This is a busy period for the MLS teams as a majority of teams had games mid-week, giving them three contests in a week. The standings are still pretty tight-packed at the top in both conferences, but some teams have fallen on hard times in May and slipped down the standings with the congested schedules.
This is the time of the year when the contenders separate themselves. This weekend provides a unique scheduling setup with a few of the top teams from each conference playing each other so you can bet against their MLS Odds. The weekend also features a rare matchup between two of the biggest drawing teams in the league.
MLS Weekend Games Preview – May 19th Edition | Soccer Betting Analysis
Austin, Orlando Battling For Crucial Points
A pair of teams off to very good and surprising starts meetup on Sunday night as Orlando City travel to face Austin FC. The Lions were one of the few teams in the league that didn’t play during the week, so they will be well-rested for their trip to the capital of Texas. Austin FC joined MLS last year, and these teams have never met.
Austin FC went on the road this week and knocked off LAFC 2-1 to take over first place in the Western Conference. Ruben Gabrielsen scored in the 13th minute, and Diego Fagundez doubled the lead in the 80th minute off a brilliant pass from April Player of the Month Sebastián Driussi. Driussi leads the team with seven goals, while Fagundez has seven assists.
The Lions last played in a 1-0 win at Toronto FC on May 14, as Kyle Smith’s header in the second minute of stoppage time earned all three points. Facundo Torres has two goals, while Mauricio Pereyra leads the team with five assists. Orlando City enters this showdown in a four-way tie for second in the East, one point behind leaders Philadelphia Union.
At MyBookie, Austin is favored at home to take all three points, at +111. Orlando City is +225 on the road to win the match with a draw at +245. The total goals is listed at 2.5, with the over at -147 and the under at +110.
New Look to Southeast Rivalry
Unlike the last two years, now when Nashville SC and Atlanta United meet in their rivalry game on national TV, it isn’t a conference battle. With Charlotte entering the Eastern Conference, Nashville shifted to the West this season, and they sit in sixth place on 18 points. Atlanta is having a resurgence this season, and they are in seventh place with 15 points, despite playing one less game than the teams above them in the table.
Atlanta is adjusting to life without veteran goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who suffered an Achilles injury last month. They have played six games since then, four in MLS action, with nine goals allowed in that span. Bobby Shuttleworth took over and among his starts so far were the 3-2 loss in the U.S. Open Cup when Nashville overcame a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2.
Nashville won that contest in dramatic fashion as C.J. Sapong tied the game in the second minute of stoppage time. Ethan Zubak needed the winner in the 93rd minute, and Atlanta couldn’t find an answer in the final 27 minutes. The teams are 2-2-2 head-to-head in their six MLS battles since Nashville joined MLS.
While Atlanta had the midweek off, Nashville beat Montreal CF 2-1 at home with a goal from Alex Muyi and a strike from goal-scoring leader Hany Mukhtar. Now they have a chance for a second-straight win over Atlanta and a second straight win over an East contender.
At MyBookie, Nashville is +102 as the home favorite to get the win. Atlanta is +280, and a draw is +230. Over 2.5 goals is +120 and under 2.5 goals is -156.
Crew Head to Los Angeles
With a 2-1 loss on Wednesday, LAFC fell out of first place in the West for the first time all season. They are equal on points with Austin FC at 23, but with the loss to Austin, they are behind on the tiebreaker. Saturday afternoon, they head across the country, three time zones, to face a struggling Columbus Crew squad on national TV.
This will be the only regular-season matchup this year between two of the biggest clubs in terms of fan base and merch sales. Columbus hasn’t played a home game at Lower.com Field since April 30, and this is their lone game in Ohio in a 50-day span. They were shutout at NYCFC 2-0 last Saturday and drew 2-2 at New England the previous week.
The Crew have struggled to score lately, and they traded striker Gyasi Zardes to Colorado Rapids. Midfielder Lucas Zelarayan was the March Player of the Month with four goals in the first three games, but he is scoreless in the last seven contests. He still leads the team in goals with four, one more than Derrick Etienne Jr.
Carlos Vela scored a late PK for LAFC on Wednesday, and he leads the team with five goals on the season. LAFC have scored 24 goals in 12 games, with six players scoring at least twice so far this season. For the first time all season, LAFC enter a game with a losing streak, having fallen 2-1 to Austin and 2-0 at Colorado Rapids.
MyBookie lists the Crew as a narrow home favorite at +140. LAFC are +190 on the road to take all three points, while a draw is listed at +240. Over 2.5 goals is -128 and under 2.5 goals is +101.