By Garrett Hinners
BANKER (Columbus Crew vs. Nashville SC)
After a week off due some international play and very limited MLS action it is time to lace ‘em back up. One banker. One parlay. A tricky post international break spot where the MLS saw over 75 players called up league wide. Let’s get after it…
Columbus Crew host Nashville SC as Nashville is officially halfway through its eight game road trip to start the season. Nashville has only scored three goals over their first four games while the Crew have yet to lose in their first four. Columbus has also scored the second most goals with 10 trailing only Austin FC.
I mentioned this window being tricky because of international play. Most players called up represent some of the best talent on their respective MLS clubs and it is tricky to determine who will play immediately, who may come off the bench, and who will be given rest in their first action back. The Crew had three players called up, but I expect all three to start from the opening whistle. Nashville SC’s two all ups have played more minutes and more recently than Crew’s and this is trickier. Zimmerman is the best center back in the MLS, least to me, and if he starts tonight against Costa Rica for the USA I could see him not making the starting XI for Nashville this weekend. That would be a mighty big blow. Godoy also saw extensive time with Panama and he, too, might not make the starting squad. Dax McCarty is suspended in the midfield this game so Nashville SC is going to be thin at the spine. Columbus is without their best player in Zelarayan as he was hurt before the break and the team announced he could miss up to two games, but no more.
This is a game where teams are missing key figures and I think both take a pretty conservative approach. If Nashville does not start their international players I think they pack it in tightly in an effort to get out of Columbus with a point in a tough spot. If they do start/play then I like Nashville’s defense even more. Zelarayan is a massive miss for the Crew as he has 4 of their 10 goals on the season. I think we could see a home side lacking creativity and chances could be at a minimum against a parked Nashville defense.
For the parlay I am giving myself a little cushion on the total in Philadelphia and taking under 3.5 when the Union host Charlotte FC. I think Charlotte have been pretty unlucky on the road so far, but are a well-coached team. They probably do not pose much of a scoring threat in Philadelphia, but they should not get run out of there, either. The parlay will bleed over into the next day where I am taking both teams to score in the Portland Timbers vs L.A. Galaxy match. There are usually fireworks in this matchup and it has hit in six of the last seven head to head. Limited call ups/play time on the international scene for these two so I like the extra rest most of the squads got.
Philadelphia Union vs. Charlotte Under 3.5 goals
Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy Both teams to score