MLS expert Luke Beaumont (@_LukeBeaumont) analyses the action on Sunday night from across the pond as the Conference finals first legs get underway.
Atlanta United v New York Red Bulls | Sunday 25th November 2018, 22:00 | Sky Sports
The MLS Conference finals get underway this weekend as we take one step closer to seeing who will take part in December’s MLS Cup final.
It’s the Eastern Conference sides who will kick things off as Atlanta United host New York Red Bulls at the Mercedes-Benz stadium. It is fitting that the teams who finished first and second in the East will battle it out for a place in next month’s big event.
Atlanta have blown most teams away since joining the league in 2017, but the New York Red Bulls have their number. The two have met four times over the last couple of years, and the Red Bulls have dominated with three wins and one meeting ending all-square.
Tata Martino’s hosts will be hoping for revenge after the Red Bulls pipped them to the Supporters’ Shield on the last day of the regular season. However, I don’t think they will find a way to get their first win over the Red Bulls.
The New York Red Bulls have been to the Mercedes-Benz stadium twice, winning on both occasions and scoring five goals in the process. 11/10 (Bet365) for them to avoid defeat once more on Sunday night looks favourable.
Portland Timbers v Sporting Kansas City | Monday 26th November 2018, 00:45 | Sky Sports
Portland Timbers will take on Sporting Kansas City in the Western Conference final after edging past Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders in a dramatic semi-final, winning on penalties.
This is a tough meeting to call as Sporting Kansas City finished the regular season on top of the Western Conference, and Portland Timbers have found great form during the play-offs.
Portland won their first-round knockout game away in Dallas before dumping out a resurgent Seattle.
The best betting angle for this fixture would be to back goals, and here’s why: Eight of Portland’s last 10 games have seen Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score, including all three of their play-off games.
As well as that, six of SKC’s last seven outings have seen both teams score so 11/10 for a goal-fest in Portland on Sunday night looks good value.