Nashville SC plays host to the New York Red Bulls at Nissan Stadium on Sunday evening. While the hosts are sitting comfortably having already secured their play-off place, the visitors are in for a tense afternoon as they chase a place in the final top seven.
This will be just the second time that the pair have met. Earlier in the campaign, The Red Bulls beat Nashville by two goals to nil at Red Bull Arena. Will they be able to repeat the feat on the road?
Nashville SC – Job done
Gary Smith’s men have enjoyed themselves this season, and thanks primarily to strong home form and an astute travelling defense, Sunday’s hosts have booked themselves a place in the postseason, meaning that the dream of them getting their hands on a first MLS Cup remains alive.
With their fate already sealed, the hosts could easily take this one easy and rest up ahead of the play-offs, but given their hard-working style, that seems unlikely. Smith will surely want his side to retain focus and build momentum ahead of what will be some challenging games. Moreover, the hosts won’t want to lose their unbeaten record at Nissan Stadium.
Expected Line-Up: Willis – Johnston, Maher, Zimmerman, Romney, Miller – Leal, Godoy, Muyl – Sapong, Mukhtar.
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New York Red Bulls – Visitors need a result
While Nashville is sitting pretty, the Red Bulls are yet to secure their place in the postseason, but they’re close. As things stand, Sunday’s visitors will be in, though as they occupy 7th place, that could easily change. Thanks to the way the standings are, NYRB needs to win to lock in a play-off place, although a tie, or even a loss, could be enough depending on other results.
Overall, the Red Bulls have been OK away from home, but their recent travelling is the main reason as to why they’re in their pitching for a play-off place at this late stage. They’ve won four of their last five on the road, keeping three clean sheets in the process. Gerhard Struber’s men will be hoping to draw on such a record.
Expected Line-Up: Carlos – Nealis, Reyes, Tolkin – Duncan, Yearwood, Davis, Clark – Casseres, Klimala, Fabio.
Expert Pick #1 – Over 2.5 Goals @+125
The early market ahead of this game suggests that a low-scoring game is more likely than a goal-filled encounter, however, given the situation, it’s easy to feel that there’s some juice in ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ odds of +125.
For starters, the visitors are in a position where they can’t really afford to sit back here, which should mean that things open up. What’s more, there’s been no shortage of goals when the hosts have been involved on their own patch over the last two or three months. In fact, going back to July, three or more goals have been scored in six out of eight at Nissan Stadium.
Expert Pick #2 – Both Teams to Score @-110
The way the game is likely to pan out, thanks to the visitors’ needs, should also lend itself to a ‘Both Teams to Score’ bet. After all, both teams have scored with regularity in recent weeks, at least in their respective home and away games.
Nashville averages a whopping 2.12 goals per 90 minutes at home, while they’ve scored in each of their last 13 in front of a home crowd. The Red Bulls have scored in seven of their last eight on the road. The fact that both teams have scored in each of Nashville’s last five at Nissan Stadium is positive too.
Expert Pick #3 – Nashville to Score Over 1.5 Goals @+165
With the visitors pushing for the result that they need, the hosts, who can play with freedom at this stage, can also be taken to score at least two goals, especially at what appears to be a generous price.
Nashville has scored over two goals per game on average at Nissan Stadium, as mentioned above, scoring two or more in six of the last eight in front of a home crowd. Throw in a home average of 1.75 xG and we really are cooking.
In summary, the hosts have zero pressure on their shoulders and can thus enjoy themselves as they look to build momentum ahead of the play-offs, while the visitors must push for the points they need to ensure that they join Nashville in the postseason. An open game is expected and bettors can profit by siding with goals arriving.