MLS Week 1 Rundown: Minnesota & Atlanta Debut

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 3:51 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 1, 2017 3:51 PM UTC

MLS expands from 20 to 22 clubs this season as Atlanta United and Minnesota United FC join the fray in the USA's top professional soccer league, which begins play this weekend. Let’s look at all Week 1 matches and offer up some prime-cut picks.

 Portland Timbers vs. Minnesota United

Providence Park, Portland, Friday, 9:30 p.m. EST

The Timbers (12-8-14, 48 GF-53 GA in 2016) welcome Kevin Molino (OCSC) and expansion club Minnesota to Portland on Friday FS1) for their MLS Regular Season debut in a Western Conference match and the MLS season lidlifter from the City of Roses. Portland (20/1 to win MLS Cup, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) saw 14-year vet and D Nat Borchers -- that dude with the long red beard -- retire in the offseason, but Portland has some solid attacking players in Fanendo Adi, Jack McInerney, Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri. These two played here Sunday in the preseason and after two Minnesota United (100/1 to win MLS Cup, SuperBook) goals from Johan Venegas, Portland rallied for a 2-2 draw on goals from McInerney and Adi. Let’s start the season off with a winner by taking a good home team not wanting to let down the natives playing an expansion side (Minnesota, +400) in its first match that matters. Timber Joey prevails.

Final Score Prediction
Timbers 2, Minnesota United 1MLS Pick: Timbers -167 at Intertops



Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire

Mapfre Stadium, Columbus, Saturday, 2 p.m. EST

The weather will be bearable in Columbus on Saturday (45°, Cloudy, 10-15 mph Winds) for this Eastern Conference opener between two Midwestern clubs who didn’t make the Playoffs last season -- David Accam and the 10th-place Fire (7-10-17, 42 GF-58 GA) and Ola Kamara and the 9th-place Crew (8-12-14, 50 GF-58 GA), teams that tied for allowing the most goals (58) in MLS. The Over is 3-1 L4 in this series (CHI 2-2 CLB, CLB 3-0 CHI, CHI 0-0 CLB, CLB 3-1 CHI) with the L2 meetings in Ohio being Overs. Both clubs getting a goal sounds logical with both sides healthy and well-rested.

Final Score PredictionCrew 2, Fire 2MLS Pick: Over 2½ -143 (Intertops)MLS Props Pick: Both Teams To Score (Yes) -142 (Bet365)


LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas

StubHub Center, Carson, Saturday, 4 p.m. EST

Worth watching (MLS Live Univision, Sky Sports 2), this showdown between FC Dallas (17-9-8, 50 GF-40 GA) and the LA Galaxy (12-16-6, 54 GF-39 GA) from Carson between the clubs with the two highest goals scored totals in the Western Conference last year may best be passed at the betting windows with the hosts drawing 8 times at Home in 2016. Old studs Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard and Landon Donovan have all retired and left La La Land, but the Galaxy still have some firepower in Giovani dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget, Baggio Hušidic and new signee and Designated Player Romain Alessandrini (Marseille). A look at the L5 meetings in this series (LA 0-0 DAL, DAL 1-0 LA, LA 3-2 DAL, DAL 1-2 LA, DAL 2-1 LA) reveals just one goal scored in last season’s two matches and the Galaxy (6/1 to win MLS Cup, SuperBook) and FCD (8/1 to win MLS Cup, SuperBook) both 2-2-1 with all four decision one-goal games.

Final Score PredictionLA Galaxy 1, FC Dallas 1MLS Picks: None


Real Salt Lake vs. Toronto FC

Rio Tinto, Sandy, Utah, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. EST

It’s hard for a team from Canada like Toronto FC (6/1 to win MLS Cup, SuperBook) to head to Utah’s Wasatch Mountains and win soccer games against Real Salt Lake (40/1 to win MLS Cup, SuperBook) and recent history bears that out with RSL -- which like the Galaxy, had just one loss and 8 draws last season on Home soil -- W7 straight and going a profitable 8-0-1 in the 9 matches played in SLC in this series, outscoring TFC, 32-9. The Trend rules here.

Final Score PredictionReal Salt Lake 1, Toronto FC 0MLS Pick: Real Salt Lake +115 (Intertops)

Colorado Rapids vs. New England Revolution

Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Saturday, 6 p.m. EST

Veteran GK Tim Howard and the Rapids (12/1 to win MLS Cup, SuperBook) were the best Defensive club in the MLS last season but finished tepid after a hot start. Here against Kei Kamara and the Revolution (40/1 to win MLS Cup, SuperBook) in the Rocky Mountains, the hosts should have the edge with the visitors traveling 2 Time Zones west to MST. The L5 meetings in this series (NE 2-0 COL, COL 0-2 NE, NE 3-0 COL, COL 2-1 NE, NE 2-1 COL) show the Home team 4-0-1, two straight Unders after three straight 3-goal games and the Revolution W3 straight on three Clean Sheets and outscoring the Rapids, 8-0.

