First Time MLS Cup Winner in 2022?
Major League Soccer’s time to shine is always in the summer. Major League Soccer got lucky by not having to compete against the World Cup, which is now scheduled for November because of the Qatari weather.
MLS is now approaching the playoffs, with the MLS playoff schedule set to finish up right before the World Cup in Qatar gets going.
While sharps expect that a stacked LAFC roster will be taking down the MLS Cup in November, the board of potential winners offers some potential interest to futures bettors. Let’s take a look at some of the odds on the board.
Former Champions Odds
The Black and Gold sit at the top of the MLS table and look like they’ll be hard to stop in the MLS playoffs. Currently, they sit 10 points clear of Austin FC in the Western Conference and have a spot secured in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Led by Mexican international Carlos Vela, LAFC upped the ante this year and brought in Gareth Bale on a transfer, adding to an already burgeoning roster that includes players brought in through trade (Ryan Hollingshead) and developing talent like Cristian Arango, who has 30 goals with the team since joining the team in August 2021.
If it paid more to pick favorites, I would place a bet on LAFC. Thankfully, when it comes to futures, unlikely outcomes pay more.
Repeats are always fun to pick – NYCFC dramatically won their first MLS title last year. They managed to rally after a 94th-minute equalizer from Portland in the MLS Cup to triumph in the penalty shootout.
NYCFC is sitting 4th in the Eastern Conference standings, so they have a tougher road in the playoffs this year. In addition to that, there hasn’t been a repeat MLS Cup winner since the 2011-2012 LA Galaxy.
Potential First-Time Winners
Philadelphia Union (+300)
Jim Curtin’s men are leading the Eastern Conference standings with 64 points as we near the playoffs. Led by Daniel Gazdag and Julian Carranza, the Union is hoping that this year they’ll get a chance at the MLS Cup without any lightning bolts changing their outlook like last year.
Last year, 2 days before the Eastern Conference Final, 11 players, including 6 starters, were forced into COVID protocols, which led to the Union losing to NYCFC 2-1. The Union is eager to get back and make up for the disappointment of last year.
Austin FC (+1200)
In only their second season in MLS, Austin FC has been a refreshing surprise for avid MLS watchers. The first professional sports team in the Austin market, they’ve turned into a delightful surprise led by Argentinian striker Sebastian Driussi. The Verde and Black currently sit 2nd in the Western Conference, 9 points behind conference-leading LAFC.
Austin’s sudden change of form may lead to a regression in future seasons, but this would be the team I would bet on – so I could root for more of the Wolf of Wall Street chants that their supporters do.
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