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Saturday MLS Betting Odds, Picks & Prediction: San Jose vs. D.C. United (May 1)

Saturday MLS Betting Odds, Picks & Prediction: San Jose vs. D.C. United (May 1) article feature image

John Todd/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Manager Matias Almeyda of the San Jose Earthquakes.

San Jose vs. D.C. United

San Jose Odds -112
D.C. United Odds +325
Draw +235
Over/Under 2.5 (-147 / +108)
Day | Time Saturday | 11 p.m. ET
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Odds updated Friday evening via DraftKings.

One of the most intriguing coaching matchups this season comes Saturday when San Jose’s Matias Almeyda welcomes D.C. United manager and fellow Argentine Hernan Losada to northern California for this contest.

Both men — like many from the home land — are heavily influenced by fellow countryman Marcelo Bielsa, whose famous obsession with fitness and tactical flexibility helped Leeds United earn promotion to the Premier League entering this season. It also led to them retain their place in England’s top flight, with the distinct possibility of finishing top 10 in the table.

However, the bosses in this encounter build on their affection for high-tempo play a bit differently.

Almeyda’s squads utilize a 4-2-3-1 in possession and defend in a man-marking system (with a sweeper) that creates 1-on-1 duals all over the pitch. 

Losada’s 3-5-2 crowds the midfield and looks to change turnovers into chances as quickly as possible, typically at the expense of keeping possession and completing a high percentage of passes.

San Jose

Almeyda’s Earthquakes shook off a sluggish 2-1 opening-weekend loss in Houston by cruising to a 3-1 home victory over Dallas last time out.

The revelation from the latter victory was the play of 17-year-old striker Cade Cowell, who scored his first goal and added an exceptional assist. 

He most likely will shoulder even more of the burden against D.C. United, with MLS all-time leading scorer Chris Wondolowski serving a red-card suspension.

Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.

The Earthquakes rode their luck defensively early against FC Dallas, and were fortunate not to be trailing before Oswaldo Alanis’ penalty made it 1-0.

That said, across two games they’ve generated more quality chances than they’ve allowed. San Jose ranks second in expected goals, according to American Soccer Analysis and StatsBomb.

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D.C. United

Losada’s ideal attack would look similar to San Jose’s approach. His previous club — Belgian first-division side Beerschot — finished this season with 58 goals scored and 64 goals against. That amounted to an average of a league-high tying 3.59 combined goals a contest.

However, there’s only so much Losada can do with a roster that wasn’t loaded with attacking talent to start and has been crushed by injuries. There are currently 11 players on D.C United’s unavailable list, including striker Ola Kamara, winger Paul Arriola and midfielder Yordy Reyna. 

Both goals in D.C. United’s opening win over New York City FC came from unlikely sources in center back Brendan Hines-Ike and holding midfielder Russell Canouse. The player who came closest to scoring in D.C. United’s 1-0 loss in the second week was New England center back Andrew Farrell, who was saved only by the post from turning the ball into his own net.

D.C. United only dressed 17 players for that game, and could do so again.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Almeyda’s man-marking approach might actually help D.C. United going forward since it has plenty of bite in its squad in terms of ball-winners and physical players, but fewer attackers capable of breaking down multiple defenders.

It would be hard to get worse in terms of chance creation than D.C. United’s league-worst 0.90 xG over two games (according to American Soccer Analysis). And it’s not as though Losada has been trying to park the bus. He’s actually pledged the opposite. It’s just a matter of personnel right now.

Ironically, D.C. United’s relative offensive success is likely to lead to a match played at San Jose’s pace.

Neither San Jose goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski or D.C. United’s Chris Seitz is known for the stand-on-your head performances that infuriate bettors who take the overs on games. So ,I feel pretty comfortable telling you to bet the total over 2.5 goals at -147 odds, with an implied probability of 59.5 percent.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (-147)

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