- LAFC odds on favorites to win MLS Cup after win over Galaxy
- Atlanta second favorites and face Toronto in conference final
- Read our final four preview and pick to win the MLS Cup
And then there were four.
After a frantic week of playoffs and conference semifinals, the destination of the MLS Cup has now been whittled down to four teams – LAFC, Seattle Sounders, Atlanta United FC and Toronto FC.
The big questions are, are LAFC still the best bet? Is there any value left on them? And, if not, who is the best bet? As ever, we’ll take a close look.
2019 MLS Cup Odds
|Los Angeles FC||1st (Western)||-165|
|Atlanta United FC||2nd (Eastern)||+330|
|Seattle Sounders||2nd (Western)||+700|
|Toronto FC||4th (Eastern)||+700|
*Odds taken on 10/26/19.
LAFC are now odds-on favorites to win it. Their average MLS Cup odds were +100 ahead of the semis, and now are -150 on average, and as low as -165. We’ll look at each team individually to try and see if the -165 for LAFC is easy money.
Los Angeles FC
There’s no denying that they have been the outstanding team in this season’s competition and player-for-player have the best team and squad in the league. That they won the Supporters’ Shield by eight clear points tells the story, but this is cup soccer and anything can happen.
In LAFC’s favor, though, is that they are in great form. The first-ever El Trafico win couldn’t have been better timed or more dramatic as they beat rivals LA Galaxy 5-3 in the Western Conference Semifinal on Thursday night at Banc of California Stadium.
A brace apiece for Carlos Vela and Adama Diomande and another from Diego Rossi were just enough to see them emerge victorious in an eight-goal thriller, and they head into Tuesday’s conference final with Seattle full of confidence. However, at -165 there’s little value here.
While, as a relatively new team, LAFC is breaking new ground all the time, Seattle Sounders are counting on their experience to take them deep into this season’s MLS Playoffs. And this is what saw them through a tricky-looking Western Conference Semifinal clash on Wednesday when they beat Real Salt Lake 2-0 at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle has now been in the playoffs every year the club has been in MLS, and have reached the Western Conference Final three times in the last four years.
Second-half goals from Gustav Svensson and Nicolas Lodeiro were enough for the Sounders to see off Real Salt Lake and they too will head into the conference final with confidence. They’ll not be phased by playing away from home and will know that if they can keep it tight defensively early on, they will give themselves a chance. What they can’t afford to do is concede early.
At +700 there are worse bets out there.
Atlanta United FC
Atlanta head to their second consecutive Eastern Conference Final after beating Philadelphia Union 2-0, with goals from Julian Gressel and Josef Martinez. They now face Toronto FC on Wednesday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Coach Frank de Boer’s tactics have been proven to be spot on and those who doubted his ability to get the best out of this team during the season are now starting to believe. With Gressel scoring early and Martinez striking late, it was a professional, composed performance from the Five Stripes that took them a step closer to retaining their MLS crown.
In a season that has been largely built around a solid defense, they again delivered a clean sheet when it mattered most and will head into the conference final against Toronto in great shape. It would be madness to rule out them winning the MLS Cup for a second successive season and home advantage against the Canadians is massive. +330 is tempting but they still have hurdles to overcome.
Toronto has been the surprise team in the playoffs, thrashing DC United 5-1 (after extra-time) in the First Round playoff in Toronto before pulling off arguably the performance of the playoffs when beating New York City FC 2-1 at Citi Field. It stretched their unbeaten run to 12 and they head into the conference final as the form team.
The Reds’ win was sealed in dramatic fashion with a 90th-minute penalty from midfielder Alejandro Pozeulo – his second goal of the game, having earlier given his team a lead in the 47th-minute. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi had levelled things in the 69th minute for the home side. Toronto were grateful to keeper Quentin Westberg who made a string of fine saves in the second half.
The win was all the more impressive as it was achieved without top scorer Jozy Altidore and centre-back Omar Gonzalez, both of whom have a chance of being fit for the conference final.
So, don’t write off the Reds. They have momentum and have proved they can do it on the road. I fancy a big upset.
My pick: Toronto FC to win the MLS Cup (+700)