As the MLS rolls toward its All-Star game and kicks off the second half of the campaign, there are a few high-profile games this weekend. Most of the games feature top teams against bottom teams or middle of the standings teams going head-to-head.
However, there are a couple of rivalry games mixed in, plus a sprinkling of sneaky good games with teams in good form. The most intriguing game this weekend is the Cascadia Cup rivalry between Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers. Longtime rivals Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire face off while LA Galaxy travel to Minnesota United in the only matchup of the weekend between teams in the top five of the conference standings. With all that being said, let’s take a closer look at the upcoming matches so you can bet against their MLS odds.
MLS Weekend Betting Preview – Seattle vs Portland, Columbus vs Chicago, Los Angeles vs Minnesota
Sounders Head to Portland in Best Rivalry
The rivalry between the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers is almost as heated on the field as it is in the stands. There is no love lost at all between these longtime Pacific Northwest rivals, and their feud has transcended multiple soccer leagues and levels over the last five decades.
The latest installment of the rivalry has been pushed back to a night game on Sunday because of an excessive heat forecast for Portland this week. The game will still be broadcast nationally with a 9 p.m. ET kickoff from Providence Park.
Seattle won the first matchup this season 2-1 on May 9, also in Portland. The Sounders were in legendary form at that point with an MLS record point streak to start the season. Seattle has won three of the last four in Portland after only winning there three times in the first 14 MLS trips.
Portland has allowed at least two goals in a game eight times this season, including their 3-2 win against Real Salt Lake last week. Felipe Mora leads the team with six goals, while Marvin Loria has four assists. Portland traded striker Jeremy Ebobisse to San Jose last month while bringing in attacker Santiago Moreno.
Seattle started the season as world beaters but now have just four points in their last five matches. Raul Ruidiaz has scored eight times against Portland since the start of the 2018 playoffs and leads the MLS in goals in 2021 with 11.
The sixth-place Timbers are slight favorites at +141, while second-place Seattle is +180. A draw is +225, and the game total is 2.5 goals (O -135, U +101).
Minnesota United Look to Keep Run Going
After a horrid start to the 2021 season, Minnesota United have played the best soccer in the Western Conference since mid-May. The Loons have climbed to fifth place in the West with a win or draw in 12 of the last 13 games, and they have lost just twice at home all season. This weekend they put that run on the line against third-place LA Galaxy at Allianz Arena Saturday afternoon on FOX.
The Galaxy are still without injured superstar Chicharito who has 10 goals in 10 games this season but hasn’t played since July 4. They have all their Gold Cup players back but drew 1-1 against last-place Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend.
The Galaxy have never lost to United with five wins and two draws. But this Galaxy team has struggled outside of California with only three wins in their last 13 road matches, and they haven’t won on the road since June 26.
United has allowed just 11 goals in the last 13 games. Robin Lod has four goals and two assists in the last five games, while Emanuel Reynoso has four assists in that span.
United are big favorites to close the gap on the top three at -135. The Galaxy are +320, and a draw is +295. The goal total is 2.5, with the over at -181 and the under at +129.
Fire Looking to Flip Rivalry
One of the longest rivalries in MLS history features the Columbus Crew and the Chicago Fire. The Crew were an original MLS side while Chicago joined just two years later, and these teams were the closest to each other in geography for the better part of two decades. They also faced off in some legendary MLS Cup Playoff and U.S. Open Cup ties.
The Crew have had the better of the rivalry lately, with the Fire not winning in the matchup since April 2018. Earlier this season, Columbus got a brace from Gyasi Zardes in a 2-0 win. Sunday, they face off at Soldier Field in Chicago with the Fire as favorites.
Columbus has lost three in a row to fall into seventh place. The defending champions do have Zardes and others back from Gold Cup and injury plus a week off to prepare for this match.
The Fire have the reigning MLS Player of the Week in Luka Stojanovic, who scored both goals in last week’s 2-1 win over Red Bulls. Chicago has a point in three straight overall and just one home loss in their last seven at Soldier Field.
The Fire are favored at +109 while the Crew are +220 on the road. The goal total is 2.5 with the over -126, the under at -108, and a draw is +245.