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Odds taken from bet365
This isn’t an easy game to call; the odds on offer reflect that. Charlotte FC are the bookmakers' favorite but not by much, and for good reason. The home advantage has clearly swung things in their favor. They haven’t amassed as many points as the Sounders this season, nor are they in the best form to warrant the favorite tag.
Seattle offer great value for this match, but so does a draw. In fact, a draw would garner the most value. Seattle haven’t been in the best form either, dropping points in their last two games. With both sides not making a convincing case in recent weeks, a draw seems plausible, and the value of that pick makes it a no-brainer for this match.
The two sides have only faced each other once. The match occurred in May last year; Seattle Sounders won 2-1 on the day. Ben Bender gave Charlotte FC the lead in the 21st minute and, for large periods, it looked like the match was going to end with a solitary goal, but Jordan Morris’ 72nd-minute equalizer changed the game.
The Sounders had all the momentum and made it count eight minutes later through Raul Ruidiaz. The Sounders were well worth their three points on the balance of play. They took 16 shots to Charlotte FC’s 11 and had 57% of the possession. We think the upcoming match will also be quite tight, like this one from a year ago.
Charlotte FC lost their second league game in a row over the weekend against Columbus Crew. Charlotte made a horrible start to the game, conceding three in the first half. Christian Ramirez (5’), Maximilian Arfsten (21’), and Cucho Hernandez (43’) found the target, and it looked like the game was wrapped up for all intents and purposes.
However, Charlotte FC bounced back in the second half with two goals in quick succession from Karol Swiderski (56’) and Justin Meram (58’). Still, their celebrations didn’t last long as Christian Ramirez scored his second of the day just a minute after Meram’s strike. It was the most surreal four minutes of football you’ll likely see all season.
After this period, there wasn’t much to shout about for either side, and the match ended 4-2 to Columbus Crew. The home side were deserving winners on the day. They made a strong start, had 55% of the possession, and took 18 shots to Charlotte FC’s nine. They also had seven shots on target compared to Charlotte FC’s four. Charlotte FC’s defense was a big concern in this game; it has been an issue all season.
The match against Columbus Crew displayed just how easy it is to score goals against Charlotte FC. Charlotte FC seem a bit fortunate to be in ninth place in the league currently because they’ve got the worst defensive numbers in the Eastern Conference.
No club in the east has conceded more than their 30 goals, and the underlying numbers don’t look much better. They currently have an expected goal against value of 25.3, which is the highest in the east.
They’ve been a bit fortunate in the attacking department, which is why they’re sitting in ninth place on the table. They’ve scored 22 goals despite having an xG of 17.9. Of course, a little overperformance is normal, but when you look at their overall underlying numbers, it doesn’t seem like Charlotte FC are going to make the playoffs this season. They need to make some additions in the defensive areas this season soon.
The Seattle Sounders weren’t at their best over the weekend against Portland, so a point wasn’t the worst result. The match ended 0-0, with neither side creating too many gilt-edged chances. As expected of the home side, Seattle had more possession (61%) but took just five shots on goal.
Portland managed to take 11 shots and strike two on target. Portland haven’t set the world on fire this season, but it looked like they would get something out of this game. They were definitely the better side on the day and will be a bit disappointed that they didn’t get all three points.
It was a concerning performance for the Sounders. They had a large share of the ball but weren’t able to penetrate Portland’s defense for a little over 90 minutes, nor were they able to prevent themselves from being exposed on the counterattack. It won’t come as a surprise if more teams approach Seattle like Portland did over the weekend and are rewarded for the same.
It looked like Seattle were back to being a top side at the start of the season, but recent results suggest there’s still a long way to go. They’re in second place on the Western Conference table, which is a healthy position to be in, despite playing more games than some of the teams around them, but their performances have been very unconvincing in recent weeks. This is also reflected in their recent results: one win in their last five league games.
Despite becoming the first MLS side to win the CONCACAF Champions League last season, the Sounders struggled in the league, and it looks like the issues from last season haven’t left them entirely – so much so that we’re not sure if they’ll win this match against an average Charlotte FC side.
The underlying numbers look good but don’t tell the whole story. They’ve had a lot of possession but haven’t been creating as many chances as they did earlier in the season. Teams seem to have sussed them out a little and are able to frustrate them with a low block. Lesser teams are also generating enough counter-attacking opportunities and half-chances to get something out of the game. It’ll be fascinating to see if the Sounders can work around this soon.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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