The Vancouver Whitecaps look to continue on the up after their emphatic win last time out. Can they put another three points on the board when they host Austin FC at BC Place on Saturday evening?
This will be the first time that this pair have faced each other, not just in Major League Soccer this season, but ever. This will also be the first time that the visitors have ventured into Canada for competitive action.
Vancouver Whitecaps – BC Place now a fortress
The Whitecaps lifted themselves to eighth in the Western Conference table last time out, as they beat Real Salt Lake by four goals to one in front of a home crowd. Having disappointingly tasted defeat in the Canadian Championship just a few days earlier, Marc Dos Santos’s men needed to regain their confidence and that they did.
BC Place has been something of a safe haven for the hosts for a while now. Vancouver is without a home defeat in five matches, three of which they’ve won. Not only did they score four on route to beating RSL last time out, but they beat LAFC prior to that, so it’s easy to envisage the hosts entering this game in high spirits.
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Austin FC – Visitors struggling
Unlike the Whitecaps, who ought to have their tails up, the Austin boys might be feeling a little worse for wear after they not only lost last week, at home, but conceded no less than five goals in doing so.
The odd positive result has meant that Austin FC isn’t propping up the west, and they have the Houston Dynamo to thank for that, but things aren’t looking good. The visitors are only ahead of the league’s bottom team on goal difference and their chances of even getting close to making the postseason seem slim at best. Four of their last five matches have ended in defeat, while defeat on the road has been commonplace for Josh Wolff’s men.
Expert Pick #1 – Vancouver Whitecaps to Win @+110
Big opportunity for Vancouver. Simple as that. The hosts are in fine form and this match against a struggling Austin FC represents a huge chance to keep moving in the right direction. The hosts haven’t impressed at home all season, but their recent efforts have been pleasing, so much so that it’s a little bit surprising to see them priced the right side of +100 on the moneyline.
In their last three matches, the hosts have not only scored eight goals, but they’ve procured expected goals for figures of 1.7, 1.5 and 2.5. Such figures are encouraging, especially when the visitors have scored zero goals in their last three on the road, producing xG figures of 0.8, 1.2 and 0.8, while they’ve scored an average of 0.54 goals away from home this season.
At the end of the day, the hosts have the advantage when it comes to firepower and they’re backed to put this to good use and secure all three points.
Expert Pick #2 – Vancouver Whitecaps to Score Over 1.5 Goals @+100
Just like the play above, ‘Vancouver Whitecaps to Score Over 1.5 Goals’ is hard to resist at the current odds. The goals have come easy to Dos Santos’s men of late, scoring two or more in each of their last three at home, as well as in four of their last five.
Austin have conceded two or more in five out of 11 on the road this season, which isn’t actually too bad. However, they do surrender an average of 1.86 expected goals on their travels, which doesn’t exactly point towards defensive solidity. Add in that they conceded five last time out, alongside the fact that they haven’t kept a clean sheet since late June, and home goals are worth supporting in the betting.
Expert Pick #3 – Cristian Dajome to Score @+185
We were of course on Dajome to net last time out, and he failed to deliver, but we shouldn’t give up just yet. The Colombian continues to perform well and crucially, he’s getting himself into good positions. As a key player in Vancouver’s attack, against a team that has been in poor defensive shape recently, the man with eight goals to his name, who averages 0.35 xG per 90, goes down as an ‘Anytime Scorer’.
The visitors are in a bad way, they were battered last time out and the in-form Whitecaps are fancied to go in for the kill against an already wounded animal. The signs very much point towards a home win and punters can double up by betting on more than one home goal.