The fast growing North American soccer league MLS is entering its 25th season. There are record setting 26 teams taking part this season, with Inter Miami and Nashville joining ranks and making it 13 teams per conference.
The same rules still apply, with the first placed team in each conference heading straight to the conference semi-finals after the regular season, while six next placed teams will go head-to-head in conference quarter-final stage.
The winner of it all gets to hoist the MLS Cup, while the regular season winner will be handed the Supporters Shield.
Last season saw Los Angeles FC dominate the regular season, but fail to make an impact in the playoffs. Eventual MLS Cup winners Seattle Sounders gave a master-class on how to survive tough spots by narrowly beating Dallas n the first round overtime and then skipping past Real Salt Lake and LAFC to reach the final. In the final, Seattle was under heavy pressure by Toronto, but took a hard-earned 3-1 victory to capture the title. Seattle is again among the favorites to win the MLS Cup.
Los Angeles FC put up such a performance last season that it will be hard to match. They scored a massive 85 goals in 34 games – 22 more than the second most New York City. Naturally they also conceded the least, only 37 goals, which is quite a feat in a high-scoring league such as MLS. Last season there was on average 3.04 goals scored in MLS game. Los Angeles FC heads into the new season as clear favorites, but now their aim must be in the playoffs rather than dominating the regular season. The Cup is what matters.
In the Eastern Conference, the obvious favorites are the last season’s success stories, New York City, Atlanta United and Toronto. One of the three Canadian outfits in the league, the others being Vancouver and Montreal, Toronto is by far the most successful and they took the title in 2017 in addition to playing in the finals last season.
Atlanta and New York are relative newcomers to the stage, NYFC joined 2015 and Atlanta in 2017, but have already made an impact. Atlanta took a surprise title in 2018 and while NYFC hasn’t yet performed in the playoffs, they’ve constantly been on top of the table in the regular season.
Perhaps this is the season the MLS Cup heads to the city that never sleeps?
Dafabet offers odds for all the MLS matches throughout the season and all the way to MLS Cup Final!