Last Christmas, New York City FC celebrated in advance. They defeated the Portland Timbers in the MLS Cup Final to win their first title. Nevertheless, checking the latest soccer odds to win the next MLS Cup, NYCFC comes fourth.
Curiously enough, one of the top three teams didn’t even make it to the playoffs last season. I guess that’s for those who believe that MLS is not competitive.
Favorites to Win 2022 MLS Cup
Los Angeles FC
You know I had to start with the team that didn’t even make it to the playoffs last season. Los Angeles FC finished ninth in the Western Conference, three points behind seventh place. Friendly reminder here: Seven teams per conference advance to the postseason, with the No. 1 seed getting a week off.
To be fair, LAFC dealt with a lot of injuries throughout the season, including Carlos Vela. The Mexican, who’s one of the best players in the league, missed more than 10 games. Despite some rumors, Vela is committed to return. That’s one of the reasons for LAFC to be offering a +700 price in the sportsbook.
Signing a new head coach is another one. Bob Bradley is out, Steve Cherundolo is in. Cherundolo brings over 15 years of playing experience in the Bundesliga. He also developed as a coach in Germany due to being involved with the national team youth development program.
“We have a talented group of players. We believe that Steve is the coach who will harness that talent, win important matches, and give our fans a team they are proud to support,” said managing owner Larry Berg to the press.
New England Revolution
Well, the New England Revolution is also offering a +700 price. To be honest, I expect them to be the clear betting online favorites.
Last season, New England finished atop the Eastern Conference with a 19-point advantage over second place. Bruce Arena won Head Coach of the Year, Matt Turner won Goalkeeper of the Year and Carles Gil won MVP.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Revolution signed Sebastian Lletget and Omar Gonzalez during the offseason. We’re talking about two very experienced players with a winning mentality.
All that can translate into no excuses allowed.
Another +700 team. The Seattle Sounders also deserve to be among the favorites after making it to the postseason for 13 straight seasons.
Raul Ruidiaz, Nicolas Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan and Leo Chu are coming back. We’re talking about one of the best attacking units in the league. As if that wasn’t enough, the Sounders signed Albert Rusnak, an attacking midfielder from Slovakia.
That’s not all, because we’re also talking about a very good defensive team. Last season, no other team in the Western Conference allowed less goals than Seattle.
The Sounders played in three of the last five MLS Cup Finals. Among the favorites, I think the Sounders are the way to go.
New York City FC
The reigning champions are offering a +1000 price. The main reason is that Valentin Castellanos may not return. That’s right, the team’s top scorer could be moving to Europe or South America.
Losing Castellanos would be devastating. Last season, he scored 19 goals, sharing the league’s Golden Boot with Ola Kamara from D.C. United. Defender James Sands won’t return after being loaned to Rangers FC.
Their advantage is that most of the group, including the coaching staff, that recently won the title will return. You can’t underestimate process and chemistry, especially when it comes to a long season.
I decided to talk about one dark horse per conference. Regarding the Eastern Conference, I would include Nashville SC at +2500 in my soccer pick. Last season, no other team lost fewer games than Nashville, not even New England.
Also, they finished as the third-best scoring team and the best defensive team. In fact, Walker Zimmerman won Best Defense at the MLS awards. Zimmerman leads the defense, Hany Mukhtar leads the offense and now veteran Sean Davis will lead midfield. He’s their top signing for the upcoming season.
Regarding the Western Conference, I would choose Real Salt Lake at +5000. Yes, they finished seventh last season, but managed to defeat Seattle and Kansas City in the playoffs. I expect a much more confident team led by Damir Kreilach, who scored 16 goals last season.