- MLS Week 12 kicks of this weekend with the second phase of the regular season beginning
- A huge tilt between the Seattle Sounders and LAFC gets things started on Friday night. With each team having won once in the head-to-head this season, who comes out on top in their third meeting?
- Read on for the odds and best bets from the weekend slate of games below
The first phase of the MLS regular season that resumed this summer is now complete after three matches were played midweek.
Seattle hosting LAFC on Friday night kicks off the second phase, followed by a jam-packed ten-match slate on Saturday, as well as Montreal and Philadelphia closing out the weekend on Sunday night. Conference leaders Columbus and Sporting Kansas City are both at home Saturday and listed as heavy favorites against Nashville and FC Dallas respectively.
Scoring is picking back up in MLS with all three midweek matches seeing both teams scoring, as well as 8/12 last weekend. In those matches, 11/15 also saw at least three goals scored.
Let’s take a look at the odds for each game this weekend, along with our top picks from the slate below.
MLS Week 12 Odds
|New England Revolution||+150|
|New York City FC||+162|
|New York Red Bulls||-188|
|Orlando City FC||-118|
|Real Salt Lake||-182|
All odds taken Sept 17 at Bet365
Pick 1: Seattle Sounders vs Los Angeles FC
The weekend round of matches kicks off with likely the best game of the week as MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders host the reigning Supporters’ Shield winners Los Angeles FC at 10:00 pm EST Friday night.
Seattle is making a push for the top of the West standings, currently second with 18 points, while LAFC is fifth with 15.
The teams have met on two occasions in 2020 with LAFC winning 4-1 during the MLS is Back playoffs and Seattle exacting revenge at home on August 30 in a 3-1 win. Both wins were convincing and Friday night should be another exciting match with both teams full of offensive talent.
The Sounders have been off for just over a week having not played since last Thursday’s 7-1 romp over San Jose, where they scored four goals in the opening 20 minutes of play. Seattle is now 4-1-1 since the regular season restarted, having scored 16 and conceded five in that stretch, but having only kept one clean sheet.
— Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas) September 11, 2020
LAFC have been extremely Jekyll and Hyde since the regular season resumed going just 2-0-4 (WDL), being shut out 2-0, 3-0 and 3-0, but also winning two matches by 5-1 and 4-2 scorelines. Their explosive offense hasn’t been on point and is still missing Carlos Vela. However, it came to play on Sunday scoring three first-half goals against Portland and eventually winning 4-2.
Diego Rossi, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Danny Musovski all scored, with Kaye and Wright-Phillips also picking up assists.
LAFC are the league’s highest scorers with 25 goals but are leaking oil defensively having also conceded the second-most with 24.
Partially aided by their seven-goal outburst last week, Seattle are second in league scoring with 23 goals and have kept things tight defensively by only allowing ten goals.
Only Toronto FC have a higher expected goals (xG) tally this year of 21.9 than each of LAFC and Seattle who are tied in second at 21.7, according to fbref.com. When you consider each team’s non-penalty xG per 90 the teams rank 1st/2nd with Seattle at 1.96 and LAFC at 1.90. Both teams have also consistently been playing to the OVER with LAFC leading the league at 9-2 with O/U 2.5 totals and Seattle right behind at 8-2.
There’s no reason to expect the LAFC defense to be able to contain the likes of Jordan Morris, Raul Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro at CenturyLink Field with how they’ve been playing of late. But coming off a four-goal performance in their last outing, the LAFC offense should also be able to contribute to the scoresheet as well.
Pick: Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals (-163)
Pick 2: DC United vs Toronto FC
DC plays host to Toronto at 7:30 pm EST Saturday night in what looks like a huge mismatch on paper. It may also play out that way on the field.
Toronto is just three points back of Columbus for first place in the Eastern Conference and will be playing their first regular season game against US competition since the season resumed. Now in Phase 2 of the regular season, Toronto will play their “home” games at various American locations but will travel to Audi Field in DC for this one.
Previous to this game, TFC had played six games against only Vancouver and Montreal in Canada and went 4-0-2 (WDL). They’re well-rested, having not played since September 9, when they won 2-1 over Montreal on a last-minute Jozy Altidore winner in the 89th minute.
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) September 10, 2020
DC are currently 11th in the East but just one point out of the playoffs—amazing when you consider they have just two wins on the year and only one since their 2-1 win over expansion side Miami back in February.
