MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew

2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Final (2nd Leg): Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew

BMO Field – Wednesday, November 29 – 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT)

Match Odds: Toronto 4/7 – Draw 4/1 – Columbus 3/1

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Preview

The Eastern Conference Final second leg is finely poised as Toronto FC welcome Columbus Crew to BMO Field. The scoreless draw at MAPFRE Stadium a week ago means there has to be a goal for this one to be settled in normal time.

Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney has been named MLS coach of the year. He will be looking for his side to progress here. But as the first leg proved, the two can be difficult to separate.

Their effective performance in the first leg has given them the ideal platform ahead of this game. Toronto are favourites to reach the MLS Cup Final, but they cannot take that for granted.

Embed from Getty Images

Columbus Crew struggled to break Toronto down and were frustrated in the first leg. By failing to score they have missed a good opportunity to put TFC on the back foot.

But Crew SC know that they can actually reach the final without winning the game. A score draw will be enough to take them through.

Gregg Berhalter will need to have his side well drilled and prepared to deal with a much stronger Toronto. They cannot afford to try and sit back too much, but by the same token they cannot play with an overly expansive style.

Embed from Getty Images

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Team News

TFC welcome back Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore for the second leg. The squad is fresh with no injuries, so this should be Toronto in full force.

Columbus are with midfielder Artur through suspension. Connor Maloney, Gaston Sauro and Ben Swanson are all out, while Alex Crognale is a doubt.

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Key Points

Toronto’s last five: W/D/W/L/D

Columbus Crew’s last five: D/W/W/L/D

Key Stat: 32 goals return – The return of Giovinco and Altidore means Toronto are in a strong position to advance to the MLS Cup Final. Their goal machines were missed last time out but considering their absentees the TFC side that drew the first leg did very well.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco  – Greg Vanney has called for the MLS MVP to come from his record-breaking Toronto side and it would be a surprise to see Giovinco honoured with the award. The Atomic Ant has had an extraordinary season and he will surely be key if his side are to progress to their second final in as many seasons.

Embed from Getty Images

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Prediction

Toronto FC 3-1 Columbus Crew – The Eastern Conference Final second leg is finely balanced. TFC’s returning duo will be expected to provide the goods and prove too much to handle for Columbus.

Advertisements

MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC

2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Final (1st Leg): Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC

MAPFRE Stadium – Tuesday, November 21 – 20:00 ET (01:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Columbus 19/20 – Draw 11/5 – Toronto 2/1

Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC: Preview

The MLS Cup Playoffs continue on Tuesday night with the first leg of the Eastern Conference Championship. Columbus Crew welcome Toronto FC to MAPFRE Stadium in a game which has had plenty of people talking.

Columbus Crew weren’t tipped by the masses to make it this far considering they finished 5th in the East in the regular season. However, their playoff form has made people sit up and take note. They will be relishing the chance to try and take a lead away to Toronto in the second leg.

They have been spurred on by off-field uncertainties surrounding the team’s future location. A special atmosphere is expected on Tuesday night, considering this could be the final game at MAPFRE Stadium.

This is a big chance for Crew to do what they did to NYCFC in the previous round in their home fixture. They have won seven of their last eight at MAPFRE and given the absentees for Toronto there is every chance they can do it again.

Embed from Getty ImagesToronto FC have already secured a double this season and are aiming for the first treble in MLS history. But, those missing key players are going to have a huge impact on the game.

Sebastian Giovinco, arguably the frontrunner for the MVP award is suspended as is his strike partner Jozy Altidore. No matter how well a squad can perform on their day, missing two superstars is a concern for the very best teams.

Greg Vanney will be looking for his side to pull together here and make it difficult for their opponents. They cannot afford to fall to the sword in the first leg like NYCFC did at the hands of Columbus.

If they can take a draw or a low scoring margin of defeat into the second leg they’ll fancy their chances. That said, there is no chance they won’t be playing for the win.

Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC

via @TorontoFC on Twitter

Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC: Team News

Columbus Crew have no suspensions ahead of the first leg. However Hector Jimenez, Artur, Josh Williams and Mohammed Abu are going to have to be careful not to pick up a booking, as it will rule them out of the return fixture. Alex Crognale, Gaston Sauro, Ben Swanson and Connor Maloney are all out through injury.

Toronto FC are without Giovinco and Altidore through suspension, but will return for the second leg. Drew Moor and Victor Vazquez are doubtful to make it into the squad as they continue to recover from injury.

Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC: Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/D/W/W/L

Toronto’s last five: W/W/D/W/L

Key Stat: 32 goals missing – The absence of Giovinco and Altidore means Toronto are missing two players who have netted a combined 32 goals in 2017.

Key Player: Ola Kamara – The Columbus Crew forward has 19 goals to his name this season. He will be expected to provide the goals to put his side in a commanding position after the first leg.

Embed from Getty ImagesColumbus Crew vs Toronto FC: Prediction

Columbus Crew 2-1 Toronto FC – Given the squads ahead of this game it would be surprising to see Columbus Crew not take a lead into the second leg. However, Toronto FC are more than a two-man team. They have only lost one of their last nine games on the road and will be out to prove a point in such a big game. It’s going to be a tactical battle which should set up the second leg to be an even better game next week.

Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic action returns, North London Derby the standout fixture

Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic football is back following the international break. Many fans will be delighted that there are no more interruptions until March.

The top six are all in action on Saturday, with the North London Derby kicking things off at 12:30. League leaders Man City travel to Leicester, while Chelsea are also on the road at West Brom. Liverpool and Man United return with home fixtures against Southampton and Newcastle respectively.

Just the one game on Sunday as Watford and West Ham face off in another London Derby. Week 12 is finished off on Monday evening when Brighton host Stoke.

Read on for predictions to all ten of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 12 could see plenty of change at the top…

Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham

Easily the biggest game of the weekend. The North London Derby usually doesn’t disappoint. Arsenal put in a poor display against Man City before the international break, losing 3-1. Arsene Wenger needs a response from his players, a loss to their bitter rivals could see them slip down to 7th. Spurs won 1-0 at Wembley against Palace last time out. A result that in years gone by they may not have been able to grind out. They look a strong force at the moment and confidence is high. Harry Kane and Dele Alli should be refreshed following his exclusion from international call ups, expect them to be at the forefront of the Spurs attack.

Embed from Getty Images

Crystal Palace 1-1 Everton

The Premier League’s bottom side welcome out of form Everton to Selhurst Park. Palace fans may well have been looking forward to the international break in hope of their side having a chance to rebuild and get ready to face Everton. The Toffees really haven’t had anything to shout about. Their loss to Watford last time out meant that they have now conceded as many goals as Palace (22) this season. Both sides are desperate for a win, a scrappy score-draw could be on the cards.

Embed from Getty Images

Liverpool 3-0 Southampton

Jurgen Klopp’s side have got their season on track again. They are sitting 5th in the league and that 4-1 thumping against Spurs seems a long time ago now. However, they are going to have to make sure they do not slip up this weekend. Sadio Mane is ruled out through injury once again, so the pressure for the inform Mohammed Salah to deliver has increased. Southampton have hardly set the world alight so far this season. Their home loss against Burnley before the internationals has left them loitering just four points above the relegation zone. A home win looks likely.

Embed from Getty Images

Bournemouth 1-1 Huddersfield

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are in desperate need of a run of form. They have been unlucky in stages so far this season but it cannot be used as an excuse for their league position. The Cherries are just one point outside of the relegation zone and if results were to go against them this weekend they could be second bottom by Sunday evening. Huddersfield are still progressing well. They won 1-0 before the international break and are more than worth the place bang in the middle of the table. They will no doubt see this as a winnable fixture so expect an energetic game. Score draw.

