When they host rivals and old foes DC United at Red Bull Arena on Saturday evening, the New York Red Bulls will be looking for just a second win since the start of July. The visitors will be looking for another win having picked up three points last time out.
There’s no love lost between these two, and as old enemies, they’re very familiar with each other. This will be the third renewal of what is known as the Atlantic Cup this season. Back in April, the pair drew 0-0 at this venue, while DC won narrowly, by a goal to nil, in Washington D.C. in July.
New York Red Bulls – Wins few and far between
Make no mistake about it, the New York Red Bulls, as a franchise that always wants to be challenging at the upper end of the Eastern Conference, are having a bad season. They’ve struggled to pick up regular wins, winning just one of their last nine fixtures, sitting in 12 th position, with clear daylight between them and the play-off spots.
However, although in terms of points accumulated, it’s not one of the best on offer, Saturday’s hosts have a reasonably solid home record. They’ve picked up 17 points from a possible 30 and in terms of points per game, have the seventh-best home record in the division. They’ve also performed well in terms of goals conceded at home having been breached just eight times. No team in the Eastern Conference has conceded fewer home goals than the Red Bulls, so there’s definitely something for them to be feeling positive about ahead of this derby match.
Expected Line-Up: Carlos – Reyes, Nealis, Tarek – Duncan, Davis, Tolkin, Gutman – Carmona, Fabio, Klimala.
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DC United – Hard to catch right
On their day, Saturday’s visitors can be very useful. They can frustrate teams, they’ve got individual quality, and as we saw last time out, they have the firepower to overcome even the better teams in the Eastern Conference. However, consistency is not something that Hernán Losada’s men have had in droves this season. Unless of course you consider being inconsistent to be a form of consistency.
Consistency on the road has eluded DC in a big way. The visitors haven’t won back-to-back away games at all this campaign, while they’ve been up and down in terms of both their defensive and attacking output. Overall, it’s fair to say that they’ve been underwhelming away from home, having picked up just two wins from 12 travelling matches. A total of 17 goals scored is by no means poor, but a total of 24 against is disappointing, especially when you consider that only two other teams in the division have shipped more than 19 goals on the road.
Expected Line-Up: Kempin – Najar, Birnbaum, Alfaro, Paredes – Canouse, Moreno – Gressel, Flores, Reyna – Kamara.
Expert Pick #1 – New York Red Bulls to Win @+130
It’s a derby match, which means logic often goes out the window, but it’s hard to say that this isn’t a solid opportunity for the hosts to put some much-needed points on the board. DC are eight points better off than NYRB in the standings, but the away efforts of the visitors, who average a measly 0.75 points per away game, haven’t been great at all.
In contrast, NYRB have done reasonably well on home soil, claiming an average of 0.95 more points per game at home than DC has on the road. What’s more, we’re talking about the joint best home defense against the third worst travelling back-line. Throw in a swing of 12 in the average goal difference of the pair and the home win really does start to appeal at odds of +130.
Expert Pick #2 – New York Red Bulls to Score Over 1.5 Goals @+110
Scoring 13 goals in ten home matches, the New York Red Bulls haven’t exactly been overly menacing offensively, but they’ve certainly been steady, scoring in 80% of their games at Red Bull Arena, scoring two or more on five occasions.
Crucially, it’s the visiting rearguard that makes this bet really stand out as a viable option at the current odds. DC has conceded an average of 2.00 goals per 90 minutes on the road this season, while they’ve conceded no fewer than eight goals in their last two travelling matches. Such numbers certainly don’t scream defensive solidity.
Expert Pick #3 – Patryk Klimala to Score @+220
The Red Bulls haven’t really had an out-and-out goal-getter this season, rather a handful of players who’ve chipped in here and there. Of their scorers, Patryk Kilmala has probably been the most threatening in terms of regularly getting into good areas and offering a general goal-scoring threat. The man from Poland, who has netted four MLS goals this campaign, is the NYRB’s best player in terms of individual expected goals, averaging a pleasing 0.50 xG. On this basis, the forward, who shoots 3.4 times on average every 90 minutes in a Red Bulls shirt, looks a good bet to find the net at slightly generous odds.
It’s been up and down for both NYRB and DC this season, while the hosts have been struggling for wins of late, but their overall efforts at home suggest that this is a chance for them to put points on the board, especially since lots of DC’s worse form has come on the road. Bettors can profit by siding with the hosts to score twice on route to victory.