February 26th marks the beginning of the 27th season of Major League Soccer (MLS) and we have 28 teams competing for the title of MLS Cup champions. We’re in a World Cup year and with plenty of players looking to impress and give themselves a chance of appearing at the biggest international tournament on the planet, it should be a fascinating season with lots of subplots.
The last decade has seen the beautiful game go from strength to strength across the pond and the extremely passionate fans have seen their league add star quality and genuine competitiveness over that time. An array of star players have made the switch to the MLS but it’s also served as a platform for younger players to show their mettle, hone their craft and make an impact.
There have already been some exciting arrivals with former Liverpool and Stoke City midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri making the switch from Lyon to Chicago. Toronto, meanwhile, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Italian attacker Lorenzo Insigne from Serie A side Napoli and LA Galaxy have pulled off a fantastic piece of business by signing Brazilian winger Douglas Costa from Juventus on a free.
It seems that every year, the quality of players improves in the MLS. But with all of these exceptional signings, which team will take the title of Champions and which player can top the scoring charts?
Remember to check out all our MLS tips here, too!
MLS Cup winners prediction – Seattle Sounders at 6/1
Seattle Sounders have been involved in four of the last six MLS Cup finals and it’s no surprise that they’re always there or thereabouts. They have the deepest squad throughout the league and they’re capable of picking up points even when star players are unavailable to them.
The biggest question mark is whether age will play a part as a number of their key players are approaching the latter stages of their careers. However, there is no denying that they have quality in abundance and with the addition of former Manchester City youth player Albert Rusnak, they’ve added some creativity to their ranks. Rusnak was exceptionally productive during his time at Real Salt Lake; he had 41 goals and 39 assists in 140 appearances with the Clarets.
I’m expecting them to take another step forward here by reaching their fifth final in seven years and lifting the trophy once again.
MLS Cup longshot prediction – Atlanta United at 25/1
Atlanta United come into the new season with the most expensive squad and have record signing Thiago Almada at their disposal. Whilst the 2018 MLS Cup Winners have spent heftily on bolstering their squad, manager Gonzalo Pineda is a pragmatic coach who will utilise his squad. Under his tutelage, the ‘Five Stripes’ are earning an average of 1.71 points per game and given the talent in their squad, we expect them to be challenging for the MLS Cup.
Thiago Almada is still somewhat of an unknown quantity in terms of how he will perform but he is an extremely exciting talent. He was linked with European heavyweights Manchester United and Real Madrid while still at Velez Sarsfield but instead opted to make the move to Georgia.
A player who plays in the pockets between the lines and another added bonus is he’s exceptionally versatile, possessing the ability to play anywhere across the midfield. He can be the inspiration for Atlanta United this campaign as he’ll create a hatful of chances for last season’s club top scorer Josef Martinez.
With exciting new talent and a manager who is keen to take the game to their opponents, Atlanta United can surprise a few this campaign.
MLS top goalscorer prediction – Javier Hernandez at 8/1
The Mexican scored just five goals fewer than last season’s eventual top scorer Valentín Castellanos but the Mexican is expected to improve on his tally in the coming year.
New York City striker Castellanos’s goals helped his side to the trophy last year but he made 15 more appearances than LA Galaxy’s Hernandez. The West Coast outfit have added Brazilian winger Douglas Costa to their ranks and could genuinely tear defences apart, and creating more chances inside the box can only be a good thing for notorious poacher Hernandez.
Back the former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward to bag the most goals this term.
MLS Cup 2022 odds
- New England Revolution – 6/1
- Seattle Sounders – 6/1
- Los Angeles FC – 9/1
- New York City – 10/1
- Sporting Kansas City – 10/1
- Philadelphia Union – 12/1
- Colorado Rapids – 14/1
- Toronto FC – 14/1
- LA Galaxy – 16/1
- Nashville SC – 16/1
- Portland Timbers – 16/1
- New York Red Bulls – 20/1
- Atlanta United -25/1
- Orlando City – 25/1
- Real Salt Lake – 25/1
- Columbus Crew – 33/1
- Minnesota United – 33/1
- DC United – 40/1
- Vancouver Whitecaps – 40/1
- Charlotte FC – 50/1
- Inter Miami – 50/1
- CF Montreal – 50/1
- FC Dallas – 66/1
- San Jose Earthquakes – 66/1
- FC Cincinnati – 80/1
- Chicago Fire – 100/1
- Austin FC – 100/1
- Houston Dynamo – 100/1
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