Embed from Getty Images

Leicester 1-4 Man City

Leicester City may think they were unlucky not to take all three points last time out. But it’s the same inconsistency that cost them. They are creating plenty of chances but are not clinical enough. They are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games, so there is reason to be optimistic ahead of this game. Man City have looked on a completely different level to the rest of the league so far this season. Pep Guardiola’s men are already being spoken about as one of his best ever sides and there is even talk about whether they can go the season unbeaten. Goals are free flowing for the Citizens, so don’t expect anything less this weekend.

Embed from Getty Images

West Brom 1-3 Chelsea

West Brom are in trouble. Tony Pulis reportedly has two games to save his job. One of those is at home to the reigning champions here. The other sees the Baggies head to Wembley to take on Spurs. If the West Brom squad want to show they are behind the manager, now is the time. But they haven’t won in nine-straight league games and have slipped to 16th in the table. Chelsea impressed in their 1-0 win over Man Utd before the international break. Now Antonio Conte’s men need to kick on and keep the pressure on the three sides above them. Expect the Blues to prove too strong.

Embed from Getty Images

Burnley 1-0 Swansea

Swansea have a 100% record against Burnley in their four previous Premier League meetings. But don’t expect that to continue beyond the weekend. Burnley are flying and Sean Dyche’s men are picking up plenty of plaudits for their strong start to the season. The Swans are 19th and seem to be struggling for goals and creativity. Paul Clement will find himself under serious pressure if results don’t improve, but they are unlikely to find at joy at Turf Moor on Saturday in what should be a tight game.

Embed from Getty Images

Man United 2-0 Newcastle

This is a big game for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. They could be 11 points behind Man City by the time they kick off on Saturday evening and they will have to get that gap back to eight, if City indeed win. They failed to score at Chelsea without properly threatening over the 90 minutes but they will have to take the game to Newcastle here. Rafa Benitez’s men will be setting up to contain the hosts and try and hit them on the break and from any set-pieces. It might not be pretty, but United should be able to get it done.

Embed from Getty Images

Watford 2-2 West Ham

David Moyes starts life as West Ham manager with a tricky trip to Watford. Hornets boss Marco Silva looks like he’ll be staying put for now, and that’s a major boost for the home side considering their impressive start to the season. It’s unclear how much the speculation will have got to the Watford players but they’ll have a chance to show they are focused when the Hammers arrive on Sunday. Moyes has a tough job on his hands but he’ll set the visitors up to be solid and try and play as a unit. If they try and impress the new manager they could well come away with something positive.

Embed from Getty Images

Brighton 1-1 Stoke

The fact that Brighton come into Monday night’s game three points ahead of Stoke highlights what an excellent start to the season they’ve made. Chris Hughton’s men have established themselves and have made the Amex Stadium a bit of a fortress so far. They’ve picked up eight points from a possible 12 since losing to Manchester City on the opening weekend of the campaign. They will fancy their chances here, especially with the whole nation’s eyes on them for Monday Night Football. Stoke showed signs of much-needed improvement before the break, beating Watford away before drawing 2-2 at home to Leicester. Mark Hughes has a talented squad of players but is not getting the best out of them. If they show up, they can cause anyone problems, but Brighton will be resolute and hard to break down.

Embed from Getty Images

MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes

2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Knockout Round: Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes

BC Place – Wednesday, October 25 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)

Match Odds: Vancouver 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – San Jose 100/30

Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes: Preview

The 2017 MLS Playoffs are here. In one of four midweek knockout games, Vancouver Whitecaps welcome San Jose Earthquakes to BC Place in a winner-takes-all clash.

The Whitecaps had a strong regular season and finishing third gives them the home advantage. This gives their fans reason to have faith ahead of the tie, as they are undefeated in their last seven home games.

While Vancouver’s run in to the end of the season saw them win just twice in five games they don’t have too much to worry about. As we all know, recent form means little in knockout competition and be assured, Carl Robinson will have his side fired up and ready to go.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes: The Whitecaps faithful will be hoping to see celebrations like this on Wednesday night.

San Jose Earthquakes have reached the postseason for the first time since 2012 in what was a dramatic Decision Day. They conceded the most goals of any side to reach the Playoffs, which is a slight concern for them. However, it’s now all about focusing on how they can advance on Wednesday evening.

While The Quakes have failed to win nine of their last ten on the road, they have every right to feel they can advance. Their recent form against Vancouver has been very strong, which has seen them go unbeaten in the last five meetings.

The most recent meeting between the sides was arguably San Jose’s most important result of the season. Their draw in Vancouver a couple of weeks ago kept their playoff hopes alive. And they showed just how relentless they can be, securing their place in postseason action with an injury time winner over Minnesota. This has the makings of a classic.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes: Team News

The Whitecaps are expecting to be without two, David Edgar and Matias Laba remain out.

The visitors have four injury concerns heading into this one. Harold Cummings, Marvell Wynne, Fatai Alashe are all expected to remain out, while there are doubts over Nick Lima.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes: Key Points

Vancouver’s last five: L/W/L/D/L

San Jose’s last five: L/L/W/D/W

Key Stat: San Jose Earthquakes’ goal differential of -21 is the worst of any playoff team in MLS history. They’re underdogs, but as the final round of the regular season showed, they’re more than capable of getting the result they need.

Key Player: Chris Wondolowski – Much will be expected of Wondo, who was named MLS player of the week, from the Quakes faithful here. His contribution in their final four regular season games was enormous – scoring twice and assisting three. Many will expect Vancouver to progress, but San Jose are more than capable of making it through to the next stage, especially if Wondolowski is on song.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes: Prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps 3-2 San Jose Earthquakes – This is going to be anything but an easy ride for Vancouver Whitecaps. San Jose have proven their capabilities of causing their opposition headaches and their performances to reach the playoffs for the first time in five years will give them that added lift. However, like the vast majority, we are expecting the home side to be in the next round. It would be a major shock if they weren’t.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Atlanta United vs Orlando City

Major League Soccer: Atlanta United vs Orlando City 

Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Saturday, September 16 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)

Match Odds: Atlanta 1/2 – Draw 16/5 – Orlando 5/1

Atlanta United vs Orlando City: Preview

Atlanta United welcome Orlando City to Mercedes-Benz Stadium after their record-breaking mid-week win. The home side equalled the highest ever winning margin in Major League Soccer last time out.

That 7-0 thrashing of New England made it ten goals in just two games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Atlanta. That is as many goals as Orlando have managed in their last 12 games.

There will be even more of a buzz around the ground considering the records that were broken. Josef Martinez’s hat-trick was Atlanta’s third of the season, the most in an inaugural season by an expansion team.

Orlando City have been in a rut of form. However, they did pick up three points last time out. That was their first win in nine games.

The Lions’ faithful have reason to be concerned. They haven’t seen their side make progression this season and are up against an Atlanta side who are just two points away from equally their best tally of 44 points in their two MLS campaigns.

This looks a huge ask for Orlando. If they lose here and results go against them, they could find themselves second bottom in the East.

Atlanta United vs Orlando City: The Lions will be eager to celebrate again this weekend

Atlanta United vs Orlando City: Team News

The home side have a clean bill of health ahead of their third home game in a row. Gerardo Martino will be expected to stick with the same starting XI he did last time out, for obvious reasons.

Orlando City have four injury concerns for the trip. Richie Laryea and Josh Saunders are out. Jonathan Spector’s fitness is being assessed, while Cristian Higuita is a doubt.

Atlanta United vs Orlando City: Key Points

Atlanta United’s last five: D/L/D/W/W

Orlando’s last five: L/D/L/L/W

Key Stat: Atlanta United have scored ten goals in their opening two games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Key Player: Josef Martinez – The Atlanta forward netted a first-half hat-trick in that emphatic 7-0 win, taking his tally in the new stadium to four in two.

