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Salt Lake vs. Chicago Preview | MLS Free Pick (July. 8)

MLS Soccer Predictions – THURSDAY JULY 8, 2010 – Real Salt Lake vs Chicago Fire

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The MLS began its 15th season this year and we’ve finally decided it’s time to give this league some handicapping love and provide some free SOCCER gambling analysis every week.

Onto the week’s MLS preview and prediction for the week.

ESPN2, ESPND – 9:30 pm EST – MLS Betting Odds – Real Salt Lake (8-3-3) at Chicago Fire (4-4-5):

Chicago +110
Real Salt Lake +225
Draw: +225

Chicago will look to push their home-unbeaten streak to six when they kick off against last year’s reigning MLS champion Real Salt Lake on Thursday night at Toyota Park.

The last time these two sides met in Bridgeview, RSL who was shifted to the East for the 2009 playoffs, grabbed its first ever MLS Cup final berth beating the Fire 5-4 on penalty kicks after 120 scoreless minutes in the Eastern Conference final in November of 2009.

Real has never won at Chicago in the regular season, going 0-3-2, but now have their best chance of ending that streak at five, as they are one of the league’s hottest team, going 7-0-2 since its last defeat – 1-0 at Columbus on April 24.

Although the Fire have played well at home, having gone 2-0-3 at Toyota Park since losing 2-1 to San Jose in their home opener. They have surrendered 11 goals in seven matches there as well. Not a favorable statistic as the face a side that are coming off a dominating 5-0 performance in a win over New England in its last outing.

Real got first-half goals from Fabian Espindola and Jamison Olave, two goals from Alvaro Saborio in the second, along with a final strike from Robbie Findley, who made his return after playing for the United States at the World Cup. The victory over the Revolution extended the teams home unbeaten streak to 18 games, while the club is just 2-3-1 away from Rio Tinto.

In contrast, the Fire are coming off a 2-1 defeat to the East-leading Columbus Crew on Saturday, snapping its five-match unbeaten streak. The side’s only offense came on an own goal by Crew defender Frankie Hejduk. Chicago is averaging just one goal per game in their last six.

This should bode will for Real goalkeeper Nick Rimando who picked up his 100th MLS win last weekend, extending his shutout streak to a franchise-record 408 minutes, since beating Kansas City 4-1 on May 29. The veteran net minder made six saves through regulation and extra time, before stopping three shots in last season’s conference final shootout against Chicago.

The Fire will need to turn things up offensively if they hope to win this one. A victory would leapfrog them over Toronto into third place, just seven points behind East-leading Columbus.

Meanwhile, Real continues to chase down Western Conference leaders the LA Galaxy who leads the division by nine points.

While the Fire have proven to be a solid team at home, RSL’s goal scoring ability –20 goals in their last nine outings—coupled with its suffocating defense and solid goaltending, should be enough to snag them a 3-1 win in this one.

Salt Lake vs Chicago Free Pick:

While the Fire have proven to be a solid team at home, RSL’s goal scoring ability –20 goals in their last nine outings—coupled with its suffocating defense and solid goaltending, should be enough to snag them a 3-1 win in this one.

We will continue to provide free weekly MLS gambling predictions due to the responses we’ve gotten on ourSoccer handicapping forums, and survey responses we’ve conducted on our soccer betting blog.

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Matt Martz is a sportswriter for the Bakersfield Californian located in Central California. “ Football (soccer) is a game in which a handful of fit men run around for one and a half hours watched by millions of people who could really use the exercise.”

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