Charlotte can match the New York Red Bulls when MLS returns this weekend.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Looking at the best online sportsbook sites we can see that New York Red Bulls are the clear favorites for this MLS clash, despite being the visiting side. The Red Bulls are as short as +115 in some places, while Charlotte can be backed at +215. According to the bookies, the most unlikely outcome is the draw, although the odds vary from +230 to around +260.
|Charlotte v NYRB|
|NY Red Bulls||+115||+110|
Charlotte Finding their Feet in MLS
The latest addition to MLS, Charlotte FC had a baptism of fire, losing their first three games, but they have steadied the ship since then. They’ve won five and drawn one of their last eleven, which has been good enough to secure them a mid table position, just two points short of the play-offs, although with a long way to go, it may be early to talk about a play-off challenge.
Their recovery seems to have been built on defensive solidity, as they have the Eastern Conference’s fifth best defence, although goals are a problem. They are currently level with bottom side Chicago for the lowest number of goals scored: 13, at an average of 0.93 per game.
New York Looking Good
The New York Red Bulls kicked off their MLS campaign in fine style, scoring seven goals to beat San Jose and Toronto. They haven’t been able to maintain that level of goalscoring since then, but have picked up four more wins and a string of draws to climb into fourth in the East.
Remarkably, the Red Bulls have been performing more effectively on the road than at home. In fact, they won their first five games away from home. A draw against Philadelphia and a surprise loss in Miami have dented that record, but nevertheless, it seems that the Red Bulls are most effective playing on the break away from home, recording an average of 58% possession in each of those away wins.
MLS Betting Picks Team News
Charlotte’s preparations for this game and their wider campaign have been disrupted by the surprise depature of head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez. Christian Lattanzio will fill in as interim manager for this game. He will at least have a strong squad to choose from with centre forward Vinicius Mello and defensive midfielder Chris Hegardt the only injury absences.
Red Bulls manager Gerhard Struber has bigger injury issues to wrestle with ahead of this game. Andreas Reyes, Wiki Carmona, Lucas Monzon, Ashley Fletcher, Serge Ngoma and Cameron Harper all missed the game against DC United at the end of May and will be absent for this one, necessitating some shuffling of the pack, particularly in defense.
Charlotte v New York Red Bulls Betting Picks
Charlotte may go into this game as the underdogs, but it is interesting to note that they they have had the majority of possession in most games so far. This dominance of ball possession seems to function as much as a defensive tactic as a way of creating chances, but it seems to be particularly effective when they are playing at home, as this type of ball possession is easier against visiting teams who are naturally inclined to be cautious. In fact, Charlotte’s win-loss record at Bank Of America Stadium is an impressive 5-1, and that lone defeat came in their very first home fixture, against LA Galaxy.
Still, we’ve already noted how effective the Red Bulls have been on the road this season, and it is also worth noting that they have already beaten Charlotte this season, winning 3-1 in the US Open Cup three weeks ago, although that game in New Jersey may not have too much bearing on this encounter, given the team changes and the fact that Charlotte have home field advantage.
This should be a fascinating clash between teams with opposing styles, but the Red Bulls, weakened by injury absences, won’t find it easy to play on the counter against safety-first Charlotte. I’m expecting the home side to have most of the ball, and to frustrate their visitors by earning a point.
A Low Scoring MLS Game in Charlotte
Predicting the total number of goals in an MLS game can be challenging, but there looks a clear angle here. Charlotte have played seven home games so far this season and five of those games have produced fewer than 2.5 goals. The home side usually sets the tone in soccer, and it seems clear that Charlotte have been focused on retaining posession as a way of frustrating their opponents. It is possible that Lattanzio will change things up here, but that seems unlikely and a low scoring match is the pick.
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