There is silverware on offer with the Major League Soccer Eastern and Western Conference finals being played this week. Of course, the real prize here is a place in the MLS Cup final, but all four teams who have made it this far will also be motivated by the trophies on offer. Here are picks for for each conference final.
Los Angeles FC v Seattle Sounders
2019 MLS Western Conference final
Banc of California Stadium, Tuesday October 29
Before last Thursday, Los Angeles FC had never beaten the LA Galaxy. The Carson club, their closest and fiercest rivals, had become something of a bogey team for Bob Bradley and his players. The Western Conference semi final between the two teams was billed as a classic and so it proved. LAFC, with a 5-3 win, finally got the win they had been denied five times previously.
LAFC have been the most potent team over the course of the 2019 MLS season, demonstrated by the five goals they smashed past the Galaxy last week. Indeed, they have now scored at least three goals in eight of their last 10 matches and are unbeaten in 16 of their last 17 games at Banc of California Stadium.
The Seattle Sounders, however, come into this match on the back of four consecutive victories including the conference semi final win over Real Salt Lake last week. With the exception of the manic 4-3 win over FC Dallas in the first round of the play-offs, Seattle tend to favour a tighter game, with under 2.5 goals scored in five of their last six games. LAFC won’t allow that, though.
1.5 - Back Los Angeles FC To Score 2+ Goals @ -275
Atlanta United v Toronto FC
2019 MLS Eastern Conference final
Mercedes Benz Stadium, Wednesday October 30
Last year’s kings are still in with a shout of keeping their crown. Atlanta United are perceived to be the only team capable of stopping Los Angeles FC from sweeping all to the 2019 MLS Cup. Of course, Frank de Boer’s side must get past Toronto FC first before they can think about taking on LAFC.
The 2017 MLS Cup winners won’t be easy to topple. Toronto FC are unbeaten in their last 12 matches and come into this Eastern Conference final with real momentum behind them. But Atlanta United have won seven of their last eight games at Mercedes Benz Stadium and have controlled both of their play-off matches so far.
This will be a much tougher test for the Five Stripes than they faced against the New England Revolution and the Philadelphia Union. TFC are winning games through muscle memory and in Alejandro Pozuelo they have a player who is capable of making the difference in the final third. This could be the conference final to keep an eye on.
1u - Back Josef Martinez First Goalscorer @ +250