New York Red Bulls v New York City FC
Saturday, 18:30
Live on Sky Sports 5

The New York derby takes centre stage this MLS rivalry weekend, with both clubs looking to push closer to the top of the Eastern Conference and try to apply some pressure on Toronto FC and the in form Chicago Fire.

The Red Bulls beat NYCFC in last week's US Open Cup game, and while the Cup is often an unreliable form guide, the fact that both teams played close to full-strength teams means that there's plenty that we can take from that 1-0 win for the Red Bulls, and from their home form in general.

Jesse Marsch's team have played eight home games in MLS this season, and won five of them. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth about the loss of their undefeated home record against LA Galaxy, but that blip masks the fact that the Red Bulls are normally rock solid when they play in New Jersey.

Last week's late victory in Philadelphia also strengthens the feeling that the Red Bulls are over-reliant on Bradley Wright-Phillips, but you can make exactly the same claim about David Villa and NYCFC, and the crux of a betting strategy for this game relies on measuring the merits of this weekend's visitors.

And I'm still not sure about them: Villa is obviously one of the League's outstanding players, and it was his brilliance that got them the win against Seattle last week, but they still look poor defensively and tactically at times, and it's no surprise that they have conceded at least once in all but one of their last eleven games.

The Red Bulls are hardworking and efficient, and give me the impression of a team who get the job done, particularly at home. More exciting Red Bulls teams have failed in their pursuit of an MLS Cup, this rather functional one might just have a better chance of getting that job done, and shouldn't be odds against to win this weekend.

Recommended Bet
Back New York Red Bulls to beat NYCFC @ 2.02

Chicago Fire v Orlando City
Sunday, 01:30

Orlando City salvaged a point in Seattle in midweek, but after a run of three consecutive home matches, that game heralds the start of a three-match road trip. A journey from Seattle to Chicago with three days' rest is far from ideal preparation before taking on the form team in MLS.

I spoke glowingly about Chicago last week, and so won't repeat myself, but Velkjo Paunovic has something special going, and I can't see a tired Orlando getting in their way here.

The Fire have now won six home games in a row, and four of those were by at least two goals. Even though Orlando have managed to keep things relatively tight all season, the MLS schedule is starting to kick in (and it's brutal) and I think that Jason Kreis will struggle to keep that backline as rock solid as it has been.

Chicago have so much attacking talent that they seem certain to expose Kreis' men, and if they take their chances as they have been doing, I see a comfortable home win, with Chicago well worth backing conceding a goal on the Asian Handicap.

Recommended Bet
Back Chicago Fire to beat Orlando City -1 on Asian Handicap @ 1.90

Columbus Crew v Montreal Impact
Sunday, 00:30

Both Columbus Crew and Montreal Impact were involved in high-scoring games last weekend, and I expect that trend to continue here in Ohio.

Gregg Berhalter's Crew have become a real team to follow for goals, with only one of their last nine games failing to go over the 2.5 mark, while Montreal's much-vaunted forward line has finally clicked into gear, but Mauro Biello's considerable problem is that his team can't defend.

There've been goals in every Montreal game this season, and four of their last eight have gone Over 4.5, and more importantly, I feel that these two styles will combine to make an open game. When you watch both Columbus and Montreal, games tend to be stretched, teams seem to play on the front foot, and that means space for the likes of Federico Higuain and Ignacio Piatti to exploit.

And we have a form line too, a recent one: the two sides met on May 13 in Montreal and it finished 3-2 in favour of the Crew. At that point, Montreal were undercooked going forward and yet still managed to find a way past Berhalter's backline, while Justin Meram and co tore the Impact apart.
I'd struggle to have a strong opinion on who'll win this weekend, but I'd be surprised if there aren't at least four goals.

Recommended Bet
Back Over 3.5 Goals in Columbus Crew v Montreal Impact @ 2.40

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