Race For MLS Playoffs Gathers Momentum

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The race for MLS glory looks like it could go down to the wire and there's a big weekend of matches on the horizon in the USA.

Raul Ruidiaz

There is still more than half of the MLS regular season to go, but the race for playoff places is beginning to hot up.

Plenty of time remains for pretenders to the crown held by Columbus Crew, and the fact there is space for seven teams in the post-season from both the Eastern and Western Conference means it is one of the most competitive leagues in the world.

Seattle Sounders lead the outright market at 9/2 while Los Angeles are 13/2, and New York City are available at 7/1.

However, there are 11 teams available at 18/1 or shorter, so there are plenty of teams left with their eye on the prize.

Sounders setting the pace in the West

Seattle look to have the bit between their teeth after falling 3-0 to Columbus in last year’s MLS Cup final, and their loss against Minnesota last week was their first of the campaign in their 15th match.

The strength of their defence has had a significant role to play in that as they have been breached on just nine occasions, but coach Brian Schmetzer has an excellent striker in Peruvian Raul Ruidiaz, who has scored ten goals so far this term.

The Sounders are course-and-distance performers, having won the MLS Cup in 2019, and they are beginning to look the team to beat. They also have an excellent chance to solidify their position with three home games following Friday’s trip to Austin.

One of those will be against second-placed Sporting Kansas City on Monday.

SKC are 12/1 for outright glory, but they are in danger of losing ground after losing three of their last five away games.

Los Angeles are the Sounders’ nearest rivals in the market, and they have suffered just one defeat on their own patch when they were stung by a late goal from New York’s Ismael Tajouri.

Expect LAFC to make a strong push in the remainder of the campaign under the guidance of experienced coach Bob Bradley.

Revolution holding off the chasing pack

New England, who can be backed at 8/1 to go all the way, hold a seven-point lead in the Eastern Conference, but all of their rivals have games in hand, and it looks likely that they will be pushed all the way.

Just don’t expect Phil Neville’s Inter Miami to be one of those teams after the Revolution thumped them 5-0 this week, with Adam Buksa and Arnor Traustason both scoring twice.

Inter have lost six straight matches and have scored just nine goals in 12 games, despite having the services of veteran Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain.

Philadelphia Union are their nearest challengers on 23 points alongside Nashville, who have lost just once but drawn eight of their 14 games.

Union are 16/1 to win the cup, while the boys from Tennessee are 40/1.

Big weekend of matches

It would be a huge boost for Seattle to win at Austin, especially with those home games on the horizon, and they are 53/20 to win in Texas, where their opponents have won just one of their last ten.

Of the big Eastern Conference teams, New England are 20/59 to win at home to Montreal, who can be backed at 7/1 on Sunday, while Philadelphia are 17/10 to heap more misery on Miami.

Nashville are 27/10 to post another draw against Cincinnati, but 8/15 to grab their sixth victory of the campaign.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

A vastly experienced journalist, Ian has worked the beat on a number of local newspapers and covers a number of different sports for the Racing Post

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