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MLS playoffs 2022 Conference Finals: schedule, times, dates and favourites to win

The final four have been decided and the MLS Cup is within sight: but who are the favourites to win?

Joe Brennan
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20: Defender Sega Coulibaly #4 of Los Angeles Galaxy reacts as Cristian Arango #9 of Los Angeles FC celebrates scoring the winning goal during the second half of the Western Conference Semifinals of 2022 MLS Cup playoffs at Banc of California Stadium on October 20, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.   Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP

It all comes down to this. Just four teams are left in the battle to be crowned winner of the 2022 MLS Cup: LAFC, Austin FC, Philadelphia Union and New York City FC are the last ones standing and will play their respective Conference Final for a chance to reach the showdown game on 5 November.

Is it LAFC’s trophy to lose?

The ‘Black and Gold’ are the favourites to get to the final and win it, with statistical website FiveThirtyEight giving them a 49% change of winning the title. Their El Tráfico win against LA Galaxy last week - a crazy game with a 93rd minute winner from Chicho Arango - has pushed the odds in their favour. They currently sit on top with a 49% chance of winning the Cup.

The underdog story, if there is to be one, will definitely come from Austin FC. Two first half goals were enough for Los Verdes to beat Dallas FC in the semi-final and set up their fixture against LAFC. The statistics show them as the underdogs but top tactician Josh Wolff could yet spring a surprise, as he did against his Texan neighbours in the previous round.

Prior to the victory for Cherundolo’s side against their city rivals, it was actually Philadelphia Union who were the favourites to progress and win the tournament, according to FiveThirtyEight. Leon Flach’s top-corner strike was enough to get past Cincinnati 1-0 on 21 October, booking themselves a date with NYCFC, where they will be looking to upset the odds and claim only the second trophy in their history (after they won the Supporters’ Shield in 2020). Union were the team with the best defence and most creative attack in MLS, so their rivals will definitely have to put up a strong fight.

NYCFC had it slightly easier in the previous round than Philadelphia, beating Montréal 1-3. Goals from Moralez, Héber and Talles Magno gave Nick Cushing’s side a comfortable victory and no doubt a huge boost of confidence for their upcoming game. The reigning champions will be looking to add to their victory last year against Portland Timbers, where they didn’t allow a late equaliser to crush their spirits, coming back to win on penalties.

What is certain is that the games will give MLS fans two great spectacles and no doubt be a pair of fantastic appetisers to get everyone ready for the Cup final.

Western Conference final:

  • LAFC vs Austin FC
  • Date: Sunday 30 October
  • Time: 15:00 ET / 20:00 CET
  • Stadium: Banc of California Stadium

Eastern Conference final:

  • Philadelphia Union vs New York City FC
  • Date: Monday 31 October
  • Time: 20:00 ET / 01:00 CET
  • Stadium: Subaru Park

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