Atlanta United vs Orlando City: Prediction

Atlanta United 3-0 Orlando City – Another big win for Atlanta looks like it could be on the cards here. They are the second highest scorers in MLS, while Orlando’s struggles over the last two months have been there for all to see.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Atlanta United vs FC Dallas

Major League Soccer: Atlanta United vs FC Dallas

Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Sunday, September 10 – 15:30 ET (20:30 BST)

Match Odds: Atlanta United 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – FC Dallas 9/4

Atlanta United vs FC Dallas: Preview

The first ever soccer game is due to take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday. Atlanta United welcome FC Dallas to their new £1.38bn home ground in what promises to be a landmark occasion.

Atalanta have picked up just one win in their last five games. However, they have only lost one of those five, so they just need to find a way to turn draws into wins.

This is the first of six home games in a row for Atlanta. If they pick up three points they could start a run of form to see them comfortably into the playoffs.

FC Dallas come into this one without a win in five. They have lost their last three games on the road but are still in the top six in the Western Conference.

Oscar Pareja knows the pressure is on Atlanta to deliver, however that isn’t necessarily a good thing for his side. Dallas may well have to contend with an adrenaline fuelled Atlanta.

Worryingly for FC Dallas, they have conceded at least two goals in six of their last seven games (MLS). The last thing they need to be doing is handing out gifts to Atlanta.

Atlanta United vs FC Dallas

Atlanta United vs FC Dallas: Team News

The home side could be without three as Alec Kann is out. While there are concerns over the fitness of Kenwyne Jones and Mark Bloom.

FC Dallas have a clean-bill of health ahead of this tie.

Atlanta United vs FC Dallas: Key Points

Atlanta United’s last five: W/D/D/L/D

FC Dallas’ last five: D/L/D/L/D

Key Stat: FC Dallas have not won an away game in their last three attempts.

Key Player: Michael Parkhurst – The Atlanta captain will no doubt find this one of the biggest honours of his career. Any captain would be proud to lead their side out for the first time at a new stadium. He will be hoping to lead Atlanta to their first three points in their new home as they’ll look to start as they mean to go on.

Embed from Getty Images

Atlanta United vs FC Dallas: Prediction

Atlanta United 2-1 FC Dallas – Given that just one point separates these two in the Supporters’ Shield standings ahead of the game, it has the makings of a tight one. There is the added rush for Atlanta of the new stadium and the fans will certainly play their part to make for a memorable occasion. This is going to be an entertaining one to watch unfold.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs Portland Timbers

Major League Soccer: New York City FC vs Portland Timbers

Yankee Stadium – Saturday, September 9 – 17:30 ET (22:30 BST)

Match Odds: New York City FC 4/5 – Draw 11/4 – Portland 3/1

New York City FC vs Portland Timbers: Preview

A huge clash takes place at Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening. New York City FC take on Portland Timbers, with both sides sitting second in their respective conference heading into the weekend.

New York City have won four of their last five games and are closing in on Eastern Conference leaders Toronto. They beat Sporting KC 1-0 on Wednesday night and are now six points off the Canadian side. But this is going to be a tough test for Patrick Vieira’s side.

City fear nobody at Yankee Stadium and have won six of their last seven at home. They’ll be feeling confident here as they face a Portland side have won just three games on the road in 2017. The short rest might affect NYCFC but they have enough quality to get the job done.

Portland have lost just one of their last seven games. They are just one point behind Western Conference leaders Seattle, although teams in behind have games in hand.

Caleb Porter will be hoping his side can take three points here but knows what a big ask that will be. Portland, like NYCFC, are missing some key players for this tie.

Goalscoring hasn’t been a problem for Portland. They have netted 48 goals this season, one less than New York City FC. However, the points tally difference says it all. NYCFC are nine points ahead of them in the Supporters’ Shield standings and look a stronger side.

