Preview & picks for Week 3
The third week in Major League Soccer is set to be another tantalizing weekend as the early indicators become a little more visible for the season. Our MLS Week 3 predictions for 2023 come at you with the five biggest games from the division.
MLS Week 3 predictions 2023
Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew, Sunday 12th March, 00:30 GMT
How long will the Toronto FC board give Bob Bradley at the helm? The Italian invasion has yet to yield any sweet fruit of success. The 3-2 loss to D.C. United on the opening weekend was a heartache while the 1-1 with Atlanta United on week two was an improvement, it’s still no return on the franchise expectation. Furthermore, the stalemate flattered Toronto as the team struggled to make cohesive plays and hold on to the ball.
Columbus Crew might have been the punching bag for Philadelphia Union on the opening weekend yet came out of the second matchday with all three points from their encounter with D.C. United. The 2-0 result came from the goals of Lucas Zelarayán as the Argentina-born Armenian international was almost unplayable. There’s no doubt he’ll be giving Toronto headaches ahead of the game.
Bob Bradley stated that Lorenzo Insigne will be ready for their first home game of 2023, having picked up an injury in the season opener. The highest-paid player in Major League Soccer will make a difference even if he can only play 45 minutes.
Prediction: Goals galore. Toronto FC will be better with Lorenzo Insigne back in the side. However, Lucas Zelarayan has already hit the ground running for the season for Columbus. Both teams to score, yet the Crew look better overall and could upset the homecoming for Toronto, 3-2 to Columbus.
Minnesota United vs New York Red Bulls, Sunday 12th March, 01:30 GMT
Two teams looking to get a grip on the season collide at Allianz Field as Minnesota United host the New York Red Bulls. Mender Garcia proved his worth to the side, having scored on his first appearance this season, which was the franchise’s only goal so far this year. It was enough to get all three points against FC Dallas down in Texas.
New York Red Bulls wore an eye-catching yellow kit against Nashville SC on week two. However, their football and match, in general, were less easy on the eye. Abject could be considered an appropriate term for a 0-0 game that saw neither team many make meaningful attacks or hold the ball for a sustained period of time.
The two franchises actually met in a pre-season friendly in the lead-up to the 2023 season in early February as part of the Carolina Challenge Cup. However, in competitive meetings, Minnesota United has won the prior two games.
Prediction: New York Red Bulls have looked tepid this season. Minnesota might not have set the world alight yet do have a win under their belts already. At home, another victory for the Loons could be on the cards. 2-0 to Minnesota.
Nashville SC vs CF Montreal, Sunday 12th March, 01:30 GMT
Nashville SC has yet to concede a goal this season, making them one of the best defensive options within our MLS Week 3 predictions 2023. Having gone undefeated against both New York franchises, the music city club will be confident in week three. Hany Mukhtar might not have scored yet but he’s biding his time.
Conversely, CF Montreal looks like a team devoid of confidence. Hernan Losada was expected to build on the team which qualified for the playoffs. However, consecutive losses have only brought up concerns about his compatibility with Major League Soccer. After all, his first appointment with D.C. United was seldom successful either. While the Canadian team could claim to be unlucky against Inter Miami in week one, they were lucky to only be beaten 1-0 against Austin FC.
In the overall head-to-head, there have been five prior contests between the sides with Montreal never winning. Nashville head coach Gary Smith has seemingly found a way to always avoid defeat and often win against this specific opposition with three wins, two draws, and zero losses.
Prediction: Nashville won both fixtures against Montreal in 2022. There’s no reason why that trend won’t continue as Montreal’s form is spiraling.
San Jose Earthquakes vs Colorado Rapids, Sunday 12th March, 03:30 GMT
The preseason MLS Cup odds for the San Jose Earthquakes were relatively long given that club has been wayward from the top echelons of the competition for multiple years now. 2023 has been a year of promise for the California-based franchise, albeit only two games in.
If it wasn’t for two penalties in the first week, they’d have won. That performance was followed up with a comeback victory against Vancouver Whitecaps in their opening home game of the season at PayPal Park. Can it be done again with home support?
Turning up for the next game at PayPal Park is the out-of-form Colorado Rapids. Robin Fraser’s team lost their opener 4-0 to Seattle Sounders with as little as two shots on target. The franchise was still not convincing last weekend but managed to earn a point against Sporting Kansas City. Despite controlling most of the ball, they still were blunt in the final third as clear-cut chances were very hard to come by.
Prediction: San Jose is far from perfect but has the ability to score goals. Colorado Rapids may get a goal but in front of the PayPal Park faithful, the Earthquakes should win again. Potentially another 2-1 result.
LAFC vs New England, Monday 13th March, 02:30 GMT
MLS Week 3 predictions for 2023 wouldn’t be complete without speculation on how the champions Los Angeles FC will get on.
New England Revolution provides the opposition at BMO Stadium.
What LAFC supporters must consider ahead of the Week 3 MLS preview is the tight fixture schedule. Steve Cherundolo has to play Liga Deportiva Alajuelense in the CONCACAF Champions League just three days before this Major League Soccer game. Bear in mind that involves a quick turnaround as the team travels to Costa Rica and back in that time. LAFC did however make a winning start to their MLS season with a 3-2 win against the Portland Timbers.
Bruce Arena is no stranger to success in Major League Soccer. 2023 has started in great fashion for the experienced coach as he’s notched up two wins from two games. The most recent was a 3-0 win against Houston Dynamo with goals from Dylan Borrero, Bobby Wood, and Brandon Bye. Arena spent an eternity as the LA Galaxy head coach before LAFC was even jotted down as a potential expansion team. Which of course adds an extra layer of spice to the match.
The last competitive fixture between the sides ended 2-0 for LAFC. However, the subsequent friendly encounters have both ended in stalemates.
Prediction: LAFC might be the champions yet struggled to be convincing against Portland. Add in that they’ve got a long haul to Costa Rica and back before this game, and New England will be targeting all three points.
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