Sunday night. The Red Bulls come in having drawn 3 of their last 4 matches, with a 1-goal win and a 1-goal loss also in their recent past. In other words, New York have played tight against just about everyone – teams above them, below them, and adjacent to them in the standings. 18-year-old phenom Caden Clark finally made his return to the field in the Red Bulls’ 1-1 draw in Toronto earlier this week, but he played just 41 minutes as a substitute, and while he’s been their best player when healthy this year, there’s no guarantee he’s fit to play a full 90 minutes on Sunday.
DC United have enjoyed a surprisingly good season after seemingly hitting rock bottom and restarting from scratch. First-year head coach Hernan Losada spent most of his professional career in Belgium, and prior to this season had neither played nor coached in the United States, but he’s received glowing reviews so far. DC, though, have gone winless in their last 2 and in 4 out of 5, and while they’re a solid team overall they lack an x-factor to put them over the top. Both of these teams come in with a goal differential of +2 – no other team in the East is closer to zero, and a stalemate on Sunday night would keep it that way. Bet on a draw.
Money Line Pick
The top 2 teams in the Western Conference face off on Sunday night in Seattle. The Sounders, who’ve represented the West in the MLS Cup Final in 4 of the past 5 years, have lost just 1 match this season (none at home) and have the chance to go 8 points clear of 2nd-place Kansas City with a victory. Seattle’s only loss came last weekend at Minnesota, fielding a team of mostly backups to lose 1-0 to a Minnesota United squad that plays well at home. Seattle, though, showed their championship mentality in the midweek fixtures, as that same depleted squad traveled to Austin and won on a Raul Ruidiaz score in the 67th minute.
The good news for Seattle is that, while they’re still missing a few regulars, Sporting Kansas City are equally depleted with the CONCACAF Gold Cup still in full swing. Kansas City are without 19-year-old American phenom Gianluca Busio, who appears to be headed to Serie A in the coming weeks, and Alan Pulido, their 2nd-leading goal scorer who’s top-10 in the league. Kansas City barely survived a point against San Jose at home on Wednesday, equalizing in the 94th minute in a game most expected them to win by multiple goals. Have faith in the Sounders building their lead, and take Seattle on the money line.
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