Punters Preview to the 2022 MLS Season

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The 2022 MLS season is well underway. The campaign will finish slightly earlier this term, with the MLS Cup Final scheduled to take place on November 5th, just 16 days before the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. New York City FC is the defending champions this season, as they won the MLS Cup Final at the conclusion of the 2021 campaign after beating the Portland Timbers. But, there is additional excitement this year with the inclusion of the 28th club, as Charlotte FC entered the MLS for the first time.

MLS 2022 Season Dates & Information

The 2022 MLS season got underway on February 26th, with the regular season continuing until October 9th. Each team in the league will play 34 matches throughout the season, with 17 home fixtures and 17 away fixtures. All teams will play the other sides in their respective conference, while they will also play eight fixtures against sides from the other conference.  Seven teams from each conference will qualify for the playoffs, with the top team in each conference automatically qualifying for the semi-finals of the conference playoffs. The two winners from the conference playoffs will then clash in the MLS Cup Final on November 5th.  

Player Transfers Before New Season

The off-season is always an important period for teams across the MLS, as it gives them the opportunity to sign new players. However, it could also be damaging for teams, as they could lose star players. Orlando City is one of the clubs that were hit hardest by the winter transfer window, as they lost Daryl Dike and Nani, who departed for West Bromwich Albion and Venezia, respectively. For all the new soccer punters, or "football" bettors, we recommend to have a look at our top online sportsbook reviews at TrueNorthCasinos.

But, some huge names have moved to the MLS during the off-season. Xherdan Shaqiri became a household name during his time with Liverpool, and moved to Chicago Fire for a franchise-record fee in February. Douglas Costa was a serial winner during his time in Europe with Bayern Munich and Juventus. However, he will be looking to win the MLS title this season after signing with LA Galaxy.

However, the biggest signing of the off-season came in Canada, as Toronto FC has signed up Lorenzo Insigne. The 30-year-old won EURO 2020 with Italy last summer, and shocked soccer fans around the world by announcing his departure from Napoli after 12 years with the Italian giants. However, Toronto fans will need to wait a while longer to see him in action, as his contract doesn’t start until July 1st.

Eastern Conference

The reigning MLS Cup champions will be looking to win back-to-back titles this season, and will need to improve after a slow start to the campaign. New York City FC has won just twice in their opening six games, and sits four places off the top seven teams in the conference. It has been a strong start for the newest addition to the MLS, as Charlotte FC currently sits in the top seven places of the Eastern Conference. Toronto FC will have every chance to make a bold bid for the title this year. Their chances of success will certainly be heightened if they are in a competitive position ahead of Insigne’s arrival in July.

However, it’s the Philadelphia Union that currently looks to be the standout team in the conference under head coach Jim Curtin. The Union have only previously won the Supporters’ Shield on one occasion, but they were unable to make it through the first round of the playoffs in that season. There have certainly been big improvements made over the off-season, as they failed to qualify for the playoffs last season, as they finished eighth.

Western Conference

The Western Conference also looks to be a wide-open affair this year, with three sides chasing top spot. The disappointing start to the season made by the Vancouver Whitecaps means that it is unlikely that they will be able to get themselves into a battle to fight for a playoff finish. Austin FC will be looking to reach the playoffs in their second season in the MLS, as they finished 12th in the West last term. They are certainly looking like a more united side this term, and could make a bold bid.

However, it could be challenging to see past the Los Angeles rivals. Los Angeles FC is the clear favorites in the betting to win the MLS Cup this season, after enduring a quiet season last term as they failed to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Galaxy also looks back on track, and the signing of Douglas Costa gives them some star power in the final third that could lead them to a fifth MLS Cup success, and a first title since 2014.

Who Will Win The MLS Cup?

It will be a wild ride to the final of the MLS Cup this year. I fancy Toronto FC’s chances to go far this year, as the arrival of Insigne in July will lift the squad, and add some much-needed quality at the top end of the pitch. Meanwhile, they could come up against LA Galaxy, who look to have amended their defensive issues this term, and the quality of Costa in the final third gives them a dynamic very few other sides can match. Ok, punters, who is your big bet on for the MLS crown?

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