New York City's bid for automatic qualification to MLS' Final Series continues against Philadelphia Union at Yankee Stadium.
City, under the stewardship of former Arsenal captain, Patrick Vieira - recently linked with a switch to Saint Etienne - suffered a setback in losing 3-1 against Atlanta United last weekend, before being held to a 2-2 draw against New England in midweek.
Only the top two teams from the Eastern Conference are assured of a place in the Final Series and, so, the pressure is on Vieira's charges to return to winning ways when they play host to Jim Curtin's men this weekend.
City, who can call upon the services of former Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo and former Barcelona striker David Villa, who has bagged eight MLS goals so far this season, are chalked up as bet365's 4/5 (1.80) favourites to pick up a vital victory, with 5/2 (3.50) that the match remains deadlocked at the end of 90 minutes.
Philadelphia, though, are certainly capable of offering real resistance when they make the trip to Yankee Stadium. Curtin's men suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat at the hands of Real Salt Lake last time out, but before that, they had claimed 13 points from their previous five MLS fixtures, scoring 11 goals and conceding just once. There is 3/1 (4.0) that Philadelphia take maximum points from this match.
Curtin's men have lost just one of their last seven matches, keeping a clean sheet in four of those fixtures and there is 5/1 (6.0) that Vieira's side draw a blank here, with 8/1 (9.0) that Philadelphia win without conceding - a selection that would have seen punters profit from three of the last four matches in which Curtin's team have come out on top.
The most recent meeting between these two teams, in Philadelphia back in April, saw City cruise to a comfortable 2-0 win. bet365 offer 9/1 (10.0) that the scoreline is repeated when the rivalry is renewed, with 3/5 (1.60) that more than two goals are scored in this game - a selection that would have seen punters profit from eight of Philadelphia's last 12 MLS matches, as well as in five of City's last six matches at Yankee Stadium.
Vieira's team have scored three times in each of their last three victories and they are in decent form in the final third of the pitch - as such, the 9/4 (3.25) quote for City to score more than twice in this tie may well prove popular with punters.
City, however, have kept a clean sheet in just one of their last eight outings. That lack of defensive discipline is sure to be a cause for concern for Vieira ahead of Philadelphia's visit and better value may lie in the 5/6 (1.83) quote for more than two goals to be scored and both teams to find the net in Saturday's showdown.
The selection would have landed in each of the last four games contested at Yankee Stadium.