MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs Toronto FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. Toronto FC

Venue: Citrus Bowl – Wednesday, August 24 – 19:30 BST (00:30 ET)

Match Odds: Orlando City 13/10 – Draw 12/5 – Toronto 15/8

Match Preview

Orlando City welcome Toronto to Citrus Bowl on Wednesday night as these two sides play out a game in hand.

If Orlando avoid defeat in this tie they will move up into 6th in the Eastern Conference but will have played a game more than DC in doing so.

Jason Kreis will be relatively pleased with a point last time out against Colorado who have proved to be tough opposition this season. However, worryingly for Orlando, they have won just once in their last nine outings.

Orlando won the last meeting between these sides at the Citrus Bowl in dramatic fashion just two months ago. A late Kaka penalty saw them take all three points and they will be hoping for a repeat of that victory to keep their challenge for a playoff place in the balance.

New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City

Toronto FC come into this one battling at the top of the Eastern Conference. They are in second place but can go top with a win. This is a great opportunity for them to start their push for a top spot finish in the East but there is still a lot of work to do.

Greg Vanney will be confident of Toronto’s chances in this one, they have scored at least twice in their last four ties against Orlando in all competitions.

Toronto have been in incredible form of late, they’re unbeaten in their last six games, winning five. This will be tough tie away from home but they’re the inform team.

This is one of three remaining away games for Toronto this season, a win here will put them in a really strong position to go on and finish top in the East.

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Team News

Orlando City have six injury concerns heading into this tie as Pedro Ribeiro, Harrison Heat, Rafael Ramos and Cristian Higuita are all out, while Kevin Molino and Matias Perez Garcia are doubts.

Toronto could be without seven through injury as Clint Irwin and Mark Bloom are out, while Benoit Cheyrou, Will Johnson, Eriq Zavaleta, Justin Morrow and Daniel Lovitz are all doubtful for this tie.

Key Points

Orlando City’s last five: D/W/L/D/D

Toronto’s last five: W/W/W/D/W

Key Stat: Form – Toronto are unbeaten in their last six, picking up 16 points out of a possible 18.

Key Player: Cyle Larin – Orlando’s goalscorer has netted 12 in 23 games this season and his teammates will be hoping they can supply him so he can come up with the goods to propel them to three points here.

New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City Cyle Larin

Score Prediction

Orlando City 2-2 Toronto – Despite Orlando City’s poor form over recent weeks they have the ability to frustrate Toronto here. A draw isn’t the worst result for either side but both will be desperate for a win here, which ultimately could cause them to make mistakes.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Wednesday, October 14 – 21:30 ET (02:30 BST)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 6/5 – Draw 12/5 – Portland Timbers 11/5

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake host Portland Timbers in a crucial Western Conference clash between two sides desperate to make a late surge for the playoffs.

The battle to make the top six in the West seems to intensify every week and Real Salt Lake have been putting together a solid run of form as we approach the final weekend, which is just 10 days away.

The Claret and Cobalt have had a poor season by their lofty standards but they have won three of their last four and are now just three points off San Jose in sixth. A loss to Portland here would all but end their playoff hopes though and so this is a pivotal clash.

Real Salt Lake’s MLS record: P31 – W11 – D8 – L12

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Portland are looking set to narrowly miss out on postseason soccer for the second successive season as they have fallen out of the top six on goal difference with just three games to play.

They have only won one of their last six and need to try and pick back up quickly with a road win here. That won’t be an easy task but knowing they could move level with Cascadia rivals Seattle in fifth should serve as enough motivation.

They have already won at Rio Tinto Stadium this season and that 1-0 victory in August could help confidence in the Portland camp.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Portland Timbers’ MLS record: P31 – W12 – D8 – L11

Real Salt Lake have only won one of the last five meetings between these two and so this looks set to be a real thriller between two sides fighting for their playoff lives.

Team News

Real Salt Lake will be without defensive duo Chris Schuler and Demar Phillips. Schuler is still out with a foot injury, while Phillips will serve a one-match ban as a result of yellow card accumulation. Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman have left the USA camp to return for this game. Luis Gil and Boyd Okwuonu are away with the US U-23 squad and are unlikely to be back in time.

Portland will still be without Ben Zemanski, while Michael Seaton is away on international duty with Jamaica. Will Johnson is a doubt with a leg injury and is unlikely to play.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake’s last five: L/W/W/L/W

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

Key Stat: Real Salt Lake have only lost two of their last 26 home games in MLS. Although their last home defeat came at the hands of Portland in August.

