MLS 2020: Who To Watch, Who To Back

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This is Major League Soccer’s 25th season and the league has expanded to 26 teams with the additions of Nashville and Miami. Future cities include Austin and Charlotte (2021) and St. Louis and Sacramento (2022).

Recent expansion teams – Atlanta United, LAFC – have been successful both on and off the field, so there will be high hopes for Nashville SC and Inter Miami, led by the iconic David Beckham.

Here are 9 teams to keep an eye on:

Inter Miami

13 years after David Beckham was given an MLS franchise at a cut-price rate, the dream has become a reality. Inter Miami arrives with a very South Beach pink & black colour scheme. Reaching the playoffs this year is a big ask.

Odds of winning title: $34.00

LAFC

A model franchise that set records last season but fell short of the MLS Cup final after losing to Seattle. Carlos Vela is their star – he scored an unbelievable 34 goals in 34 games last season – and co-owner Will Ferrell is their best-known supporter.

Odds of winning title: $4.33

Los Angeles Galaxy

LA’s original MLS team lost the great entertainer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but gained Javier ‘Chichirito’ Hernandez, as beloved a player as you’ll find among Mexican-American fans.

Odds of winning title: $17.00

Atlanta United

One of American soccer’s great success stories, averaging 52,500 fans per game. They lost in the Eastern Conference final last year after winning the MLS Cup in 2018. Plenty of new faces for head coach Frank de Boer to work with.

Odds of winning title: $8.00

Portland Timbers

Expect more sellouts, more craft beer and more artisan food at Providence Park, but what’s really needed is more goals. And head coach Giovanni Savarese hopes it will come from veteran Diego Chara, his brother Yimmi and fellow new signing Jaroslaw Niezgoda who led the Polish top flight in scoring last season.

Odds of winning title: $18.00

New York City FC

Former Celtic boss Ronny Delia takes charge of the City Group’s North American franchise. The roster is strong, with onetime US wunderkind Gedion Zelalem joining a team that led MLS in scoring last season.

Odds of winning title: $9.00

Philadelphia Union

Surprised everyone last year with a conference semifinal appearance. The very-difficult-to-spell (and pronounce) Kacper Przbylko was a revelation, scoring 15 goals in 25 starts.

Odds of winning title: $14.00

Toronto FC

Another one of the MLS success stories, Toronto FC fell just short in 2019, losing to Seattle in the MLS Cup. Stalwart Michael Bradley starts the season on the injury list, but his US national team buddy Jozy Altidore is ready to go.

Odds of winning title: $8.00

Seattle Sounders

The defending champions are as crafty as they come, rebuilding their lineup from season to season. It’s no different this year, with 10 players from the title team leaving including MLS Cup MVP Victor Rodriguez. Much will depend on designated player Joao Paulo, a 28-year old Brazilian, but no matter the case, you wouldn’t bet against a Sounders team.

Odds of winning title: $11.00

 

MLS Markets

All MLS odds here

 

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