MLS Closes out rivalry week 2022

The MLS has inched past its midway point and teams are starting to prepare to jostle for position in a stretch run. This weekend, teams in the MLS will be set to close out rivalry week, with one matchup on Sunday in particular set to have a major impact on the standings.

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The Sunday slate will feature two pairs of in-state rivals — New York City FC and New York Red bulls and the Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati — and a matchup of two southern teams in Atlanta United and Orlando City. With the end of the regular season approaching, we will take a look at where the value lies in these three games.

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Battle for New York

For a rivalry only seven years old, the battle between New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls has a European feel to it, down to the misbehavior of supporters. Known as the Hudson River Derby, this year’s version will have plenty of spice to it. The Red Bulls, who lead the all-time series 13-3-6 (win-loss-draw), have won the last three games between the teams across all competitions.

The last meeting between the two teams was filled with bad blood. In a game that featured three red cards between the two teams, the Red Bulls scored a 3-0 win. Over the course of the season, NYCFC, which are the defending MLS Cup champions, have been the better attacking side. NYCFC (10-5-4) has scored 38 goals, which leads the Eastern Conference.

The Red Bulls are +120 on the three-way moneyline for the game, while NYCFC is +205. The over/under is set at 2.5. NYCFC hasn’t scored in its last three games against its in-city rivals. NYCFC showed it could be buckled down against FC Dallas Wednesday, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win.

However, the Red Bulls appear to be the team more well-rounded defensively right now. Playing the Red Bulls on the money line at +120 is worth a look.

Battle for Ohio, playoffs

The Columbus Crew would be on the outside looking in if the MLS playoffs started today. Finding a way to take some points off FC Cincinnati, which is in sixth place would be helpful for the Crew (6-8-5). Dubbed the “Hell is Real” rivalry thanks to a sign on the interstate that connects the two cities, each team is hoping to take another step toward the playoffs with a victory.

Columbus leads the series with FC Cincinnati 4-3-2. The Crew are on a seven-game unbeaten streak, a run that includes three wins and four ties. Columbus, which has scored 25 goals and had a +3 goal differential, is led in scoring by Derrick Etienne, who has five goals.

FC Cincinnati (7-6-7) is on a six-game unbeaten streak. However, FC Cincinnati hasn’t been able to get many of the results in the win column. In the previous four games and in five of the past six, FC Cincinnati has finished in a tie. Brandon Vazquez leads FC Cincinnati with 10 goals in 19 games.

Columbus is -118 on the three-way moneyline to win, while FC Cinncinnati is +310. The over/under on this contest is set at 2.5. Neither side has been able to secure three points recently, so picking a side will be difficult. Taking the over in this game is safer bet.

Southern Comfort

Orlando City is comfortably in the playoff picture with 25 points, but have had a poor recent run with defensive form. In a home match in the past few weeks, Orlando City gave up five goals to last-place D.C. United. On the season, Orlando City has a goal differential of -4.

Atlanta United (6-5-8) started the season slowly and are stilling trying to climb toward a playoff berth. Atlanta is three points behind Charlotte for the final playoff spot. When it comes to scoring, Atlanta has been able to break through for 28 goals. However, on defense Atlanta has conceded 30 goals.

Despite Atlanta’s defensive issues, Atlanta is a -118 favorite to beat Orlando, which is +285. The over/under is set at 2.5. Atlanta United should be the pick to grab a pick here and continue its ascent up the Eastern Conference standings.