With the 2020 MLS regular season rolling right along and teams in both conferences looking to improve their hopes of reaching the MLS Cup when it gets underway on Dec. 12, it’s time to take a look at the most intriguing matchups on this week’s slate of action so you can keep placing your bets against their MLS odds.
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Eight teams from the 12-team Western Conference will qualify directly into Round 1 while the top six seeds from the 14-team Eastern Conference will qualify. Eastern Conference clubs seeded between 7-10 will each compete in a play-in match with the highest seed facing the lowest. Now, that you have an idea of how many teams will reach the playoffs, let’s find out who’s on the pitch this coming week.
Seattle Sounders (9-4-4) Vs Portland Timbers (9-4-5)
- When: Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 10:30 PM ET
- Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle
The reigning MLS champion Seattle Sounders are sitting atop the Western Conference standings while 2015 league champion Portland is in second place. Seattle has scored 35 goals this season while allowing a league-low 17 goals defensively (+18). Portland has put 30 goals in the back of the net this season, but the Timbers have allowed a whopping 30 goals defensively (+8). Seattle comes into this affair off a scoreless draw against San Jose on Sunday, one week after losing to LAFC 3-1. Portland played the same LAFC team to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, four days after falling to Real Salt Lake 2-1.
While Portland has won two straight in this rivalry including a 2-1 road win on Sept. 6 and a 1-0 home win on Sept. 23, I like Seattle to get their act together in this huge clash to remain in first place out west. The Sounders get it done by a lone goal.
Pick: Seattle 2 Portland 1
Nashville SC (5-6-6) Vs New England Revolution (7-7-5)
- When: Friday, October 23, 2020 at 8:30 PM ET
- Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville
- TV: ESPN+
Nashville is sitting in ninth place in the eastern conference standings while New England is in fourth place. Nashville has scored 15 goals this season while allowing 17 goals defensively (-2). The Revolution have put 21 goals in the back of the net while allowing 18 goals defensively (+3).
Nashville took out awful Houston 3-1 on Wednesday as they get set to take on FC Dallas on Tuesday night, but have played to a pair of scoreless draws over their last four games. New England has won three straight including a hard-fought 2-1 win on Monday over a Philadelphia team that is in second place in the eastern conference.
While these two conference counterparts played to a scoreless draw in their only meeting back on Oct. 3, New England is the better team at both ends of the pitch and has a bunch of confidence-boosting momentum going right now. The Revolution don’t have the most explosive offense around, but New England still has the edge in scoring and the Revolution will find a way to get it done in this one while looking to close the gap on third place Columbus and fourth place Orlando City.
Pick: New England 1 Nashville 0
Philadelphia Union (11-5-3) Vs Toronto FC (12-5-2)
- When: Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 7:30 PM ET
- Where: Subaru Park, Philadelphia
- TV: ESPN+
The two winningest teams in the MLS so far will throw down in a huge clash on Saturday. Philadelphia is in second place in the eastern conference, having scored 34 goals while conceding 17 goals defensively. Toronto owns the best record in the MLS as they sit atop the eastern conference with 30 goals scored and 17 allowed defensively.
The Union have gone a nearly unblemished 3-1-0 over their last four games and come into this clash off a narrow 2-1 win over New England on Monday. Toronto hasn’t lost since September 5 and comes into this matchup fresh off a narrow 1-0 win over Atlanta on Sunday.
Toronto recorded a thrilling 2-1 win over Philadelphia on October 3 and has won four of the last five meetings overall. Still, with Philly playing at home and looking to send a message should these two meet in the postseason, I like the Union to take care of business at home in this intriguing showdown. Philadelphia has the slightly better offense and the Union should be hungrier than ever!
Pick: Philadelphia 2 Toronto 1
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