The Major League Soccer or MLS is the premier professional soccer league in the United States. Sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation, MLS held its first season in 1996 with only 10 teams. Fast forward to 2019 and there are now 24 teams in the MLS including three from Canada.
The teams are equally divided into two conferences, the East and West. Each team plays 34 games during the regular season. At the end of the regular season, seven teams from each conference advance to the MLS Cup Playoffs. The playoffs culminate in the MLS Cup which represents the league championship game.
The Eastern Conference is one of the two Conferences in the MLS. The D.C. United FC and New England Revolution are the winningest teams in the East with five conference titles won each. The Atlanta United FC are the current Eastern Conference Champions. Atlanta defeated the New York Red Bulls via an aggregate score of 3-1 to advance to the 2018 MLS Cup which they also won.
This is how the current Eastern Conference standings look like as of September 27, 2019:
|New York City FC||61 Points|
|Atlanta United FC||54|
|New York Red Bulls||47|
|New England Revolution||42|
|Orlando City SC||36|
Here are the soccer betting favorites to win the 2019 MLS Eastern Conference title. These odds were taken from 888Sport as of 9/27/19:
|New York City FC||1.75|
|Atlanta United FC||4.5|
|New York Red Bulls||7.5|
|New England Revolution||12|
Who Are The Favorites?
The New York City FC is the 20th expansion team in the MLS. They are currently on top of the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 17 wins, 5 losses and 10 ties. What makes this team a solid soccer betting favorite is their ability to take care of business at home and hold their own on the road. New York has lost just once at home this season and have lost just four times on the road. They have also scored most goals and conceded the second-fewest goals in the conference.
Atlanta United FC is the 22nd expansion team in the MLS. They reached the playoffs in their maiden season and then went all the way to win the 2018 MLS Cup during their second season in the league. Atlanta is currently 3rd in the standings and have the same number of wins with New York City FC at 17. They have allowed the third fewest goals in the East this season at 41 and their Goal Difference of +13 is also second behind NYC FC.
D.C. United is one of the 10 charter clubs of the MLS. They enjoyed plenty of success in the league’s early years, winning all its four MLS Cup from 1996-2004. Their four Supporters Shield is a league record and this team has also won three U.S. Open Cups. D.C. is 4th in the East with 13 wins, 10 losses and 9 ties. DC United’s 38 goals conceded are the fewest in the Eastern Conference.
The Philadelphia Union were four times runners up in four U.S. Open Cups, including the last one in 2018 where the lost 0-3 to the Houston Dynamo. The Union are currently in second place in the East with 16 wins, 9 losses and 7 ties. They rank second in the conference in Goals Scored with a total of 57 on the season. At +11, their Goal Difference ranks behind NYC FC and Atlanta.
The New York Red Bulls reached the MLS Cup final once in 2008 where they lost to the Columbus Crew. They have also reached the final of the U.S. Open Cup but lost in both instances. The Red Bulls have won the Supporters’ Shield three times including last season. They are currently in 5th place with 14 wins, 13 losses and five ties.
New York City FC has overtook the Philadelphia Union for the lead in the East. NYC is now six points clear of Philadelphia. The defending champions Atlanta United FC have surged to third place after a slow start while DC United is a far fourth place right now. I think the Eastern Conference is a three way race between NYC FC, Atlanta and DC United.
With Wayne Rooney set to end his career at the end of the season, expect DC United to try and give one big playoff run for their captain. Atlanta has moved up in the leaderboard but they have one of the worst road records in the East. Meanwhile, the New York City FC are almost unbeatable at home and that should be key in the playoffs.
Since their arrival in MLS, the New York City FC have outplayed their more established rivals in the Eastern Conference and this year is no different. I think if they can maintain their level of play and stay consistent in the playoffs, the East is theirs for the taking. After all, they are the best all-around team in the conference this season.Prediction: New York City FC