During Matchday 31, we will see Lionel Messi and Inter Miami CF host a Sporting Kansas City team pushing hard for a playoff spot and one that is within reach this weekend. Miami is still on the same playoff quest in the East, and they will need to continue to get results to jump over at least five teams in front.
We will also be treated to some battles involving the LA teams. The LA Galaxy hosts St Louis CITY FC, who are still holding onto the Western Conference lead, and LAFC hosts an enigmatic Portland Timbers team who have earned some positive results recently.
Neil FitzGerald here from The Game Day to look at the upcoming MLS matches for Matchday 31, taking place on Saturday, September 9th, and Sunday, September 10th.
The MLS odds I used for my betting picks are current as of 11 a.m. ET on Thursday, Sep. 7, at the indicated sportsbook for the wager.
D.C. United vs San Jose Earthquakes Preview
After three losses, D.C. United seemed to have shaken their demons last weekend and hit the back of the net with every shot on target for a 4-0 win over Chicago. They now sit directly in front of Chicago, holding onto the last playoff spot.
The team’s xGD (Expected Goal Differential) is better than their actual results on the season, so there is some reason for hope.
Despite wide-open play versus Minnesota last weekend that saw 32 shots taken, San Jose tied 1-1 and kept their playoff spot intact.
The Earthquakes have a weak 2-7-4 record on the road, so that this match will be a challenge, and their ongoing negative (-6.1) xGD (expected goal differential) on the season makes this a bet to avoid.
Inter Miami CF vs Sporting Kansas City Preview
Despite being outshot 22-9 in Los Angeles, Inter Miami came away with a 3-1 win over LAFC last Sunday. Inter Miami will have to pass five teams and make up an eight-point deficit in their final league games.
While it’s not a likely scenario, it must be entertained based on their undefeated record since their roster alterations.
Kansas City won back-to-back games last week (3-0 over San Jose and 2-1 over St. Louis CITY FC) and now find themselves within 2 points of a playoff spot.
They are 1-6-6 on the road and playing the “new” Inter Miami, so it’s a tough horse to back this week.
INTER MIAMI vs SPORTING KANSAS CITY PICK: Total Goals Over 3.5 (+135) • PointsBet Sportsbook. Sporting KC have had 3+ goals in their last six games, and the Inter Miami train is not slowing down.
Minnesota United FC vs New England Revolution Preview
After a midweek 3-0 win over struggling Colorado, Minnesota struggled to convert their shots versus San Jose on the weekend and tied 1-1.
They have only lost three games in their previous 15, and their expected Goal Differential (+7.9) over the season suggests this team is ready to cement their hold on a playoff spot.
New England bounced back from a lackluster loss 1-0 to Montreal with a solid 1-0 victory over the surging Red Bulls and then a 2-2 tie at home versus Austin FC last week.
The large gap between actual (+14) and expected (+0.1) goal differential is a lingering concern, making it hard to back The Revolution with much conviction.
Portland Timbers vs Los Angeles Football Club Preview
Before last week’s surprising surge, including a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake and a 2-2 draw in Seattle, the Timbers had only won twice in their previous 12 games.
The recent results do not inspire enough confidence to recommend a wager, but monitoring is recommended.
Despite outshooting Inter Miami 22-9 on Sunday, LAFC ended up with a 3-1 defeat at home, leaving the team on a two-game losing streak. The team's xGD (+13.4) is the best in MLS.
However, their actual goal differential (+10) is not far off, so this is still a team-to-back.
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs LOS ANGELES Football Club PICK: Los Angeles to Win (+130) • PointsBet Sportsbook. LAFC is a top team pushing to win the Western Conference, and they will push hard for the three points.
LA Galaxy vs St. Louis CITY FC Preview
Los Angeles has only lost once in 11 league games and is undefeated since the Leagues Cup break. The squad owns the majority of possession in their recent games and is scoring at an impressive rate (the 0-0 draw versus Houston being the exception).
The Galaxy are building momentum towards a playoff spot, and this will be a battle between two teams with solid recent results.
St. Louis has been one of the most prolific offenses in MLS (53 goals) all season. Still, their expected goals (xG) is only 35, suggesting they have benefitted from some good fortune that may eventually disappear.
They have lost two games on the road in a row, and this game will not come easy, so it is not ideal circumstances for betting on the road team.