The quarter finals come to a close in the MLS is Back tournament on Saturday night when the last two matches in the round take place to complete the semi-final line up. The winners of these games are two wins from glory in the event and a spot in the Champions League next term.
We have four leading sides in the MLS in action on Saturday night and both the matches are live on TV in the UK so there is no need to miss any of what should be a really entertaining for hours of football.
The 26 MLS teams have now become 24 with FC Dallas and Nashville being withdrawn from the tournament after positive Covid tests. The remaining teams have been placed into six groups of four. Each team plays the other three in their group once in the group stage. The results of these matches not only count in this tournament but also towards the regular season when it resumes. At the end of the group stage the top two from each group and the four best third placed finishers go into a 16-team knockout stage. The entire tournament takes place in Orlando with the final scheduled for August 11. There is a Champions League place for the winners which should ensure it is competitive.
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San Jose Earthquakes vs Minnesota United (01.00 – Sky Football & Free Sports)
The opening match of the night is a battle between two entertaining sides from the Western Conference when the San Jose Earthquakes take on Minnesota United for the right to face Orlando City in the semi-final.
These two teams have come nicely through the draw so far and with no disrespect to Orlando, when it looked like it would be LAFC awaiting the winners here in the semi-final, both sides have to appreciate the opportunity to make the final that is in front of them. Usually in those situations you would be worried that such a scenario would tense the sides up and we would get a cagey affair but I’m not convinced San Jose can do anything other than play open and expansively and take the game to their opponents.
This fixture has a history of goals. Their last six meetings has yielded 28 of them and they have already met this season prior to lockdown and Minnesota United won 5-2. That fixture in itself highlights what we can expect in this match and I certainly see no reason why that won’t be the case. Over 2.75 goals looks a pretty good bet to me in what should be a cracking watch.
New York City FC vs Portland Timbers (03.30 – Sky Football & Free Sports)
The last of the quarter finals of the tournament could turn out to be one of the closest matches as New York City FC take on the former MLS Cup winners Portland Timbers in a clash between two sides who are in the upper echelons of MLS.
New York City took a good while to get going in this tournament but they produced their best performance in the second round against Toronto FC, although admittedly they were given a bit of help from their opponents. They might just be warming to the task at the right time though. Portland Timbers surprisingly needed penalties to see off FC Cincinnati in the last round and that would be a concern for anyone backing them here and is potentially why they are outsiders. My gut feeling is I’d rather be on the Timbers than NYC here but that draw with Cincinnati has done enough to put me off. I’ll sit this one out.
Back San Jose Earthquakes vs Minnesota United – Over 2.75 goals for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with BetVictor
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