MLS is Back Tournament Quarterfinals Preview

MLS is Back Tournament Quarterfinals

After plenty of surprises during the Group Stage of the MLS is Back Tournament, the chalk largely held up in the Round of 16. The only big favorite to lose was the Columbus Crew after winning all three of their games before the knockout rounds, and five of the eight teams in the quarterfinals were in the playoffs last year. Sporting Kansas City, Orlando City SC, and the San Jose Earthquakes are the three teams that have been the most surprising, but two of the three are favored to advance to the semifinals this weekend.

MLS is Back Quarterfinals Betting Odds at

July 30, 2020 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN

Philadelphia Union +258

Sporting Kansas City -103

Draw +276

Over/Under 2.5 and 3

Sporting Kansas City was the top team in the Western Conference in 2018, but injuries submarined their 2019 campaign. They looked set to rebound from that dismal year after a 3-1 victory over Vancouver followed by a 4-0 blowout over Houston to start the 2020 season, but the cancellation of the regular season ended those ideas. This team has been sharp on the back end throughout the tournament with two straight clean sheets for Tim Melia after a dodgy red card against Minnesota United in the opener led to the club’s lone loss this year.

The Union have been even better in defense through their four games of the MLS is Back Tournament. Philadelphia has conceded just two goals in that stretch, as Andre Blake has been superb. However, Sporting Kansas City are the most complete team that Philadelphia has faced so far in this competition.

July 31, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1

Orlando City SC +250

Los Angeles FC -112

Draw +317

Over/Under 3 and 3.5

Even without Carlos Vela, Los Angeles FC look to be the most dominant team in the MLS. LAFC have been dizzying on offense with 15 goals through their four games in Orlando. They haven’t missed a beat with Diego Rossi now leading the way, and Rossi now has seven goals and two assists. Brian Rodriguez and Bradley Wright-Phillips have each tallied multiple goals in this tournament too, making this the most dangerous attack in the league.

Orlando City finally qualified for the postseason, and they have certainly benefitted from playing this tournament in their back yard. The Lions had the worst back line in the MLS last year, but they have solidified at that end through four matches, allowing just three goals. However, that won’t hold up against LAFC, who have the potential to net four or five in this game.

August 1, 2020 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2

San Jose Earthquakes +126

Minnesota United FC +195

Draw +256

Over/Under 2.5 and 3

Chris Wondolowski is the MLS’ all-time leading goal scorer, and he would love nothing more than to wrap up the tail end of his career with his first MLS Cup. San Jose’s two MLS Cup wins were both before Wondo arrived in the Bay Area, and this might be the Earthquakes’ best chance yet given the format of this competition.

Minnesota have been impressive even without Ike Opara holding down the back line. The Loons pulled off the biggest upset in the Round of 16 with their victory in penalties over the Crew, but they have been somewhat stifled on offense after pouring in eight goals in two games during the regular season.

August 1, 2020 at 10:30 p.m. ET on FS1

New York City FC +126

Portland Timbers +188

Draw +265

Over/Under 3

This should be the most competitive match of the bunch as both these teams were among the favorites to contend for the MLS Cup this season prior to the re-engineered format. New York City FC were fortunate to get to the knockout stages after finishing in third place during the Group Stage, but Maxi Moralez and Valentin Castellanos seem to be figuring it out now. This team has always played excellent defense, so Portland might have a tough time finding success against NYCFC.

The Timbers continue to be led by the ageless Diego Valeri, and he has combined with Sebastian Blanco to make this team one to watch once again. Portland is 4-1 against NYCFC all-time, but the oddsmakers are down on their chances after a somewhat lackluster performance against FC Cincinnati on Tuesday night.

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