In their six recent games since the season resumed their only win came vs the Red Bulls (1-0) with a 98′ minute winner after being completed dominated all match. They were completely outplayed again in their next match to NYCFC, failing to even record a single attempt at goal (19-0 NYC) but somehow held on for a 0-0 draw. In each of those matches, DC had just 62 and 52 final third passes.
Last Saturday they took a more offensive approach and finished with their most final third passes of the year (182) and highest possession of any game (62.5-percent) but were still shutout 2-0 to the Red Bulls who got their revenge for their previous loss to DC.
These teams kept things close last year with 0-0 and 1-1 draws in the regular season and were also tied 1-1 in the playoffs before Toronto exploded with four goals in extra-time for a 5-1 win.
They also met this summer at the MLS is Back Tournament and while the final scoreline read 2-2, Toronto held 66-percent of possession and had the ball all over the attacking third, making 180-85 final third passes compared to DC. Toronto led 2-0 at the half with two Ayo Akinola goals but let their foot off the gas to end the game allowing DC two late goals at the 84′ and 91′ minutes to draw level.
DC simply doesn’t have the horses to compete with Toronto in this one. There is a chance they escape with another draw and Toronto can’t break their low block as was the case with NYCFC against DC. But Toronto should have the ball in DC’s half most of the game and have too many playmakers who should eventually find the back of the net.
14 – @dcunited has failed to score in the first half of their last 14 matches (including playoffs), the longest run in @MLS since Chivas USA went 14 games without a first-half goal from July-September 2014. Tardy. pic.twitter.com/JksytKvtWN
— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) September 12, 2020
Toronto leads the league in touches in the middle third, attacking third and opponent’s penalty area. DC is 21st in the attacking third and 24th in the penalty area.
And just to throw a couple more porous DC numbers your way, United is dead-last in average attempts per 90 with eight, and have still yet to score a single goal in the first half all season. A bet on Toronto to be leading at half could also be a good bet at +150 odds. If you want to follow the trend of DC not scoring in the first half, that can be had at -175.
Greg Vanney will have TFC up for this one and will ensure TFC puts in a complete performance this time. The early lines had TFC at +150 odds for a road win and that quickly moved to a current price of -106.
Pick: Toronto FC Win (-106)
Pick 3: Orlando City SC vs Chicago Fire
Orlando hosts Chicago at 7:30 pm EST Saturday night with Orlando making a push near the top of the East (4th) and Chicago looking to crack into the playoffs, currently 12th and two points back.
Orlando is an interesting case. They are far surpassing both their xG and xGA. The Lions have an xG of 10.1, yet have scored 19 goals on the season. Defensively, their xGA of 6.8 is second to only Toronto in the East, yet they’ve conceded 13 goals, ranking mid-pack. All that has lead to Orlando City leading the East with the most totals that have exceeded 2.5 goals at 7-4.
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) September 16, 2020
Since the regular season resumed, Orlando has both scored and conceded in all six matches. That streak extends three more games if you consider their playoff matches at MLS is Back. But in the six most recent regular season games, betting both teams to score in Orlando matches is a perfect 6-0 and OVER 2.5 totals are 4-2. The fact they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet playing two games each versus expansion sides Nashville and Miami, as well as freefalling Atlanta, is worrying.
Chicago is not exactly a step up in class from those sides, but I do like the Fire’s chances or continuing to deny the Lions a clean sheet.
The Fire are just 1-2-3 (WDL) since the season resumed but have scored in four of their five recent matches. Last weekend they came out strong versus league-leaders Columbus Crew and took a 2-0 lead, though would eventually fade down the stretch and come away with just a 2-2 draw.
— Patrick McCraney (@patrickmccraney) September 12, 2020
Chicago is almost just as much an expansion side as the real expansion teams this season but they do have some talent on their squad. Robert Beric has three goals and an assist on the year and is fourth in the league in shots on target with 13. He should get some opportunities to add to those totals against Orlando.
Expecting the Fire to keep things tight at the back would be a foolish bet though. Chicago, in all competitions in 2020 have kept just two clean sheets and both have been against the goal-starved FC Cincinnati.
The Fire’s 18 goals allowed on the year is worst in the East, and it’s even worse than their 25th-ranked xGA of 15.4
This is another match where I see a few goals and both sides contributing, with that outcome offering a near even-money return.
Pick: Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals (-105)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.