MLS Western Conference Semifinals Preview

By  Jonathan Willis

Monday, October 21st, 2019

MLS Western Conference Semifinals Preview

This week’s Western Conference Semifinals are both set to be bangers. The Seattle Sounders were the last Western Conference team to win the MLS Cup, knocking off Toronto FC in penalties to claim the 2016 MLS Cup. They are out to return to the MLS Cup Finals, but they must first get past Real Salt Lake this week. These teams are set to square off in Seattle on Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET on FS1, and the Sounders are odds-on favorites per the MLS betting odds.

The best game of the week will be the finale though. El Trafico has been the best rivalry in the MLS since its inception, and the Los Angeles Galaxy are out to play spoiler against Los Angeles FC. That game will kick off on Thursday, October 24, at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

MLS Western Conference Semifinals Betting Odds at

Seattle Sounders -135
Real Salt Lake +340
Draw +286
Over/Under 3

Seattle does not have a great record at this stage. The Sounders have been incredibly successful during their 11 seasons in the MLS, finishing no worse than fourth in the Western Conference in any season, but they have only advanced further than the conference semifinals four times in 10 previous appearances in this round. That bodes well if you’re looking to take Real Salt Lake since they are +340 per the MLS three-way betting odds.

It’s been six years since Real Salt Lake have advanced to the conference finals. They made it to the MLS Cup Final in 2013, but they have not been able to get further than the conference semifinals since that point. However, the visitors are liking their chances this time around as they beat Seattle 3-0 in Utah in mid-August. The Sounders did knock off RSL 1-0 at home in early April though.

The hosts survived a scare from FC Dallas on Saturday, being taken to extra time at CenturyLink Field. Jordan Morris proved to be too much for Dallas though, notching a hat trick in a 4-3 win to move on to the conference semifinals for the 11th straight season.

Meanwhile, RSL knocked off Seattle’s biggest rival in the first round. Real Salt Lake defeated the Portland Timbers 2-1 thanks to a late goal from Jefferson Savarino, but they will be without midfielders Jordan Allen and Nick Besler in this match.

Seattle will likely be too much for RSL to contain thanks to an attack that features Morris, Nicolas Lodeiro, and Raul Ruidiaz.

Los Angeles FC -232
Los Angeles Galaxy +516
Draw +410
Over/Under 3.5 and 4

El Trafico has been an incredible rivalry. There have been plenty of fireworks in the previous five meetings between the two Los Angeles clubs with a combined 24 goals scored in those matches. However, Los Angeles FC have yet to beat their more established rival, settling for three draws and losing twice thanks to the legendary Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibra has been at his best with the spotlight on him, and he has posted absurd numbers in this rivalry. He has eight goals in the five games between these two clubs, notching a hat trick in the first meeting between these two rivals and five goals in two games this season.

Carlos Vela has nearly kept pace, scoring seven goals in El Trafico thus far, but he needs more production from his teammates. Diego Rossi and Adama Diomande have yet to score in five games against the LA Galaxy even though Diomande has 20 goals and Rossi has scored 28 goals over the last two years.

The over is a great pick given the history of this series. This is the time for Vela to shine and carry his team to a victory. Vela won the MLS Golden Boot and smashed Josef Martinez’s single season scoring record with 34 goals this campaign. Vela, Rossi, and Diomande are an incredible triple threat, while Ibra is the only real scoring option for the Galaxy. Ibra will produce some magic, but it won’t be enough this time.

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