Real Salt Lake (7-4-8) could really use a win right about now and lucky for the Claret and Cobalt and coach Jeff Cassar, the worst team in the MLS right now will play against them. How will you bet?
Who: Real Salt Lake vs. Montreal Impact
What: Major League Soccer regular season
Where: Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah, USA
When: Thursday, July 24, 2014
Weather: The Weather Channel forecast Sandy, Utah
Time: 19:o0 GMT 10:00 p.m. ET/7:o0 p.m. PT
TV: MLS Direct Kick, MLS Live, UDN (USA); MLS Live (Canada)
Worldwide Livestreams and TV Channels: LiveSoccerTV.com
Radio: SiriusXM FC SIRI 94 (Internet 94)
Referee: ProReferees.com Link
3-Way Odds: RSL -149, Montreal +325, Draw +285
Total: Over 2½ -125, Under 2½ -105
Decimal Odds: RSL 1.67, Montreal 4.25, Draw 3.85
Decimal Total: Over 2½ 1.85, Under 2½ 1.95
Fractional Odds: RSL 67/100, Montreal 13/4, Draw 57/20
Fractional Total: Over 2½ 4/5, Under 2½ 19/20
Odds To Win MLS Cup: Real Salt Lake 7/1, Montreal 80/1
Source: sportsbook.ag (Antigua and Barbuda, West Indes)
The 2013 and 2014 Canadian Championship winners and the third MLS franchise from Canada, Montreal heads into this match with a number of dubious distinctions including the worst record in the league (3-10-5), the least number of points (14), the worst points per game average (0.78), road goal differential (-11) and overall goal differential (-18). So, this is a game the hosts should not only expect to win, but should expect to win fairly easily.
But things haven’t been going that swimmingly for Real Salt Lake—the third-place team in the Western Conference—as of late, which has really struggled over its last eight games (1-4-3) being outscored 12-5 in the process. Still, because of a nice start, Real Salt Lake is still in the thick of the Western Conference and MLS Cup race, but the home team really needs a win for both its head and the valuable three points in this one.
This recent swoon has left Real Salt Lake (29 points) just two points ahead of sixth-place Vancouver (27 points) as the Whitecaps are just one-spot off the playoff cut after Saturday night’s draw between the two clubs in Sandy. Joao Plata provided the equalizer for Real Salt Lake off an assist from Kyle Beckerman in the 81st minute after Vancouver benefitted from a very bad call against RSL defender Nat Borchers who made a wonderful play on the ball in the penalty area in the 73rd minute but was called for a penalty against Darren Mattocks who converted the PK past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
Hopefully for RSL, the Impact de Montréal and coach Frank Klopas continue to be Canada’s weakest team in MLS play—despite the Canadian Championships laurels—and continue to lose on the road. The Impact have scored just six times while allowing 17 goals away from home and they have scored two goals (or more) just once in their last 13 matches away from Montreal—that only time coming when they put up two in a 3-2 loss to FC Dallas back on March 8...also still known at the time as Winter in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s now Summer.
In their last game, the Impact had a chance to hand the host Columbus Crew its eighth straight game without a win, but after leading 1-0 at halftime on a Marco Di Vaio goal, the Crew struck back with two second-half goals by Bernardo Añor, both from outside of the penalty area after he created the space he needed, disappointing Montreal coach Klopas who said he thought his defenders could have done better in that situation after the game.
This game should see the hosts RSL—just 2-1-2 in its last five at Rio Tinto (6 GF-6 GA)—come out pretty hard and fast with the taste of Saturday night’s bitter draw with Vancouver fresh in its mouths. And who knows if Impact coach Klopas goes with Troy Perkins, or Evan Bush—who he surprisingly started in goal against the Crew—in goal, but the way RSL has been playing it would be very surprising if it suddenly just started playing really good again on Thursday night and exploded for three goals.
RSL, (-149, sportsbook.ag), as always, will look for Plata (8 goals, 3 assists), Alvaro Saborio (6 goals) and Beckerman to spearhead the attack which has been anything but dangerous these last two months. But with goalkeeper Rimando (111 MLS clean sheets) still chasing Kevin Hartman’s all-time MLS shutout record of 112 clean sheets, expect the homeboys defense to be in lockdown mode to try to give the offense a chance to spark some much-needed energy for a team that cannot afford a Draw (at best soccer betting odds of +285) or a loss (Montreal +325) in this particular game.
And that fear should be enough to motivate the Claret and Cobalt to a much-needed victory at home in the Beehive State and earn the three points and maybe a little bit of breathing room in the MLS standings.
Prediction: Real Salt Lake 2 Montreal 1
Free Soccer Pick: Real Salt Lake -149
Written by Kevin Stott