The ‘Rivalry Week’ in the MLS 2021 season concludes on Sunday night when the focus is very much on the Western Conference where three matches take place over the course of what has the potential to be an entertaining evening in the league.
Two of the three matches will be live on TV for us to enjoy in the UK with the other available as ever on the streaming services which the bookmakers provide. You do need to be night owls to get through all three but at least it is a bank holiday on Monday!
Austin FC vs FC Dallas (01.00 – Free Sports)
The opening match of the night is one of the battles of Texas as Austin FC host FC Dallas in a match which is big for both sides. They are both currently outside the play-off zone in the Western Conference and time is running out to launch a run to make the postseason.
These two sides have been very inconsistent throughout the season so picking who will win here isn’t the easiest task in the world. Austin FC are well supported at home though which could be significant with the emphasis on rivalry this week. FC Dallas aren’t the best travellers either which might help the cause of Austin but I can’t say I’m in a rush to back either of these two sides so I’ll sit the opening game of the evening out.
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Vancouver Whitecaps vs Real Salt Lake (03.00)
The one match not live on TV in the UK sees two sides beginning new eras as the Vancouver Whitecaps take on Real Salt Lake up in Canada with this being a fairly big match in the race for the postseason places, one of which the visitors currently occupy.
Both these teams have seen their manager depart since they were last in action with Marc dos Santos relieved of his duties after the Whitecaps were dumped out of the Canada Championship on Thursday evening while Freddy Juarez was a surprise departure at Real Salt Lake on Friday to supposedly take up pastures new somewhere although it wasn’t confirmed where. The sacking of dos Santos was slightly surprising when you consider that Vancouver have only lost one of their last 11 matches, a loss which was in this fixture when Real Salt Lake won 4-0. That was a rare away win for Salt Lake but I fancy they’ll back it up here. They just feel in a better place off the pitch than Vancouver and although it isn’t ideal that Damir Kreilach is suspended, they have enough in their squad to get the job done here.
Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers (03.30 – Free Sports)
We have to wait right until the final match of the weekend for the biggest rivalry in MLS to continue as the Seattle Sounders host the Portland Timbers in the latest Cascadia Cup clash and a match which is huge for the visitors.
Portland have dropped out of the top seven in the Western Conference and won’t need reminding that Seattle turned up and walloped them 6-2 at Providence Park not too long ago so they will be out for revenge for more reasons than one. Seattle will want to reinforce that dominance though and if they win here they go five points clear at the top which will be significant. This is always a match to enjoy rather than bet on because form tends to go right out of the window whenever these two meet. That’s exactly what I’ll do here.
Back Real Salt Lake (+0.25AH) to beat Vancouver Whitecaps for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with BetVictor
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