For the first time since 2003, MLS Cup will feature the teams from each conference with the best records as Los Angeles FC will host the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. While both teams finished on 67 points, LAFC were able to win Supporters’ Shield by virtue of having more wins than the Union, allowing them to also garner hosting duties for the final. There will also be a first-time winner in this MLS Cup as neither team has reached the match before.
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in different ways as LAFC are fit for the Hollywood spotlight while the Union are homegrown and are able to compete despite not spending as much as other teams in the league. Even looking at the coaches, Steve Cherundolo has led LAFC to the final in his first season in charge while coach of the year Jim Curtin is the second longest-tenured coach in the league behind Peter Vermes at Sporting Kansas City.
Both teams have dynamic attacks but no defense compares to the Union’s, which swept award season with Jakob Glesnes winning Defender of the Year and Andre Blake winning Goalkeeper of the Year. Kai Wagner joined them in making the MLS Best XI of the season. When a team allows only 26 goals in a season, breaking the goals-against record for a 34-match campaign, that can be expected.
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LAFC and the Union have played four times but while LAFC won one match, the two teams tied their last three matches together, which should point to a tense final between two evenly-matched teams. Between Chicho Arango’s 18 goals and Daniel Gazdag’s 21, defenses will need to be on high alert as one missed tackle can lead to a goal for the opposition.
Here’s our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
How to watch and odds
- Date: Saturday, Nov. 5 | Time: 4 p.m. ET
- Location: Banc of California Stadium — Los Angeles, Calif.
- TV: FOX | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
- Odds: LAFC -130; Draw +300; Philadelphia Union +310 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Los Angeles FC vs. Philadelphia
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LAFC: While Gareth Bale has been left out of playoff matches due to Cherundolo’s decision being a healthy scratch, the only injury concern for the Black and Gold is center back Eddie Segura. His injury — which caused him to miss the semifinal win over Austin FC — is undisclosed but he could make the final. If he can’t go, Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini will enter the lineup.
Predicted lineup: Crepeau, Hollingshead, Murillo, Chiellini, Palacios, Cifuentes, Ilie Sanchez, Acosta, Vela, Arango, Bouanga.
Philadephia Union: The biggest question mark for the Union will be around the availability of captain Alejandro Bedoya. Only playing 45 minutes against NYCFC, Bedoya has been dealing with injuries during the past few weeks which could see Jack McGlynn start the biggest game of his career. No stranger to big moments and with European teams keeping an eye out, it could be a platform for the 19-year-old homegrown. Outside of that, the Union lineup is set in stone.
Predicted lineup: Blake, Mbaizo, Glesnes, Elliott, Wagner, McGlynn, Martinez, Flach, Gazdag, Carranza, Uhre
With how evenly matched these teams are, they will need 120 minutes to decide a winner as LAFC scores a goal off the bench to bring things level near the end of regulation. But in extra time, the Union will prevail. Pick: LAFC 2, Philadelphia Union 3