Who Will Be Crowned As Conference Champions at the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs?
Only one match stands between the four top US soccer teams and a place at the finale of the 2018 Major League Soccer season on December 8.
The two best squads from the Eastern and the Western Conferences have already battled it out on the first leg. Now, they need to finish the job and to cement their positions to the final stage.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 28, 2018
Here are the odds offered by different online sportsbooks for the second leg of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs Conference Championship:
New York Red Bulls vs. Atlanta United
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) November 29, 2018
— Florian Valot (@florian_valot) November 28, 2018
Atlanta United is one step away from reaching its first Finals appearance in only its second year in the league. Not only did they beat the New York Red Bulls for the first time in history, but they also did it in stunning fashion—a 3-0 victory at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Georgia.
Tata Martino, Atlanta head coach, said in Spanish:
“For us, we have to look at the game like it’s 0-0, like we haven’t won anything, and then, for us, it’s important not to cede control of the game to the Red Bulls, because that’s when they’d be able to do the most damage.”
It would be hard for the Metros to come back, even at their own Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. After all, no team in the history of two-legged MLS Playoff matches has overcome a three-goal deficit. But the Red Bulls will not go down fighting.
Chris Armas, Red Bulls head coach, stated:
“Look, it is going to be difficult. It always was going to be. We will score the first goal, and the rest will follow. We will come out a little bit differently with the energy and the fight that is going to be needed. It is pretty clear what is needed to be done. We are going to go home, and we are going to get it done.”
Even though they are not expected to qualify further, the New York Red Bulls are still the favorites to win in the second match. Online sportsbook Sky Bet has the NYRB at 5/6, Atlanta United at 14/5, and a draw at 11/4.
Sporting Kansas City vs Portland Timbers
— Sporting KC (@SportingKC) November 28, 2018
— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) November 28, 2018
On the other hand, both Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers could realistically represent the Western Conference at the final match after a 0-0 draw at the Providence Park in Oregon.
Sporting managed to keep a clean sheet against the rampant Timbers—their third shutout of the Portland franchise this season. They are hoping they could get the fourth one later.
Peter Vermes, Sporting head coach, said:
“They were very disciplined here. I think they have been throughout the season. I think we’re a pretty good defensive team and we’ve been consistently that for a long time. And at the same time I think it also takes guts to be concentrated and a lot of hard work, and I think we did that tonight.”
One could flip the coin and say that the Timbers failed to score against the Wizards once again, despite knocking down a couple of goals in their previous playoff matches. But there will always be a first time and, like the Red Bulls, they believe that tomorrow is the perfect game to break their duck.
Giovanni Savarese, Timbers coach, stated:
“I don’t see it as what kind of pressure. We have to go there and try to get a win. We have to go there with the mentality that it’s one game, like it is in the regular season, and we have to go there to try and get a win.”
Odds on online bookie bet365 favor Sporting Kansas City over the Portland Timbers. A Sporting win is priced at 8/15, a Timbers victory at 9/2, and a draw at 10/3.