We are now just a couple of days away from the end of the Group Stage in the MLS is Back Tournament, with a few teams already punching their ticket into the Round of 16. For others who have played all 3 games, there is still a bit of a waiting game to see if they have done enough to land one of the 4 best 3rd place finish spots. Even if some of those teams do move on, which they will, they will have already earned all the regular season points they can get. Remember, the points earned in the group stage carry over to the main regular season. We will have a clearer picture of things on Wednesday once we see the 3 games that are on the schedule. Let’s take a closer look at each so you can place your bets against their MLS odds.
MLS July 22nd Games Preview
Real Salt Lake Vs Sporting Kansas City – 9 AM EST
Group D is turning into a bit of a battle, with 3 teams looking to have a legitimate shot at moving on to the Round of 16. Real Salt Lake are sitting on top of the group C with 4 points, which should be enough to get them into the next stage, no matter what happens here. After a loss to Minnesota United in their tournament opener, Sporting Kansas City kept themselves in this thing with a very confident 3-0 win over Colorado, who are still looking for their first points of the tournament.
A draw here would suit Real Salt Lake, but Sporting KC need to pick up something to be sure of moving on. Salt Lake won both meetings last season, but I think we get a draw here.
- Pick: Real Salt Lake 1 Sporting Kansas City 1
New York Red Bulls Vs FC Cincinnati – 8 PM EST
The future of both of these teams in this tournament is still hanging in the balance. The Columbus Crew have already punched their ticket, so space is limited, and with these two sitting on 3 points. Both of their wins have come against Atlanta United, who have been incredibly poor, but when you look at these two teams side by side, you get a definite sense that one of them is better than the other.
The Red Bulls and Cincinnati have met 3 times since Cincy came into the league, and it has been New York who have won all 3. I think we get more of the same here.
- Pick: New York Red Bulls 2 FC Cincinnati o
Colorado Rapids Vs Minnesota United – 10:30 PM EST
The bonus that these two teams have of playing the final game of the night is that they will know exactly what they need to do to get out of Group D. Minnesota United already have a very good shot at moving into the Round of 16 after picking up 4 points from their first 2 games, but things are a good deal more grim for the Colorado Rapids. They have lost both games thus far, getting outscored 5-2 in the process. Even if they win, their chances of moving on look slim.
These two split their season series last year, with goals hard to come by in both games. I think Minnesota does enough to get the win in this one.
- Pick: Colorado Rapids 0 Minnesota United 1