The 2020 MLS season continues this weekend with the round of eight in the MLS Cup tournament. Yeah, there’s still soccer going in the U.S. Sorry not sorry.
We thought this round would include the Supporters Shield winner (regular season champs) Philadelphia Union and the star-studded, postseason veteran Toronto FC. Yeah, both those teams lost on Tuesday in their playoff openers.
MLS Tournament Betting Odds
The Western Conference saw chalk mostly advance. The only higher seed to lose in the first round was the MLS is Back winners the Portland Timbers, eliminated in a shootout by FC Dallas.
We’ll take a look at the remaining quartet of games with the best available prices at the top NJ gambling websites:
(4) Orlando FC vs. (8) New England Revolution – The first game of the semifinals features one of the league’s original franchises and one of the budding star franchises. Orlando served as hosts for the MLS is Back Tournament and played very well, making it to the finals before falling to Portland.
Orlando enters as favorites despite losing the services of starting goalie Pedro Gallese, who was shown a red card during the shootout win over NYCFC for leaving the line early. Brian Rowe will likely get the start on Saturday. He will play his first postseason game since 2016, when he led the LA Galaxy to the semis, only to lose in a shootout to Colorado.
New England has shut out both Montreal in the play-in round and Philadelphia in the conference quarters. Their defense will face another stern test with the stacked and confident Lions offense. Former USMNT boss Bob Bradley has his team playing well at the right time.
The Revs are dangerous on the counter and set pieces. Their depth could be the deciding factor. However, this is their third game in nine days, which coupled with the travel and weather (it’ll be in the 80s in Orlando for game time) could challenge their momentum.
- Best price for Orlando to win: +132 (DraftKings)
- Best price for New England to win: +220 (BetMGM)
- Best price for tie (after 120 mins – game decided by shootout): +250 (PointsBet)
(3) Columbus Crew SC vs. (7) Nashville FC
2020 started Nashville in the West before the shutdown and restart tourney moved them to the Eastern Conference. They’ll look to avenge a 2-0 loss in September in Ohio.
Nashville has seen their offense carry them through two wins so far in the playoffs. Early goals buried Inter Miami in the play-in round, while three goals were waived off for offsides against Toronto.
The Crew’s defense could be the immovable object to Nashville’s irresistible force. They’ve conceded only 21 goals over 23 games, second-best in the league. At home, they’ve earned a 9-1-0 record.
The only concern I might have with the Crew is if any of the COVID-19 concerns with the other “football” team in town (ya know, the Buckeyes) would cross town to the soccer pitch. If the team is healthy, they control the road to the MLS Cup in the East and will be tough to beat.
- Best price on Columbus Crew SC: +138 (DK)
- Best price on Nashville FC: +210 (BetMGM)
- Best price for tie (after 120 mins – game decided by shootout): +240 (BetMGM)
(2) Seattle Sounders vs. (6) FC Dallas
Seattle hosts the first Western Conference semifinal after winning the last quarterfinal. They’ll give Dallas two extra days of rest but might be happy they avoid their Cascadia derby rivals in Portland.
Seattle has a potent offense and showed their muscle in a 3-1 win over LAFC Tuesday. Combined with some strong defense, the Sounders’ +21 goal differential was the best in the Western Conference.
Dallas advanced in a PK win over Portland on Sunday in which the team converted all eight spot kicks after extending the game with a stoppage-time goal by Pepi. Both goalies saved a PK last week, as Jimmy Maurer ended the game with the stop on Portland’s Jorge Villafana, while Seattle’s Stefan Frei kept the Sounders ahead 1-0 when he denied Carlos Vela in the 30th minute.M
Seattle’s CenturyLink Field is one of the most harrowing atmospheres for opposing teams. Dallas enters with a 1-5-3 record on the road this season, while the Sounders went 7-1-2 at home.
- Best price on Seattle Sounders: -154 (BetMGM)
- Best price on Dallas FC: +400 (everyone)
- Best price for tie (after 120 mins – game decided by shootout): +310 (BetMGM)
(1) Sporting Kansas City vs. (4) Minnesota United FC
Sporting KC proved the class of the Western Conference in the regular season with 12 wins in 21 games. Their points-per-game broke the deadlock with Seattle (who also earned 39 points in one more game).
The quarterfinal win over eighth-seeded San Jose proved a test of mettle. KC came back from a halftime deficit and seemed ahead on an early goal in extra time. Chris Wondolowski, MLS’ most prolific scorer, forced the shootout, in which Tim Melia stopped all three spot kicks to help his team advance.
Minnesota is one of the most intriguing sides in MLS. They play strong team ball and bring a strong work rate to games. Their quarterfinal win over Colorado, who upset teams down the stretch, was a 3-0 master class in North American soccer.
This game will be a major bellwether for Sporting KC and their playoff dreams. Since they missed the playoffs last year, they’re facing more experienced squads and their home field advantage will be tested. Their shootout win was a good proving ground so can they build on that momentum?
- Best price on Sporting KC: -155 (PointsBet)
- Best price on Minnesota United: +425 (BetMGM)
- Best price for tie (after 120 mins – game decided by shootout): +320 (BetMGM)