If the MLS was looking to grow their brand and win some new followers with their MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, you would have to say that they have succeeded. Playing in such a weird situation cannot be easy for anyone involved, but the players have risen to the occasion and delivered a fantastic tournament to this point. The group stage did take a minute to get going, but that is very often the case with tournaments of this kind, as teams never want to go out and lose the opening game, which makes for some rather tentative football. Things quickly began to heat up, though, and we are now down to 8 teams remaining, all of whom are competing for a spot in next season. the quarterfinal matchups begin on Thursday night, with another game on Friday, and two on Saturday. It will be the Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City who go head to head in the opener. KC come into this favored by ½, with the goal total set at 2 ½.
When: Thursday, July 30 at 8 PM EST
Where: Wide World of Sports, Orlando
MLS Odds: Get the Latest Odds at YouWager.lv
Why bet on the Philadelphia Union
The Union began life in this tournament in Group A, and while they ended up finishing second, it was only goal difference that separated them and Orlando. Philadelphia picked up 7 points from those games, but they did so by playing a tight brand of defensive football where goals where hard to come by. Through the 3 games, they scored 4 goals and surrendered just 2, so they are certainly not an easy team to break down. They further proved that in the Round of 16 by dispatching the New England Revolution by a score of 1-0. There is probably going to come a point where they need to open things up, especially if they fall behind, and you have to wonder if they have the offensive firepower necessary to do that.
Why bet on Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City were forced to dig themselves out of a hole after losing their opening game in the group stage. They went down 2-1 to Minnesota United in that one, ending the game with just 10 men on the field. They took advantage of a man advantage in their second game, downing Colorado in a 3-2 thriller. KC needed something out of their final game to move on, which they got, with a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake. The momentum that they gained with those two wins came derailed a little in the Round of 16. They were unable to break down a stubborn Vancouver defense, and after a 0-0 draw, ended up advancing on penalties. This Philly defense is tougher still, so this is going to be another challenge.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
These are a pair of teams with very contrasting styles. Philly are going to play defense first against a talented attacking front of KC. I think Philly nips this one in a very tight battle.
Philadelphia Union 1 Sporting Kansas City 0