New York City FC vs Portland Timbers: Team News

The home side have a squad riddled with injury. Ronald Matarrita, Miguel Camargo, Maxime Chanot, Ethan White, Mikey Lopez are out. Alex Ring is a doubt. New York City could still be without David Villa, who would be a huge miss. However, Vieira does have Sean Ugo Okoli, who he has heaped praise on this week.

Gbenga Arokoyo and Chance Myers are expected to miss out for Portland. While Liam Ridgewell, Fanendo Adi and Jake Gleeson are all doubts.

New York City FC vs Portland Timbers: Key Points

NYCFC’s last five: W/W/W/D/W

Portland Timbers’ last five: W/L/W/W/D

Key Stat: NYCFC have scored at least two goals in their last nine home games.

Key Player: David Villa – It may seem like Villa is picked as key player for every NYCFC game but it’s warranted. If he’s fit and playing then expect him to deliver. The Spaniard will be itching to net his 20th goal of the season this weekend. He missed Wednesday’s match as a result of his involvement with the Spanish national team but will be looking to come back with a bang, if fit to start on Saturday.

New York City FC vs Portland Timbers: David Villa will be a huge boost if he returns

New York City FC vs Portland Timbers: Prediction

New York City FC 2-1 Portland Timbers – A close affair with NYCFC taking all three points. Portland’s away form makes a New York City win look likely, however you cannot write them off. Expect goals.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC

Major League Soccer: Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC

Stade Saputo – Sunday, August 27 – 16:30 ET (21:30 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal 7/4 – Draw 5/2 – Toronto 13/10

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC: Preview

Sunday afternoon sees Montreal Impact take on Toronto FC in the first regular season meeting between the two in 2017.

Montreal are in a great run of form. They are on a four-game winning streak and confidence is high in the squad. They have won seven of their last eight home games, so Toronto have a challenge on their hands here.

Despite good form, Montreal Impact are sitting 6th in the East. Anything less than a playoff finish will be considered a poor season from this point on.

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC: Impact together

Toronto are frontrunners to pick up the Supporters’ Shield. Greg Vanney’s side are six points clear of the chasing pack but they cannot afford any slip ups.

The Reds have only lost three away games this season, a league low. They are going to have to find a way to stop Montreal’s key player, Ignacio Piatti, if they are to avoid defeat this weekend.

There should be goals in this one, the two have netted 93 between them, with Toronto scoring a league high 52 of those. Their deadly strike duo, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore have a combined 23.

Embed from Getty Images

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC: Team News

Ambroise Oyongo is the only notable absentee for the Impact in this one.

Toronto are expecting to be without both Benoit Cheyrou and Nick Hagglund.

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC: Key Points

Montreal’s last five: L/W/W/W/W

Toronto’s last five: W/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Toronto have lost just once in their last 11 regular season games, winning seven and drawing three.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Atomic Ant has a lot of pressure on his shoulders to deliver the goods against Toronto’s rivals, who are in fine form. He has found the back of the net 13 times this season, four of those have come in his last five appearances.

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC: Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-2 Toronto FC – A score draw, which wouldn’t be the worst result for either side. The Impact are climbing the Eastern Conference and avoiding defeat is going to be key. Toronto have scored 15 goals in their last five games, while Montreal have scored 11. Goals look to be on the cards here.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders

Major League Soccer: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders

BC Place – Wednesday, August 23 – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST)

Match Odds: Vancouver 6/5 – Draw 12/5 – Seattle 2/1

Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders: Preview

Wednesday night sees the latest instalment in the Cascadia Cup series as Vancouver Whitecaps take on rivals Seattle Sounders. The pair are separated by six points in the Western Conference ahead of the game.

Vancouver come into this one having picked up three points against Houston on Saturday. They are currently sitting sixth and are in contention for the playoffs, but there is still plenty of work to do.

The earlier meeting in the season between the two ended with Vancouver winning 2-1. That game was also at BC Place, so it’s a good omen for the home side in this key midweek clash.

