- LAFC is off to a blistering start in just their second season in the league
- The Black and Gold have three wins and a draw in their four matches
- The team’s odds have been improving with every single victory
In only their second season in existence, Los Angeles FC is among the favorites to lift this season’s MLS Cup. A flying start to the campaign, in which they have collected 10 points from their four games, has seen the Black and Gold soar to the top of the Western Conference.
— Soccer Time – MLS (@timetoMLS) March 25, 2019
With a quality squad at the disposal of manager Bob Bradley – who is considered US soccer royalty – their fans are dreaming big, and with good reason.
2019 MLS Cup Odds
|Team||2019 MLS Cup Odds|
|New York Red Bulls||+600|
|Los Angeles FC||+600|
|Atlanta United FC||+1000|
Odds taken 03/29/19.
The above table pretty much says it all. LAFC opened at +1000 but as they head the Western Conference their odds of winning the MLS Cup are improving all the time. As a result of their blistering start to the season, they have now been installed as favorites to win the Cup at +570 average odds.
"They're a hard team to play against… Getting control of the game and getting a rhythm in the game—those things are not easy."
Bob Bradley ahead of Saturday's showdown in San Jose. pic.twitter.com/FEMVkHD42b
— LAFC (@LAFC) March 28, 2019
Bradley’s New Squad
Bradley’s squad is packed full of quality which was, as ever, subject to a few notable ins and outs over the winter months. The squad that has started this season so well has a slightly different look and feel from the one that lost narrowly to Real Salt Lake in the 2018 knockout round.
The most significant departures over the winter were the veteran pairing of Benny Feilhaber and Marco Urena.
The most significant departures over the winter were the veteran pairing of Benny Feilhaber and Marco Urena, with Feilhaber, in particular, playing a key role in Bradley’s midfield last season. The former US international played in 34 matches in 2018 and had the most game time of any outfield player in the team. He scored three goals and added to those with six assists, but his contract expired at the end of the season and as a free agent took the opportunity to further his career at Colorado Rapids.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 16, 2016
Urena’s season was average by comparison and was hindered by an injury halfway through the season. He still managed a goal and five assists in his 18 games with the club, but the Costa Rican forward has now returned to his homeland to join Alajuelense.
Moutinho to Orlando
Other departures were far less significant and Bradley has managed to maintain the core of the squad that performed so well in its first season, although full-back Joao Moutinho was eventually traded to Orlando City after being the first overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, and Aaron Kovar surprisingly announced his retirement at age 25.
— ORLANDO CITY SRH (@ORLANDOCITYSRH) March 7, 2018
In terms of new defensive players, center-back Eddcentreura arrived on loan from Colombian side Atletico Huila, with an option to purchase, and left-back Mohamed El-Munir arrived from Orlando as part of the Moutinho trade.
New Striking Options
In attack, they signed El Salvador international forward Rodolfo “Fito” Zelaya on a two-year deal, and added to their goalkeeping options by signing Mexican keeper Pablo Sisniega from Real Sociedad.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 19, 2019
All of which adds up to a squad that is stronger than last season’s and which is equipped, in our view, to take them all the way to the MLS Cup final. The momentum gained from home wins over Sporting Kansas City, Portland Timbers, and Real Salt Lake, and a good away draw at New York City can’t be underestimated.
The Black and Gold are in good shape and we believe that in only their second season they can pip Galaxy and the Red Bulls to the big prize.
Pick: Los Angeles FC (+600)