Two teams looking to bounce back after poor results last time out go head-to-head on Saturday, as Toronto FC host Charlotte FC at BMO Field (7.30pm ET), where the hosts are without a win in three. Can the Canadians turn it around on home soil?
After a couple of wins back in June, Saturday’s hosts would have been hoping to kick on and move away from the foot of the Eastern Conference, but unfortunately, that’s not how things have panned out. The Canadians have lost four of their last five Major League Soccer fixtures, while they’re now without a win in five.
Such a run of form has left them down in 13th position, only one point ahead of the team currently at the foot of the table (D.C. United). Bob Bradley’s men were perhaps a tad unlucky last time out, as they lost by the narrowest of margins to fellow Canadians Vancouver, but in their current predicament, narrow defeats probably won’t bring many smiles.
The visitors were also left down in the dumps last time out, as they fell short in Miami, losing by three goals to two. Like the hosts in their last game, the Charlotte boys were close to getting something, but ultimately, they left empty handed and will thus approach this fixture feeling a little downbeat no doubt. On the bright side, the visitors have been scoring plenty of goals in recent weeks, so they ought to fancy themselves to leave their mark on this fixture, regardless of their latest defeat.
Consistency not their strong point
Toronto have done most of their best work in front of their own fans this season, there can be no denying that, but consistency is not something they’ve found at BMO Field. They went from winning three on the bounce at home back in March/April to losing two straight, two winning two straight, to losing two, before tying when last in action at this venue.
Offensively, they have often come up with the goods, but at the other end of the pitch, Bradley’s men have slacked off far too often, keeping zero clean sheets in 11 home fixtures. They are in fact the only team in MLS to record zero clean sheets at home. Such a stat is worrying.
On the road to nowhere
Their recent form will not leave the hosts feeling confident, but what might brighten their spirits is the fact that Charlotte have failed to get going away from home this season. The Major League Soccer newbies have won just one of their 11 traveling games, losing eight of the other ten, collecting just five points away from the comforts of Bank of American Stadium. In terms of points per game on the road in the Eastern Conference, Saturday’s visitors are the second worst having picked up an average of just 0.45 points. In contrast, the hosts, Toronto, have collected an average of 1.45 points per home game.
Recently CLT did pick up that first long-awaited away-day win, as they beat the Houston Dynamo by two goals to one, and they did so in deserving fashion after producing a pleasing 2.3 expected goals, conceding just 0.9 at the other end. That victory should have acted as a platform for further success, but against Inter Miami last time out, they returned to offering little offensively, producing just 0.4 xG, despite scoring two goals.
TFC vs CLT: Bet on goals at BMO Field
If you are looking for a betting angle here, then it must be ‘Over 2.5 Goals’. TFC have produced no shortage of goals at home, scoring in nine out of 11, scoring 1.45 goals per game. They’ve also done anything but keep their opponents quiet, conceding in 100% of their games at BMO Field, conceding twice in four of their last five. Nine of their 11 home games have contained at least three goals.
As far as the visitors, CLTFC, are concerned, the goals have arrived regularly on the road in recent times. Each of their last three away games have contained three or more goals, with them both scoring and conceding in each of those three, while they’ve scored and conceded in six of their last six away fixtures.
The men now coached by Christian Lattanzio have also conceded two or more goals in eight out of 11 on their travels this season. What’s more, only three teams in the whole of Major League Soccer have been involved in more away games containing three or more goals than Charlotte. No team has seen at least three goals arrive more than TFC at home this term, so don’t be surprised if the goals flow on Saturday evening.
Lorenzo to leave his mark
There is every chance that this could be Lorenzo Insigne’s first game for Toronto, and it will be little surprise if the diminutive Italian left his mark on the game. Those bettors looking for a player prop should take a chance on the forward scoring on debut. After all, the 30-year-old notched an impressive 30 goals in his last 57 appearances in Serie A for Napoli, averaging 3.72 shots per 90 minutes in the process. So this is the brace of betting predictions and picks for this MLS matchup preview, at best odds: