Eight teams remain in contention in the MLS is Back Tournament at Walt Disney World, with LAFC emerging as the favorite to take home the title and the guaranteed CONCACAF Champions League berth.
The MLS is Back Tournament began with 26 teams, though FC Dallas and Nashville SC withdrew from the event after multiple positive COVID-19 test results on both clubs.
LAFC Rolls Past Sounders
Those early exists cleaned up the draw a bit, leaving 24 teams in six round-robin groups. Each first and second-place side qualified for the knockout rounds, as did the top four third-place teams.
Los Angeles FC came into the 2020 season as the MLS Cup favorite and took on the same status when the MLS is Back Tournament began. Nobody has slowed down Los Angeles yet: after a win and two draws in the group stage, LAFC trounced the Seattle Sounders 4-1 in the round of 16 on Monday behind two goals from forward Diego Rossi.
“Diego has been a really good player every year, but he’s grown,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley told reporters after the win. “He’s improved, he’s worked really hard on his finishing, his ability to take balls on the move, to make runs through the defense. He’s relentless.”
LAFC will next play Orlando City SC on Friday. Orlando slipped by the Montreal Impact 1-0 in the round of 16 thanks to a second-half score by Canadian forward Tesho Akindele. DraftKings Sportsbooks lists LAFC as a -114 favorite over Orlando City (+240) in their quarterfinal matchup.
NYCFC Hitting Stride After Group Stage Struggles
New York City FC has also established itself as an MLS is Back favorite. NYCFC rolled to a 3-1 win over Toronto on Sunday, and will next face the Portland Timbers in the quarterfinals. The result marks a turnaround for the club, which went 1-2 in the group stage, and was the final team to sneak into the knockout stage.
“We were talking the whole tournament about discipline, we were talking about togetherness, we were talking about doing it for 95 minutes,” NYCFC coach Ronny Deila said after the win. “The team effort today was unbelievable. Everybody worked everything they could.”
NYCFC (+120) comes into the quarterfinals as a slight favorite over Portland (+205).
In the other two MLS is Back quarterfinals, Sporting KC (-104) will take on the Philadelphia Union (+260), while the San Jose Earthquakes (+125) battle Minnesota United (+205).
MLS is Back Tournament Odds (Winner)
- LAFC: +235
- NYCFC: +450
- San Jose Earthquakes: +500
- Sporting KC: +500
- Philadelphia Union: +650
- Minnesota United: +750
- Portland Timbers: +900
- Orlando City SC: +1100
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
The MLS is Back Tournament knockout rounds don’t feature extra time. Instead, if two teams are tied after 90 minutes, they go directly to a shootout to determine a winner. The round of 16 featured three shootouts.
LAFC stands as the clear +235 favorite to win the MLS is Back Tournament. NYCFC (+450), San Jose (+500), and Sporting KC (+500) are also among the top picks to win the event. The MLS will resume its season after the conclusion of the tournament.