MLS betting preview

MLS 04/12-05/12/21: Eastern and Western Conference Finals Line-up Complete

The MLS usually comes alive in the play-offs, and there has been plenty of drama. The Eastern and Western Conference Finals line-ups are now complete. In this preview, we will look ahead to Philadelphia Union v New York City FC, and Portland Timbers v Real Salt Lake. We will also take a cursory glance at the latest match odds.

Philadelphia Union getting the best out of their youth talent

Philadelphia Union are in good shape as they prepare for their Eastern Conference Final tie against New York City FC on Sunday. A penalty shoot-out victory over Nashville last weekend embodied the spirit of a side that have been able to adeptly blend youth, and more experienced talent together. The likes of Jack McGlynn, Quinn Sullivan, and Paxten Aaronson have been called upon.

And the trio have duly delivered. There has been a lot of investment in the Union’s youth academy, and it is starting to pay dividends. The only thing that the Union are crying out for at the moment is a world-class striker, but they haven’t done so badly this season.

Philadelphia Union have found their identity under Jim Curtin

The Union will be contesting their first Eastern Conference Final this weekend, and it has been a meteoric rise under the tutelage of Jim Curtin. However, successful teams are built on a solid defence. Against Nashville, Andre Blake was Union’s hero as he pulled off two spectacular saves in the shoot-out.

New York City FC put out final top seed New England

New York City FC stands just 90 minutes away from a spot in the MLS Cup Final. And New York City were able to outlast their opponents, partly because they kept Gustavo Bou, Adam Buksa, and MLS’s most valued player contender Carles Gil quiet. The Revs have suffered plenty of heartbreak over the years, but New York held their nerve when it mattered most.

New York City FC head into Eastern Conference Final without Taty Castellanos

The Citizens will be bereft of Taty Castellanos for their Eastern Conference final. The MLS Golden Boot winner scored a crucial equalizer in extra-time before he was sent off, and he is now suspended for the Union clash. This is where New York City FC will have to show real character if they are to book their place in the MLS Cup Final.

Portland Timbers on the verge of another MLS Cup Final berth

Portland Timbers will be aiming to secure an MLS Cup Final berth for the third time in their history. They are also looking to clinch a second MLS Cup, and they will have a home advantage against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. However, they will be without Dairon Asprilla for their crunch playoff game.

The forward was shown a red card in the victory over the Colorado Rapids, and he was also fined for refusing to leave the field in a “timely and orderly manner”. The Timbers appealed against the sending off, but the original decision was upheld by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.

Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake have been revelling in the play-offs. Their route to the Western Conference Final saw them oust Seattle Sounders in Round One before toppling Sporting third-seeded Sporting Kansas City in the Conference Semi-Finals. However, Salt Lake’s record on the road is rather disconcerting – 6-10-3.

David Ochoa is happy for Real Salt Lake to silence their critics

Salt Lake may not have been the favourites in the play-offs, but there have been a couple of heroes that have helped them get to the Western Conference Final. And one of those is David Ochoa. The goalkeeper may have come under fire at times for his time-wasting antics, but he doesn’t mind one bit if his team aren’t getting the plaudits they deserve.

He said: “We’re just shutting a couple of mouths up as we go, and we’re loving it man.” This was the case against the Sounders when Salt Lake failed to manage a single shot during regular time before prevailing on penalties. And it wouldn’t be a surprise if Salt Lake caused another upset against the Timbers.

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