However, the Seattle Sounders are in fine form, as they are unbeaten in their last nine. In those nine they have scored 17 goals, conceding just five.

Brian Schmetzer’s side are top of the Western Conference, but are ten points behind Toronto in the race for the Supporters’ Shield.

Given their form ahead of this game they should be looking to take all three points. They’re unbeaten in four on the road and are a side full of confidence.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders: Team News

The Whitecaps are expecting to be without two on Wednesday night as David Edgar and Matias Laba are both out.

Seattle Sounders have just the one injury concern. Brad Evans is out.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders: Key Points

Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: L/W/D/L/W

Seattle Sounders’ last five: W/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Seattle Sounders have only conceded once in their last five games (MLS).

Key Player: Fredy Montero – The Vancouver forward has scored ten goals so far this season. He will be hoping to deliver the goods once again and help his side to three points against their fierce rivals.
Embed from Getty Images

Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders: Prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-3 Seattle Sounders – Seattle to take all three points and go top of the Cascadia Cup standings on goal difference. The Whitecaps could find themselves outside of the top six if results go against them in this double gameweek, so this is a game with huge implications.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Leicester City

Premier League: Arsenal vs Leicester City

Emirates Stadium – Friday, August 11 – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 4/9 – Draw 100/30 – Leicester 11/2

Arsenal vs Leicester City: Preview

The 2017/18 Premier League season kicks off on Friday evening as Arsenal welcome Leicester City to the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal will be feeling confident ahead of this one as they came from behind to win the Community Shield last weekend against Chelsea on penalties. This game will have more of a competitive edge than the usual curtain raiser, but we can expect Arsene Wenger’s side to be up for it.

The Gunners really need to mount a title challenge for the long haul this season. Wenger’s extended contract did not please every Arsenal fan, so there is added pressure to deliver.

There have been a number of changes to the Arsenal squad in the transfer window. The defensive addition of Sead Kolasinac looks to be a strong signing. While Alexandre Lacazette has come in to lead the line, he should add the killer instinct Arsenal fans have been calling for.

Embed from Getty Images

Leicester City have had a busy transfer window so far, with Kelechi Iheanacho their biggest signing. He has proved to be a deadly finisher in his Premier League career, needing just a sniff of a chance.

Craig Shakespeare’s efforts to guide Leicester to stability last season earned him the job on a permanent basis. He will be looking to prove to the board he is the right man for the long term, but knows how big of a task this opener will be. The Foxes finished 12th last season and will be hoping to better that position once again.

They’ve spent big on some quality additions to the squad but are looking increasingly likely to lose Riyad Mahrez. Their key playmaker has made it clear he wants a new challenge but has been respectful of the club, so there shouldn’t be unrest in the squad.

Arsenal vs Leicester City

Arsenal vs Leicester City: Team News

Arsenal will be without some familiar faces for the opener. Alexis Sanchez is injured and his future with The Gunners remains up in the air. Santi Cazorla will also miss out, while Shkodran Mustafi, Jack Wilshere, Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin and Gabriel Paulista are all doubts. New boy Kolasinac is expected to make his debut.

Leicester City are expecting to be without new signing Vicente Iborra. While there are doubts surrounding the fitness of Islam Slimani, Robert Huth, Kelechi Iheanacho and Danny Drinkwater.

Arsenal vs Leicester City: Key Points

Key Stat: Arsenal have won their last seven home games against Leicester in all competitions.

Key Player: Alexandre Lacazette – There is pressure on Arsenal’s marquee signing to score the goals to push them towards the title. He scored 129 times in 275 games for Lyon so has a big reputation.

Arsenal vs Leicester City: Prediction

Arsenal 3-1 Leicester City – Goals in the opener. There is pressure on the Arsenal squad to prove they are title contenders this season, so they need to hit the ground running. Although they have key players absent, they should be able to pick up three points on Friday night. Leicester are going to cause teams trouble this season, but they are up against it here.