Major League Soccer (MLS) is the sport’s highest level professional league for the United States and Canada, and is one of the most exciting soccer leagues in the world. Comprised of 20 teams – 17 from the U.S. and three from Canada – the MLS runs from March through October, during which time each team plays 34 regular season games. At the end of the regular season, the team with the best record is awarded the Supporters’ Shield. The top 12 teams compete in the playoffs during November and December. [-]
This culminates in the final championship game, the MLS Cup.
Although the popularity of MLS is at an all-time high, the league initially struggled when it launched in 1996, and saw teams play in mostly empty American football stadiums, some of which couldn’t survive the austerity.
Since then, the MLS has expanded to 20 teams, most have soccer-specific stadiums and the average attendance of games now exceeds the NHL and NBA.
Only six teams have been part of the MLS since its creation: LA Galaxy, D.C. United, Sporting Kansas City, Columbus Crew SC, Colorado Rapids, and New York Red Bulls.
The most successful MLS team is LA Galaxy thanks to their five MLS Cups and four Supporters’ Shields, although D.C. United have four of each title, mostly from their early days.
To date, only the New York Red Bulls and the Seattle Sounders are yet to win an MLS Cup, the former despite spending 20 seasons in the MLS. The Red Bulls, however, do have two Supporters’ Shields.
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Have a look below to find out the current MLS betting lines. By doing so, you’ll be able to plan your bets according to the most favorable game odds.
Familiarize yourself with the MLS standings so you can pick and choose the best betting opportunities as far in advance as possible.
Take a look into the wide variety of statistics available, such as past results, total shots and the amount of possession each team usually enjoys, plus dozens of other factors such as distance traveled to the match, injuries to key players, and if any players are away on international duty.
Some teams also traditionally struggle against a specific team, sometimes due to a conflicting style of play, sometimes just because. Check past results between teams and see if there is a pattern to the results.
In addition, there’s a vast difference between conferences in the MLS. The Eastern Conference is known for high-scoring games. Their defensive frailities are overtly obvious. It’s an exciting brand of soccer for spectators but it rarely translates to winning trophies. Only one Eastern Conference team – Sporting KC, who is now back in the Western Conference – have won the MLS Cup since 2009.
Contrastingly, Eastern Conference teams for the most part concentrate on playing sound defensively. As a conference, they are head and shoulders better than the East at defending, which is essential when the playoffs come around. As the old adage goes, defense wins championships.
An Eastern Conference team is due to win the MLS Cup purely due to how long it’s been since they last won. But they’ll need to sort out their defensive woes to seriously contend. Toronto, the Red Bulls and D.C. United had the best defensive records in the conference during the 2016 season, so keep an eye on their development as the season progresses.
New York City FC is brilliant going forward but aren’t currently stingy enough defensively to win the MLS Cup in the near future.
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