DC United welcome long-time rivals New York Red Bulls to Audi Field on Sunday evening (8pm ET), as they took to get back to winning ways after going two matches without obtaining maximum points. The visitors will also be hoping to regain the winning thread after drawing each of their last two.
DC were in superb form having won four on the bounce (in all competitions), but they’ve dropped off the pace slightly in recent weeks. Their 2-2 draw away At Chicago wasn’t the end of the world, but their defeat away against Philadelphia will have certainly dented the confidence of Hernan Losada’s men. Then again, they didn’t play too badly and were probably unlucky not to walk away with a draw, so the hosts ought to be feeling upbeat ahead of this encounter, especially as they’ve won four in a row at Audi Field, scoring no fewer than ten goals in the process.
Red Bulls’ form hasn’t been too good in recent weeks. They’re without a loss in four, which is pleasing, but they have won only one of those four, while they’ve picked up maximum points from just one of their last five. Moreover, only once have Sunday’s visitors won on their travels this season, which isn’t great considering they’ve had six bites of the cherry so to speak.
DCU vs RBNY long-standing rivalry
This is one of MLS’ oldest and fiercest rivalries and it always shows on the pitch. The games are often fast and frantic, while tension usually run high, so much so that we see nervy performances, which may explain the lack of both teams finding the net in four of the last five renewals of this fixture.
There’s also been a distinct lack of DC United wins against Red Bulls in recent times. Sunday’s hosts have won just one of their last 14 matches against their rivals. To add insult to injury, the Red Bulls have won seven of those 14, including two of the last four. Moreover, NYRB have won each of their last three matches at this venue, most recently winning by two goals to nil back in 2020.
Little between the pair?
Right now, there’s not much between the two teams on paper. NYRB sit above DCU in the standings, but only by a single point, while they both have a goal difference of +2. However, the differences start to appear if we scratch beneath the surface. In terms of expected goals, DC have performed better. At present, DC boast an average expected goal difference of +0.60 per 90, which is healthy. In contrast, Red Bulls have an expected goal difference of 0.0, having both created and conceded both 17.4 expected goals for.
Comparing the relevant numbers
DC’s figures at home have been steady. They have won four and lost two, scoring 11 and conceding only four in the process. Defensively, it’s fair to say they’ve done well, with no team in the Eastern Conference conceding fewer home goals than Losada’s men. DC also boast the fourth-lowest expected goals against figure in the east, conceding an average of 1.11 xG per 90 minutes on home soil. With their expected goals for total of 9.8, that gives them a reasonably strong average expected goal difference of +0.52.
Unlike the hosts, Red Bulls have struggled to produce convincing underlying numbers on their travels. They’ve not done terribly going forward, averaging 1.34 expected goals for, which is not great, but not bad either. The same cannot be said at the other end, though.
Sunday’s visitors arrive here with an average of 1.74 expected goals against on the road. That’s poor by anybody’s standards. This means that on average, they’re hitting an expected goal difference of -0.40, which doesn’t stand up well against +0.52.
Hosts worth a bet?
Given what we know about the pair, the home win is very appealing at +115. They don’t have a great home record in this fixture, or in this fixture in general, while the league table suggests that there’s next to nothing between the pair, but once we dig a little deeper, it’s easy to feel that there’s a disparity in quality that leans in favor of the hosts. After all, they are performing far better at home than RBNY on the road, both in terms of goals scored and conceded, not to mention expected goals for and expected goals against. Add in that DC are claiming 2.00 points per home game, compared to Red Bull’s 0.71 on the road, and a home win really is hard to go against at the current odds.
Do DC have goals in them?
A secondary bet ahead of this fixture is ‘DC to Score Over 1.5 Goals’. Sometimes their finishing hasn’t been as hot as it could be, but from a creativity standpoint, DC have been on fire of late, which bodes well ahead of a game against a side that has kept just a single travelling clean sheet this season. The hosts have posted expected goals for numbers of 2.2, 1.4, 2.8, 1.5, 2.8 and 2.8 in their last six matches. Such figures aren’t to be taken lightly, so if you’re interested in doubling down or prefer something a little different to the traditional moneyline play, then take the hosts to notch at least twice.
These are our DCU vs RBNY betting picks and predictions for this MLS game preview: