The new Major League Soccer season looks set to be an exciting one, with some intriguing off-season moves. We’re going to see a lot of hype around some of the bigger names in the league, though it would be foolish to ignore some of the ‘smaller market’ teams that do so well, including the Columbus Crew. Expect a tight and competitive season, but who are the four teams expected to push for the MLS Cup Final trophy?
Which teams are being rated by Vegas as the key winners in 2021?
Columbus Crew (+550)
This makes pretty obvious sense – the Crew were outstanding last year, and look set to continue their hot streak well into this season. They have bought well, strengthened impressively, and look to have one of the most stable and secure teams moving into the new season.
Few would doubt that the Crew should be up there at the end of the season, with a quality roster and a great coaching staff. On top of that, an ambitious style of play that can look too much for some MLS sides could see Columbus cement their victory credentials.
Los Angeles FC (+550)
For the first few years of their existence, LAFC has been the ‘ugly sister’ of the LA soccer teams. However, this year, they comfortably sit ahead of the LA Galaxy as a pre-season favorite. In fact, the Galaxy (+2900) are seen as nothing like a good bet to go all the way.
LAFC has a strong squad and has put together an experienced team. However, it should be noted that this has a ‘now or never’ feel about this squad. Another failure to go all the way might see a blow-up in 2022. For now, though, LAFC remains a clear favorite to do well.
New York City FC (+1000)
Any team with links to the City Football Group is pulling from a wider pool of talent spotting and scouting than others. This has helped NYCFC to build a pretty impressive sporting project built on progressive play and competitive pressing. They resemble an MLS-level copy of Manchester City in some ways and play a really impressive style of football.
Expect them to be the leading force in New York, as the Red Bulls (+2100) still look to rebuild and find their form after some soul-searching pre-season.
Seattle Sounders (+1000)
As one of the premium MLS sides, the Seattle Sounders have long boasted one of the best setups in the whole league. This season might not be the most bombastic Sounders team, but there is more than enough quality in various positions.
Add in an experienced playing staff and a coaching team who have proven their mettle before, and the Sounders look a pretty decent bet to make a push for the Finals themselves. They have the quality, the experience, and the support; can they find the consistency?