The Philadelphia Union have made it to their first Major League Soccer conference final. The Union will host New York City FC on Dec. 5 for the right to face the winner of Portland-Real Salt Lake for the MLS Cup December 11th.
After years of US Open Cup near misses and heartbreak, could we finally have joy in Chester?
Philadelphia Union vs. New York City FC odds
Philadelphia Union vs. New York City FC preview
Both teams survived 120-plus minutes of game time and a shootout to advance to the conference final. The Union won Sunday night against Nashville, while NYCFC upset New England on Tuesday night.
The teams have met three times this season with each earning a win, a loss, and a draw. NYCFC is one of only two MLS opponents to win at Subaru park this season, taking a 2-0 victory against Philadelphia in May who lost a man in the first half. The Union avenged the defeat with a 1-0 win in August, and the teams drew 1-1 at Yankee Stadium (yep, still no soccer-specific venue for the Pigeons) on Decision Day in November.
Home form has been excellent for the Union. Not only was the loss in May the last game they dropped at home to MLS competition (they lost 2-0 to Club America in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal return leg this summer), they will look to stretch their unbeaten streak at home during Philadelphia Eagles Sundays to five games, including the semifinal win against Nashville.
NYCFC has two major disadvantages entering the final. One is the lack of rest compared to the home team. The other is the exclusion of Golden Boot winner Valentin Castellanos, who scored in the May win and the November draw against Philly, part of his 19 goal campaign. Castellanos put the Pigeons ahead in the second extra session Tuesday night before receiving a second yellow card for a poor challenge, which allowed the Revolution to force the shootout.
Speaking of shootouts, if it comes to that, the home fans won’t mind. Andre Blake made two saves and forced two more shots wide of frame during the PKs on Sunday. His counterpart, Sean Johnson saved only one of four he faced Tuesday night.
NYCFC finished the season with 188 shots on target to lead MLS and 516 shots, second best in the league. The Union finished middle of the pack in those areas. Whether the Pigeons can keep that pressure without Castellanos will determine much of the result Sunday.
How to bet on MLS
There are a number to wager on the contest. Here are some of the most popular options:
3-way Moneyline: This is the main option shown on pages. The prices are for either team to win or a draw. However, there is one major thing to realize with these bets during knockout stages: These prices are for the regulation result. Once the full time whistle blows, the books grade tickets on that outcome, not what happens in added extra time. That’s just how they do it, unlike any other sport. Consider it a “house advantage.”
To Advance: That’s the outright result, whether it takes 90 minutes, 120 minutes, or the shootout. The Union are favored to advance as the home team.
Over/Under: The total number of goals scored, again in regulation. The consensus total appears to be 2.5
Player Props: There are a variety of props for players, like anytime goal scorer, first goal scored, etc. Worth checking the prices across the books and perhaps using for a parlay.
MLS Cup Odds
Into the final four, the Union have the shorter odds of the Eastern Conference competitors, while Portland is the unanimous favorite.