Final Score PredictionRapids 1, Revolution 1MLS Pick: None


DC United vs. Sporting Kansas City

RFK Stadium, Washington, DC, Saturday, 7 p.m. EST

The L5 meetings in this series (SKC 0-1 DCU, DCU 1-1 SKC, DCU 0-0 SKC, SKC 0-3 DCU, DCU 1-0 SKC) show that goals are few are far between with just 3 being scored in the L3 played in DC. With Dominic Dwyer and Sporting Kansas City (20/1 to win MLS Cup, Intertops) only mustering 12 goals in 16 Road matches last season, the slight lean here is to lean DC United (20/1 to win MLS Cup, Intertops), which comes in unbeaten in its L5 (3-2-0) vs. SKC and allowing just 1 goal over that span. But a deeper handicapping dive reveals our pick here with 10 Unders in the L12 in this series in games averaging just 1.42 gpg.

Final Score PredictionDC United 1, Sporting Kansas City 1MLS Pick: Under 2½ -111 (Intertops)

Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders

BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Saturday, 8:30 EST

The Houston Dynamo (7-13-14, 39 GF-45 GA) were the worst club in the Western Conference last season and tied the Fire for the least number of Wins in the Regular Season (7). On Saturday, Clint Dempsey returns from his injury to lead the defending MLS champion Seattle Sounders (13/2 to win MLS Cup, Intertops) in another series where the Under has dominated of late (SEA 0-0 HOU, HOU 1-1 SEA, HOU 1-1 SEA, HOU 1-1 SEA, SEA 1-0 HOU) going 6-0 in the L6 meetings including three straight 1-1 Draws in Houston (50/1 to win MLS Cup, Intertops). The road dog looks very live.

Final Score PredictionSounders 3, Dynamo 1MLS Pick: Sounders +175 (Intertops)


San Jose Earthquakes vs. Montreal Impact

Avaya Stadium, San Jose, Saturday, 10 p.m. EST

Chris Wondolowski and the San Jose Earthquakes (50/1 to win MLS Cup, Intertops) welcome the Impact (28/1 to win MLS Cup at online sportsbook Intertops -- which has a 200% Cash Bonus for new Sign-ups and which gets a stellar A grade in the best sportsbooks rating here at Sportsbook Review -- to California for a big inter-conference meeting which fits the Draw mold at first look. A glance at the L5 meetings in this series (MTL 3-1 SJ, SJ 1-1 MTL, MTL 2-0 SJ, SJ 2-2 MTL, MTL 3-1 SJ) reveals two straight Draws at San Jose and the Both Teams To Score Prop “Yes” going 4-1 the 5 lifetime meetings in MLS action. Can we see a third straight Draw at Avaya Stadium?

Final Score PredictionEarthquakes 1, Impact 1MLS Pick: Draw +230 (Intertops)  Orlando City vs. NYCFC

Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Sunday, 5 p.m. EST

European legend Kaká, Cyle Larin and Orlando City (33/1 to win MLS Cup, Intertops) play host to David Villa and NYCFC (16/1 to win MLS Cup, Intertops) Sunday (MLS Live, Sky Sports 2) in a big early-season Eastern Conference fixture for both sides. Orlando City has gone an unbeaten 3-1-0 the L4 in this series (OCSC 2-1 NYCFC, NYCFC 2-2 OCSC, NYCFC 0-1 OCSC, OCSC 2-1 NYCFC), while the Over is 4-1 in the L5 with two, 2-1 OCSC wins at Home in the Sunshine State where it opened its new stadium last season. Smells like goals, goals, goals.

Final Score PredictionOrlando City 2, NYCFC 2MLS Pick: Over 2½ -133 (Intertops)MLS Props Pick: Both Teams To Score (Yes) -166 (Coral)


Atlanta United FC vs. New York Red Bulls

Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, Sunday, 7:30 pm ET

Expansion club Atlanta United FC (100/1 to win MLS Cup, Intertops) plays its first MLS Regular Season game but while it is at Home—they’ll play at Bobby Dodd Stadium (home to Georgia Tech) until the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium is completed later this year—they face a tough task with Bradley Wright-Phillips (69 goals in 107 appearances) and the New York Red Bulls (5/1 to win MLS Cup, Intertops) in Atlanta on Sunday night (FS1, MLS Live). Although it signed Argentine striker Josef Martínez as Designated Player, Atlanta United should be up against it versus the oddsmakers 2017 MLS Cup odds favorites at +500. Let’s gamble and lay a goal.

Final Score PredictionRed Bulls 2, Atlanta United 0MLS Pick: Red Bulls -1 at +360 (Intertops)

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Philadelphia Union

BC Place, Vancouver, Sunday, 9:30 p.m. EST

Pedro Morales and the Whitecaps (10-9-15, 45 GF-52 GA) welcome the Union (11-9-14, 52 GF-55 GA) to British Columbia on Sunday night not to search Lake Okanagan for Ogopogo but to wrap up MLS Week 1. The L5 meetings in this series (PHI 2-3 VAN, VAN 3-0 PHI, PHI 3-3 VAN, VAN 0-1 PHI, PHI 0-0 VAN) show the Whitecaps to be 2-2-1 and the Union with only one goal in their L2 trips to Vancouver. A potential draw, but honestly too tough to call and it looks like there are already enough cherries in our baskets.

Final Score PredictionWhitecaps 1, Union 1MLS Pick: NoneBet On MLS Soccer At SBR's Top Sportsbooks
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