Major League Soccer playing a schedule opposite many of the top European Leagues provides the league with some advantages. In the spring and summer, MLS avoids having to compete with the NFL and NBA and can leave more of an imprint on the American sports landscape. The first matchup during the Heineken Rivalry Week this summer will feature notable debutants.
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Welsh soccer standout Gareth Bale and Italian Giorgio Chiellini were both signed by LAFC this summer and will be available for the team’s next meeting with the LA Galaxy. The rivalry game, which is dubbed El Trafico, will be the first in a series of eight games set to kickoff July 8 at Banc of California Stadium. There will be a lot of pressure on the European transplants to succeed.
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Looking to rain on parade
Everything seems to be trending toward LAFC taking over the El Trafico rivalry. During the duration of the series between the two teams, the LA Galaxy have had the upper hand. In the last five meetings between the two teams, the Galaxy have won three and collected two draws.
In fact, the Galaxy lead the all-time series 7-5-3 (wins, draws, losses). However, this season, LAFC had the momentum before they were able to sign Bale and Chiellini. The Black and Gold sit atop the Western Conference standings with a 11-3-3 record.
LAFC has scored a league-high 35 goals and only allowed their opponents to register 18 goals. When it comes to the Galaxy, they are sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference and have struggled scoring, only registering 20 goals.
Chicharito leads the Galaxy with six goals, while Carlos Vela leads LAFC with nine. However, with Bale and Chiellini coming into the fold, fans can expect the Black and Gold’s attack to be even more ferocious. Betting on this game will be interesting.
While LAFC is bringing a lot more attacking talent, there will still an issue of trying to get the team to play together. Keep an eye on the over/under and maybe try to steal an under at plus money.
Neither the Seattle Sounders nor Portland Timbers will be where they want to be entering their July 9 battle at Lumen Field. Since both teams joined the MLS, the competition between the team teams has been remarkably close. The Sounders lead the series 17-7-16 in MLS competition.
While Seattle has been playing better of late, the Sounders still it in seventh place for the last playoff spot, only one point clear of Portland, which is in eighth place. The Timbers have been able to score at a good clip this year, registering 27 goals. However, Portland’s bigger issues have come on defense.
The Timbers have also allowed 27 goals. Jaroslaw Neizgoda and Bill Tuiloma lead Portland having scored five goals apiece. Jordan Morris and Raul Ruidiaz lead Seattle having scored five goals apiece.
Seattle has been good at home this season and will want to make sure to come away with at least a tie to make sure Portland can’t overtake them. This is a good spot to grab Seattle on the moneyline at home.
New Kids on the Block
Nashville and Charlotte FC don’t have long, storied histories with the MLS. However, both have shown signs of being strong markets and ready to try and compete right away. Nashville, which is in its third season in MLS, is solidly in the playoff picture for the Western Conference.
Charlotte FC, which is sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, has been trying to weather the storm through a rocky inaugural season. Charlotte FC, also known as Queen City, fired its first coach, Miguel Angel Ramirez after 14 games due to differences between manager, team and players.
Charlotte is now 6-3-9 on the season and has still struggled to find its scoring tough. Queen City has 17 goals in 18 games and has been outscored by four goals thus far this season. Nashville, meanwhile, has pocked 22 goals in 17 games thus far this season.
This game may provide another good spot to grab the under. Neither team has shown an overly explosive offense. Depending on the number available at kickoff, it may be a good spot to grab Nashville’s on the three-way moneyline on the road.