Key Player: Joao Plata – The exciting attacker scored his first goal since early August in the 2-1 win at Colorado last time out. Expect him to be a real threat throughout.

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Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 2-1 Portland Timbers – This should be a tight and tense affair as neither side can afford to lose. But Real Salt Lake’s home record has been good this season and recent form suggests they will just edge it in front of their own fans.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. Montreal Impact

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Saturday, October 10 – 18:00 ET (23:00 BST)

Match Odds: Colorado 13/10 – Draw 12/5 – Montreal 19/10

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids host Montreal Impact on Saturday night in this weekend’s only MLS game, with the Impact needing three points to reaffirm their grip of the last remaining playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Colorado will be out to prevent Montreal winning this, especially as it will be the Rapids’ final home game of the 2015 season.

They sit bottom in the Western Conference, as they have for much of the campaign, and were officially eliminated from playoff contention last weekend as they fell 2-1 to rivals Real Salt Lake.

Colorado Rapids’ 2015 MLS record: P31 – W8 – D10 – L13

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It’s all about planning for next season again but Pablo Mastroeni will want to end the club’s five-game winless run sooner rather than later.

Montreal lost 2-1 at the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night and now have just this game in hand over chasing playoff rivals Orlando City and New York City.

A loss in Colorado will put the team in a real position of panic with two games to play after Saturday’s match. They had won three on the bounce before their four-game road swing began last weekend.

Montreal Impact’s 2015 MLS record: P31 – W12 – D6 – L13

A 2-1 loss at Orlando was followed by that defeat in New York and the Impact’s shocking away record means it’s tough to see them winning here.

They have only won two of their last 32 away games in MLS and need to address those issues quickly.

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This will be the fourth ever meeting between the two sides. Colorado have won all three of the previous games, scoring 11 times.

Team News

Colorado have just two worries heading into their final home game of the campaign. Michael Harrington is ruled out with a foot injury, while Axel Sjoberg is doubtful.

Montreal travel to Colorado without Kenny Cooper and Cameron Porter, while Justin Mapp and Kyle Bekker remain doubts. Didier Drogba will start in attack, though Dominic Oduro may also start if head coach Mauro Biello is feeling bold.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ last five: L/D/L/L/L

Montreal Impact’s last five: W/W/W/L/L

Key Stat: There have been 17 goals in the three previous meetings between these two sides – an average of more than five per game.

Key Player: Didier Drogba – Montreal need the Ivorian striker to continue his fine goalscoring form if they are to pick up a much needed win here.

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Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 2-2 Montreal Impact – Really tough game to call. Montreal need the win more than the hosts but Colorado will be desperate to put in a good display in their final home game. Goals are to be expected but we’re going to go with the draw. A result that will leave Montreal with work still to do in the playoff race.

San Jose Earthquakes show real intent as playoff hopes remain alive

The San Jose Earthquakes sealed a much-needed win over Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake on Sunday night, winning 1-0 at Avaya Stadium to keep their playoff hopes alive with three games left to play.

The Quakes had to wait until the 87th minute to get the go-ahead goal as Matias Perez Garcia’s deflected shot rolled into the net, sending the home crowd into raptures after what had been a tight and physical contest.

San Jose fired 20 shots at Nick Rimando’s goal over the 90 minutes as they looked to seal the win from the outset. Rimando looked unbeatable for most of the game, making four important saves to keep RSL’s own playoff ambitions intact.

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But Garcia’s effort from distance took a wicked deflection, leaving the RSL stopper helpless as his side look to be missing out on postseason football for the first time in eight years.

The Claret and Cobalt still have four games to play (one more than San Jose and Houston, who are both also battling for a top six finish) but Jeff Cassar’s side are six points behind Portland in the final playoff berth and need to basically win each of their last four games.

The same probably applies for San Jose, who despite being five points better off than RSL, have just three games left to try and make the postseason for the first time since 2012.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

They have two home games in a row against Vancouver and Sporting KC to play next before a final day trip to FC Dallas. All three of those Western Conference opponents are currently in playoff places and San Jose will look to overtake at least one before the final ball of the regular season is struck.

Vancouver and Dallas look safe in the top six but Sporting Kansas City are just two points in front of San Jose so the game on October 16 should be a massive one.

SKC travel to Portland next in another massive game. A draw there would best suit the Earthquakes but it certainly looks as though the final couple of playoff spots in the West will go right down to the wire.

Will the San Jose Earthquakes make the playoffs this season?