Last Sunday we saw both home teams take the early advantage in their respective Conference Championship matchups, but will the top seeds be able to battle back in the second leg on Sunday? Both the Red Bulls and FC Dallas must overcome a two goal deficit if they want to move onto the Audi MLS Cup Finals. As we look at today’s MLS Game Breakdown I will be analyzing some injury concerns and look for potential breakout players. Also follow me on Twitter (@jwl_15) for injury and lineup updates throughout the day.
Columbus Crew @ New York Red Bulls
The Columbus Crew got off to a dream start last weekend when Justin Meram scored just nine seconds after the opening kickoff. After a late second goal by their star, Kei Kamara, the Crew put themselves in a great position to move onto the MLS Cup Finals. With a two goal advantage and a full strength squad, the Crew will likely play a very defensive and direct style of play in hopes to not conceded any goals. As for the New York Red Bulls, they played arguably their worst 90 minutes of the season last Sunday against the Crew. Sacha Kljestan and Dax McCarty looked off in the midfield, which in turn hurt Bradley Wright-Phillips at the head of their dangerous attack. The Red Bulls will also be at full strength but it will be interesting to see if any changes are made after their abysmal performance in the first leg. They will be glad to return home as they try to dig themselves out of a hole and comeback to move onto the MLS Cup Finals.
Line: New York Red Bulls (-1) O/U: 2 ½ (o: -130, u: +105)
Players to Watch
- Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls ($8,100)
- Sacha Kljestan, New York Red Bulls ($7,300)
- Kei Kamara, Columbus Crew ($8,500)
- Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew ($7,100)
Portland Timbers @ FC Dallas
Similar to the Eastern Conference Championship, the road team took the early lead out west and never looked back. Portland opened the scoring in the 23rd minute against FC Dallas and turned that momentum into a 3-1 victory. They will now have to travel to Dallas in hopes to hold off the young FC Dallas squad who have been spectacular in the Dallas heat this season. Look for the Portland starting eleven to be very similar as they are expected to also play very defensive on Sunday. As for FC Dallas, despite the loss they were able to pick up a very important away goal that may come into play if they are able to score at least two on Sunday. They escaped last weekend without any injuries or suspensions and should be able to play a full squad in hopes that their season doesn’t end on Sunday.
Line: FC Dallas (-1) O/U: 3 (o: +105, u: -130)
Players to Watch
- Fabian Castillo, FC Dallas ($7,200)
- Mauro Diaz, FC Dallas ($7,500)
- Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers ($6,500)
- Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers ($7,100)