A rejuvenated and now seemingly hard-to-beat Vancouver Whitecaps play host to LAFC at BC Place on Saturday evening. The home side will be looking for an eighth straight game without tasting defeat, while the visitors look to bounce back after some poor results.
Vancouver have now gone two matches against LAFC without tasting defeat. Earlier in the season, the pair drew 2-2, while the Canadians won at the end of the previous campaign, 2-1 at this venue. Interestingly, LAFC haven’t won at BC Place since 2018.
Vancouver Whitecaps – Steadying the ship
Not that long ago, the Vancouver Whitecaps vessel was caught in something of a violent storm, but in recent weeks, Marc Dos Santos and his men have steadied the ship. They’re not exactly picking up wins for fun, but the Whitecaps have become far tougher to beat, and they’re now collecting points on a consistent basis, which is not something that was happening during the early weeks of the campaign.
Saturday’s hosts come into this fixture off the back of a win last time out, beating Austin by two goals to one away from home, while they’ve now avoided defeat in each of their last seven matches. They’re also unbeaten in three at home, which means that there should be no shortage of confidence in the home locker room ahead of Saturday’s game.
Expected Line-Up: Crepeau – Brown, Veselinovic, Rose, Nerwinski – Teibert, Bikel, Owusu – Caicedo, White, Dajome.
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LAFC – Downward spiral
Given some of the talent in tehri squad, few people would’ve expected LAFC to struggle this season, but that’s exactly what we’re seeing right now. The men in black are without a win in six matches, and such form has seen them slip to eighth in the Western Conference. It seems strange to say, but there’s absolutely no guarantee that Bob Bradley’s side will feature in the postseason.
Playing on the road has been an issue for LAFC this term, or rather they’ve found it tough to get going away from the comforts of home, winning only two out of nine, losing six of the other seven.
Expected Line-Up: Romero – Kim, Murillo, Blackmon, Palacios, Ginella, Atuesta, Cifuentes – Rossi, Arango, Vela.
Expert Pick #1 – Vancouver +1 Handicap @-105
With the current lines in mind, Vancouver with a single goal headstart is the main play here. The hosts have been in sturdy form of late and have done an excellent job of grinding out results. Not only have they avoided defeat in seven on the bounce, but they’ve also bettered their opponents in terms of expected goals in six of those seven, conceding a solid average of 0.97.
It’s not that LAFC has been particularly terrible from a defensive standpoint on the road, but a surprising lack of goals scored has continued to prove costly. Only two teams have scored less travelling goals than LAFC this season. This is a problem ahead of a match against a home team that has been tough to get at in recent weeks.
Expert Pick #2 – Vancouver to Win @+300
For those who want something to really go for, then a small play on the hosts winning also appeals at the prices. They’ve not exactly been battering teams, but the manner in which they’ve been keeping themselves right in the fight week in, week out really bodes well against a struggling LAFC side. In truth, given what we’ve seen from the pair over the last month or so, the hosts have done more than enough to warrant shorter odds ahead of this match and thus a small play on the home win offers bettors a slice of value.
Expert Pick #3 – Under 2.5 Goals @+135
If you’re interested in taking a completely different route, then ‘Under 2.5 Goals’ appeals. The pair did share four goals when they met earlier in the campaign, but it wasn’t exactly a game filed with scoring chances. Between them the pair produced just 2.3 expected goals, so the net being hit four times wasn’t exactly warranted.
Moreover, LAFC have scored just three goals in their last three matches overall, while they’ve not scored more than once on the road in any of their last five. Add in that the hosts have scored only five in their last five at home and a low-scoring game starts to look slightly more likely than the current generous odds suggest.
LAFC are still a big name in MLS, make no mistake about that and we’ll likely see Bob Bradley’s men bounce back in the near future, but based on the efforts of the pair in recent times, the hosts are the ones who appeal more in the early betting, while there’s plenty to suggest that a lack of goals could easily be the case at BC Place on Saturday evening.