MLS playoffs 2022 Conference semi-finals: schedule, times, dates and favorites to win
The last eight teams left in the 2022 MLS play-offs begin their quest for a place in the finals. Philadelphia and Cincinnati get the action underway.
The 2022 MLS Western and Eastern Conference semi-finals, the 27th edition of the MLS Cup play-offs, get underway this week - with two games on Thursday and two on Sunday. LAFC, LA Galaxy, Austin and Dallas will be scrapping it out for a place in the Western Conference finals while Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Montréal and New York City will be doing the same to secure a place in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
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For some, like five-time Cup winners LA Galaxy, it’s become pretty much standard practice to be among the last four in the bracket while for some of the newer franchises like Austin, it’s a relatively new experience. The Texan outfit, who only joined MLS last year, enjoyed an impressive campaign, finishing second in the Western Conference regular season.
As always at this stage, the higher seeded teams are the host team and have a home advantage.
Philadelphia vs Cincinnati
Cincinnati recorded their first ever MLS win over the Union back in August - one of just five defeats all season for Jim Curtin’s team, who secured pole position in the Eastern Conference regular season standings. The Union made it all the way to the MLS Cup final last year only to narrowly lose to New York City but are one of the favourites to lift this year’s trophy.
The game will take place at Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, kicking off at 8:08 p.m. local time / 5:08 p.m. PDT on Thursday 20 October.
LAFC vs LA Galaxy
Los Angeles FC are the bookies favourites to win the MLS Cup final on 5 November - a chance for summer arrival Gareth Bale to add to his enviable collection of winners’ medals. But standing in a way of a place in the Conference finals are city rivals LAFC, who topped the regular season standings in their fifth MLS season. Both teams won their respective home games in this fixture during the regular season.
The game will take place at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, kicking off at 7:25 p.m. local time / 10:25 p.m. EDT on Thursday 20 October.
Montréal vs New York City
Montréal play host to the defending Cup holders keen to build on what has been a productive year for Wilfried Nancy’s team - the club’s 11th in MLS. They lost 4-1 to NYC back in March with the reverse fixture in July failing to produce any goals at all. Both teams are among the favourites to go on and win the Cup - the Canadians are strong at their stadium, losing just five home games in the 2022 regular season. The game is already completely sold-out.
The game will take place at Stade Saputo in Montréal, Québec, Canada, kicking off at 1:18 p.m. local time / 10:18 a.m. PDT on Sunday 23 October.
Austin vs Dallas
Dallas have reached the Conference finals twice and booked their place in the semis after beating Minnesota in a penalty shootout. Spanish coach Nico Estévez exceeded all expectations in his first season in charge, guiding the team to a third-place finish. Dallas have never lost to Austin although both of the regular season meetings ended level. This will be only the second time that two Texan teams have met in the play-offs - Dallas faced the Houston Dynamo at the same stage in 2007, only to lose to the eventual champions..
The game will take place at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas, kicking off at 7:18 p.m. local time / 8:18 p.m. EDT / 5:18 p.m. PDT on Sunday 23 October.
MLS Cup favourites
At +200, Los Angeles FC are the big favourites to go all the way and lift this year’s MLS Cup - first they must get past LA Galaxy and the winners of the other semi-final, either Dallas or Austin. Free-scoring Philadelphia Union are at +200 with the betting houses - Jim Curtin’s team scored a total of 72 goals during the regular season - the third highest total in MLS history. Montréal are listed at +800, NYCFC at +900, Austin at +1100 and LA Galaxy at +1600 - the same odds as Dallas. Cincinnati are rank outsiders at +2800.