- San Jose and RSL are an even 11-11-11 in all-time games played between the teams
- LAFC owns a 3-1-1 edge over Seattle Sounders in their five meetings
- Odds, analysis and predictions for both of Monday’s MLS Is Back round-of-16 games
The quest for MLS Is Back tournament supremacy intensifies now that the knockout phases have begun and the best of the MLS clubs vie for a breakthrough success in this season unlike any other.
Monday’s games present very different matchups. The first, between the San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake is something of a surprise, as nobody was expecting much from either team. Monday’s later game, between the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles FC, is more of heavyweight contest, between two teams that know all about contending for trophies.
MLS Is Back Round Of 16 Odds For July 27
|San Jose Earthquakes||+100|
|Real Salt Lake||+250|
|Los Angeles FC||-103|
Odds taken July 26. For more betting options visit DraftKings
San Jose Meets Salt Lake In Surprising Contest
The fact that both these teams even made it to the knockout stage can be considered something of an upset, and one of them will now make the last eight.
Best @MLS is Back Tournament Group Stage records among Western Conference teams:
1. San Jose Earthquakes (2-0-1; +3 GD)
2. Portland Timbers (2-0-1; +2 GD)
3. Sporting KC (2-1-0; +2 GD)
4. LAFC (1-0-2; +4 GD)
5. Minnesota United FC (1-0-2; +1 GD) pic.twitter.com/nxbx3LGLnI
— Jake Pisani (@JPisani28) July 24, 2020
San Jose topped Group B with seven points, capped most memorably by their thrilling 4-3 comeback victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps. While Major League Soccer’s all-time leading scorer, Chris Wondolowski, showed that their is still life in his 37-year-old legs with a pair of goals coming off the bench so far, one of the defining traits of the Earthquakes is that there is no single, dominant star on the team. For the record, Wondolowski now has 161 MLS goals.
Everyone plays for each other in head coach Matias Almeyda’s system, and as a result, San Jose is off to its joint best start to a season – with the group stage games counting towards the eventual resumption of the season – since 2012 (it also went 2-1-2 in 2016).
RSL For Real?
On the other side of Monday’s pitch, Real Salt Lake will be hoping to continue the dominant defensive play that saw it get out of the round-robin phase as one of the best third-place finishers. Salt Lake conceded just two goals in its three Group D games, which led it to a win, a loss and a draw.
Conversely, the team has only scored two goals in the tournament so far, tied for the lowest total of any team that qualified for the knockout round with New York City FC. Albert Rusnak, who scored RSL’s opening goal of the tournament in their 2-0 win over Colorado in their first game, missed RSL’s last contest with a hip, so the team will be hoping he is fit to play against San Jose.
Head-to-head, San Jose and RSL are a perfect 11-11-11 all-time in the MLS regular season and have never met in the playoffs, although RSL has won both meetings the team has had in the U.S. Open Cup – with both of those happening at least 10 years ago.
In 2019, the sides split their two meetings, with each grabbing a 1-0 win at home.
This time around, extra time, and possibly penalties, are looming.
Pick: Draw (+265); U 2.5, 3 (-111)
Sounders And LAFC Square Off Again
The heavyweight contest of the MLS Is Back tournament so far has arrived, with the reigning MLS Cup champions going up against last year’s winner of the MLS Supporters’ Shield.
These two teams need no introduction, having met in the 2019 Western Conference final, with Seattle triumphing 3-1 on its way to the MLS crown. But in the regular season, it is LAFC that reigns supreme, with a 3-0-1 record in their four meetings with their rival from the north.
MLS Is Back Form
At the MLS Is Back tournament, both clubs finished second in their respective groups. Seattle posted a 1-1-1 finish after games with San Jose, Vancouver and Chicago, while LAFC took a win and two draws to slide into the runner-up spot in Group F behind the Portland Timbers.
Seattle Sounders 2 vs Vancouver Whitecaps 0
USA MLS pic.twitter.com/QVb4Cb85HF
— Goles en vivo (@Goles_Live_) July 20, 2020
However, their 11 goals in three games – even without 2019 top scorer Carlos Vela – makes them easily the top-scoring team in the tournament so far, aided of course by their 6-2 thrashing of the cross-town rival Galaxy. Conversely, the team has also conceded an astonishing seven goals through three games, tying it with the Whitecaps for worst-defensive record of any team getting out of the round robin.
Showtime Football. 🍿
— LAFC (@LAFC) July 19, 2020
Seattle, on the other hand, has scored four and conceded just two. And as the Sounders have shown in the past, they are more clinical than most in front of the net, more often than not taking the chances that present themselves.
Pick: Sounders (+230); O 3, 3.5 (-118)
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