Crew to Reverse Trend vs. Union; 'Overs' Dominate MLS Slate

Kevin Stott

Thursday, March 15, 2018 6:56 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 15, 2018 6:56 PM UTC

After every MLS fixture in Week 2 had at least three goals, doesn't backing the "over" seem like a good idea for Saturday's matches? You betcha. Let’s check out some league notes and three games where scoring should not be a problem.

MLS: Matchday 3 Select PicksNotebook

There were 38 goals scored in the nine MLS games last weekend in Week 2, a robust average of 4.22 goals per game with all "overs" with totals set at 2½ winning. ... The Crew emerged victorious over the Montreal Impact on Gyasi Zardes' PK in the fourth minute of stoppage time. ... Zardes already has as many goals (3) as he did all of last season with the L.A. Galaxy (2). ... MLS had its best week ever vs. Liga MX in CONCACAF Champions League play, with the U.S. professional league seeing the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC advance to the semifinals. Prior to New York and Tononto FC advancing, only two MLS teams had ever made it past the knockout round in 20 all-time matchups against Mexican opponents. ... Expansion club Los Angeles FC is off to a nice 2-0-0 start with road wins at Seattle and Real Salt Lake. Los Angeles has a league-leading six goals. ... The two clubs that met in the past two MLS Cups — defending champion Toronto FC and 2016 champion Seattle — are the only two MLS teams yet to score a goal. ...

D.C. United is playing 12 of its first 14 fixtures on the road. Audi Field (rendition above) is being built and won't be ready until the summer, meaning United will play the Dynamo in its first “home” game Saturday at the Maryland SoccerPlex, then welcome the Crew to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, on April 14. ... Miami is getting an MLS team and David Beckham will be an owner. with the club scheduled to start play in 2020. Nashville, Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix all also interested in getting a franchise. ... Will Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid) ultimately end up in the MLS, maybe with David Villa at NYCFC? Or will veteran Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) end up playing for the Galaxy?

Saturday's GamesColumbus Crew vs. Philadelphia UnionFree MLS Picks: Crew +185 / Over 2½ -167Best Line Offered: Intertops

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The Crew (2-0-0, 5 GF/2 GA) visit Talon Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa., to face the Union (1-0-0, 2 GF/0 GA) at 2 p.m. ET. After knocking off defending champion Toronto FC 2-0 in Week 1, the Crew escaped with a win and three points on Gyasi Zardes' PK goal in stoppage time at home against the Impact. Philadelphia is 4-0-1 (W-D-L) in the past five meetings with the Crew, outscoring them 10-5 and shutting them out in the final matchup last season. This time things will be different. With your MLS picks, expect the new-look Black & Gold to score at least a couple goals. Prediction: Crew 2, Union 1.

Orlando City SC at New York City FCFree MLS Picks: NYCFC -200 / Over 2½ -167Best Line Offered: Intertops

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NYCFC (2-0-0, 4 GF/1 GA) welcomes Orlando City SC (0-1-1, 2 GF/3 GA) to Yankee Stadium for an Eastern Conference fixture at 3:30 p.m. New York won its home opener last week, 2-1 over the Galaxy -- who were playing a long, long way from home. NYCFC and Orlando City expanded into the MLS in 2015, and NYCFC is 2-1-2 in the series with both sides scoring seven goals. There have been four "overs" and one "under" in the totals market on the MLS odds board. With the jagged corners of a stadium built for baseball and a total set at 2½ (Over, -167), backing the hosts along with the "over" is the call in this St. Patrick’s Day match, and laying a goal (NYCFC -1 +130) might be the preferred route for some. Prediction: NYCFC 3, Orlando City 1.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Atlanta United FCFree MLS Picks: Atlanta United FC -182 / Over 2½ -167Best Line Offered: Intertops

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After getting blasted 4-0 at Houston in Week 1, Atlanta FC (1-1-0, 0 GF/4 GA) rebounded nicely by topping D.C. United 3-1 in last week's home opener, rallying for two second-half goals. Now Atlanta welcomes unbeaten Vancouver (2-0-0, 4 GF/2 GA) to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for an interconference showdown at 7:30 p.m. In their only meeting ever, at Vancouver last season, the Whitecaps sent Atlanta United back to the States pointless following a 3-1 victory. Atlanta United is a completely different animal at home, scoring 48 home goals last year — the most by any MLS club since 2010 — and with the addition of Darlington Nagbe (Timbers), this club is so stacked that Coach Gerardo Martino will have problems finding playing time for all of his young talent that has a nose for the net. Goals matter in MLS. And goals just wanna have fun.

Josef Martínez (1 goal), Héctor Villalba (1 goal), Miguel Almirón (1 goal), newbie Nagbe, 19-year-old Brandon Vazquez and 23-year-old Jamaican Romario Williams give Martino an embarrassment of riches. But with four unbeaten teams in the East, expect one-loss Atlanta FC to come out pressing the attack early here. Backing the first-half "over" might be a good idea for the really serious, as the Whitecaps also have some guys who can score. Totals in Atlanta United home matches should probably be set at 3, but until the sportsbooks get hip to that reality, backing Atlanta FC "over" at 2½ (Over -167) seems to be a fairly wise approach. Prediction: Atlanta United FC 3, Vancouver 2.

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