The New York Red Bulls are once again in action in their own backyard on Saturday, as they entertain Inter Miami at Red Bull Arena (7.30pm ET). Can they pick up their second home win in quick succession? Or will they be the next MLS team to fall under the spell of Lionel Messi, who has predictably hit the ground running since switching stateside. This preview, with its betting predictions and picks, aims to answer that.
The NY Red Bulls continued to do the business on home soil last time out, as they saw off a lacklustre D.C. United side thanks to a sturdy defensive performance and a late goal from defender John Tolkin, who as stoppage time loomed, whipped one round the wall from a free kick, securing all three points for a Red Bulls team that is now just three points short of the all-important playoff places.
The visitors also come into this game on a high having recently won the Leagues Cup, beating Nashville SC on penalties, after Lionel Messi scored yet another stunner in regulation time. They also reached another final in the week, making it through the US Open Cup semi-finals, thanks to another penalty-shootout victory, this time over Cincinnati. Ever since ex-Barcelona teammates Messi, Alba and Busquets joined forces with Inter Miami, the team partially owned by David Beckham has gone from strength to strength, so much so that they will arrive at Red Bull Arena unbeaten in eight, five of which they have won in normal time.
Hosts comfortable at Red Bull Arena
The Red Bulls did what RBNY do best last time out and that is of course grind out a win on home soil. Far from the most attractive of flamboyant teams, under the stewardship of Troy Lesesne, the NYRB boys have become quite astute at getting the job done in unassuming fashion, especially on their own patch.
Including games in the recently concluded Leagues Cup, Saturday’s hosts have lost just one of their last eight home games. During that run, they have kept four clean sheets and have conceded more than once on just two occasions, while they have now conceded just one goal in their last four home games. It is fair to say that this team doesn’t give much away, though it is a team that scores very few goals, even at home, which is a bit of worry given that Lionel Messi is about to come knocking.
For all the Red Bulls are hard to beat, they lack a serious goal-getter. Dante Vanzeir was supposed to solve their scoring woes, but the Belgian hasn’t really got going this season, while he went off injured last time out, which certainly won’t aid his cause in front of goal. Franuel Amaya is the top scorer for NYRB in Major League Soccer this season with four goals, but he’s a midfielder and cannot really be relied on to score regularly.
Inter Miami getting better
It seems a bit obvious, as what team would not improve for the addition of Lionel Messi, but the arrival of arguably the greatest player of all time really has given Inter Miami the biggest of boosts. The Argentine has certainly enjoyed himself since the switch too, scoring ten goals and registering three assists in eight games. All the time he is involved, the Inter Miami team will fancy themselves against any opposition, it really is that simple.
Even away from home, the visitors have been scoring plenty of goals. Since Messi arrived, Saturday’s visitors have scored 11 goals (in regulation time) in four traveling games. That really is quite impressive, while such numbers bode well ahead of a game against a relatively low-scoring Red Bulls team.
Red Bulls on top
In recent times, the New York Red Bulls have found far more joy in this fixture than Inter Miami. When the teams met earlier in the campaign, the Red Bulls won by a goal to nil down in Miami. They also won when the pair last met at this venue, winning by three goals to one. The Red Bulls have now won four of their last five against Inter Miami.
Go for goals at Red Bulls Arena
In the betting, despite Red Bulls not being the highest scoring team around, supporting a glut of goals is the way to go if you’re betting on this fixture with the USA sports betting sites.
Sure, the Red Bulls don’t score too many, but they do have a habit of scoring at least once, sometimes twice, at home, which is positive.
For all the hosts do tend to keep things tight at the back, they won’t have faced a side quite as rampant as Saturday’s visitors have been of late. Messi offers an incredible individual threat, but we should not overlook just how much he has improved Inter Miami’s other offensive players. Josef Martinez is one of the best MLS strikers we’ve ever seen and he’s just got a whole lot better now that Messi is playing behind him, while Colombian forward Leonardo Campana has started to thrive too, scoring twice last time out.
While the arrival of the ex-Barcelona trio has turned Inter Miami from a middle-of-the-road MLS team to serious contenders, who can score lots of goals, it hasn’t done much for the defensive solidity of the team. This is still a team that allows plenty of goals, make no mistake about that. At least four goals have been scored in all but one of Inter Miami’s last seven away games.
We know that the visitors will adopt a cavalier approach, as has become the norm for them, so this could turn into yet another end-to-end goal fest. At odds of +170, this preview and its predictions, is betting that’s the case. So for the betting pick for this MLS game, it is this one: