It is a crunch match in Group F, as LA Galaxy take on Houston Dynamo on Thursday evening (8pm ET). Winless in two at this MLS is Back Tournament in Florida, both go in search of a victory that could see them progress as one of the best third-place finishers.
Read on for USAbetting’s LA Galaxy vs Houston Dynamo predictions, culminating with our preview’s betting picks for this crucial soccer game.
Defensive struggles for both
Given the general open nature of MLS fixtures in general, combined with the fact that teams came into this tournament off the back of a several-month lay-off, defensive play was never likely to be at an all-time high in Florida, though this pair have been two of the worst. In two matches, LA Galaxy, who are rarely solid at the back, have shipped a worrying eight goals, while Houston, who’ve conceded five, are also without a clean sheet since the resumption.
If we include the handful of games before COVID-19 put a stop to proceedings, as well as last season, it is now 20 games since the Galaxy kept a clean sheet. Houston are the owners of a better record, though they are without a clean sheet in five and have only stopped their opponents scoring in three of their last 20. Hardly inspiring stuff.
Fortunately for Houston, they look a threat going forward. Against Portland, despite ultimately leaving the field with zero points, they showed a certain amount of flexibility in the final third, looking strong both when dictating the early exchanges and when playing on the break. With Darwin Quintero, Elis and Manotas in the forward line, Dynamo are certainly dynamic. First time out, we saw how such players can cause even the best problems, as Houston fought their way to a 3-3 draw against LAFC, which is far more than Galaxy could manage. Moreover, Tab Ramos’ men were unfortunate not to get something against the Timbers, especially as they outshot their opponents by almost two to one, registering no less than 24 attempts.
Unfortunately, Elis will miss this match through suspension, though Quintero and Manotas, who netted 23 times between them last term, should enjoy themselves against a very weak Galaxy back-line.
Goals on the menu
Those expecting to see a glut of goals on Thursday evening probably won’t be disappointed, or at least that is what the recent record between this pair suggests. When they met during regular-season play in February, Houston and Galaxy played out what for them was a low-scoring 1-1 draw. Prior to that, there had been at least three goals scored in six renewals on the bounce. At least five goals were netted in four of those six. Somewhat unsurprisingly, neither side has kept a clean sheet in this fixture since 2016.
Galaxy not up to scratch
Like Houston, Galaxy were slightly unlucky when losing to Portland, though they were anything but against city rivals LAFC last time out. On that occasion, Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s men simply couldn’t compete, both offensively and defensively. Six shots in over 90 minutes of MLS action tells us that Galaxy struggled to do enough in attack, while 19 shots against tells everyone what they already knew, which is that when push comes to shove, the Los Angeles team wearing all white are easy to get at. Their match against LAFC showed yet again that anyone with the slightest bit of attacking quality is going to get plenty of joy against Schelotto’s defensively inept side.
Houston warrant strong favoritism
If we look at the early prices with our list of trustworthy USA sports betting odds setters, we can see that that market considers Houston to be slight favorites. Based purely on results, that seems about right, though once we take a closer look, it’s easy to feel that the Dynamo will be shorter odds come gameday, and rightly so. Not only are Houston unbeaten in their last four against Galaxy, three of which they have won, but the contrasting performances that this duo delivered against LAFC are virtually impossible to ignore.
Naturally, against LAFC, both Galaxy and Houston were dominated in terms of possession, but it was the Dynamo who offered the greater threat on the break, while they also did a better job of resisting the pressure piled on by Bob Bradley’s side. The form that both showed against Portland also points towards Houston being stronger favorites than the current sportsbooks’ odds suggest. Galaxy registered just one more shot than The Timbers, posting 13. In contrast, Houston easily bettered the men from Oregon, registering a pleasing 24 shots. This extra attacking productivity could be all the difference on Thursday.
Side with Dynamo
Those looking to invest in this fixture could do far worse than betting on a Houston Dynamo win. Since the pair arrived in Florida, it has been Tab Ramos’ side that has looked the more threatening offensively, while even though they are by no means stingy with what they give away, they have shown a tendency to crack defensively far less than the Galaxy, whose sieve-like defence continues to prove costly. So USAbetting’s LA Galaxy vs Houston Dynamo predictions and picks for this preview go like this:
- Galaxy are around +155 to win this, while the draw is biggest at +325. We recommend a bet on Houston Dynamo to win @ best odds of +137 with Bookmaker on the moneyline.