The defending MLS Cup champions are out to become the first team to win back-to-back league titles since the Los Angeles Galaxy won consecutive championships in 2011 and 2012. Atlanta United FC have yet to allow a goal this postseason, and they are odds-on favorites to win the Eastern Conference over Toronto FC. The Reds are the lone underdog left in this competition as the chalk has largely held up.
Don't miss the MLS Eastern Conference Finals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. Catch every moment of the match live on FS1.
MLS Eastern Conference Finals Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
Atlanta United FC -126
Toronto FC +299
Over/Under 3 and 3.5
Interestingly enough, three of the four teams left in the MLS Cup Playoffs have won the last three league titles and the other team is the best team in MLS history. The Seattle Sounders won the 2016 MLS Cup over Toronto FC, and Toronto FC returned the favor by beating Seattle for the title in 2017. Atlanta United FC defeated the Portland Timbers to win the title last season, and Los Angeles FC set numerous single-season records on their way to the Supporters’ Shield this year.
Atlanta United were the second-best team in the Eastern Conference for the second straight season. The Five Stripes came on strong after some early butting of heads with new manager Frank de Boer, and they have been much better on the back end as a result. They defeated the New England Revolution 1-0 in the first round of the playoffs, and Atlanta cruised to a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union last week.
The Reds ended the regular season with results in 10 straight matches to make the postseason and host a first-round game. Toronto FC were set to knock off DC United 1-0, but they allowed a Lucas Rodriguez extra time goal to force another 30 minutes of play. The hosts hammered DC United in the overtime frame by scoring four goals in a 5-1 a.e.t. win.
Toronto’s win over No. 1 seed New York City FC wasn’t unexpected, but it was rather fortunate. Both of Toronto’s goals were the result of horrendous plays from NYCFC’s back line, as Alejandro Pozuelo pounced on an awful header to open the scoring just after halftime and he scored on a penalty kick in the 90th minute following a terrible foul in the box to give the Reds a 2-1 win.
There are concerns in Atlanta’s back line ahead of this match. Veteran Brek Shea has been out since mid-July with a major knee injury and fellow defender Miles Robinson will miss this match due to a hamstring issue. Captain Michael Parkhurst is hoping to return to solidify the back line, but he is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury and is in a rush to be available.
The visitors are hoping that forward Jozy Altidore can return from a strained quad. Altidore gives their offense an additional scoring punch that will be needed against Atlanta United, but he has yet to play this postseason. Defender Omar Gonzalez is questionable because of a hamstring injury.
Player to Watch
Josef Martinez has been the best player in the Eastern Conference the last two seasons. The 2018 MLS MVP, MLS Cup MVP, and MLS All-Star Game MVP finished this campaign with 27 goals, potting 12 more than the next highest scorer in the conference. He scored in a record 12 consecutive matches earlier this season, and he’s impossible to stop.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
Due to the absences in the back line, Atlanta won’t hold Toronto scoreless. The Reds have a clever forward in Pozuelo, and they will find a goal against the Five Stripes. However, it won’t be enough as Atlanta returns to the MLS Cup Final.
Major League Soccer Odds: Atlanta United FC 2, Toronto FC 1
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