- What: 2022 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs - Eastern Conference Finals
- When: Sunday, October 30, 2022, at 8:00 p.m. EST
- Where: Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania
- How to Watch: Fox Sports 1
The Eastern Conference Finals of the 2022 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs are set for this coming weekend, where Philadelphia Union will host NYCFC. Both clubs are vying for a spot in the MLS Cup Finals, where they'll face the winner of LAFC vs. Austin FC. For NYCFC, they'll be looking to make it back-to-back MLS Cup championship victories after knocking off the Portland Timbers in a penalty shootout last year. As for Philadelphia, they're on the brink of their first-ever Finals appearance.
Before we dive into the MLS Cup Eastern Conference Finals betting action for the clash between Philadelphia Union and NYCFC, make sure to check out our MLS betting guide and look over our soccer betting tips in order to get all the information you need on wagering on the sport.
Philadelphia Union vs. NYCFC Odds
|Philadelphia||-116||Over 2.5 (-120)|
|NYCFC||+320||Under 2.5 (+100)|
Heading into the game, Philadelphia Union is favored to win the game at home, coming in with (-116) odds. That suggests the books think Philadelphia can get the job done during regulation, but it'll be close. With an over/under of 2.5 goals, this game figures to be relatively low scoring, and should be a one-goal game, or two at most. The 90-minute draw comes in with odds of (+285) a bit better than the (+320) odds to win in regulation that NYCFC enters play with.
Why Philadelphia Union can win
Philadelphia is coming off a remarkable regular season that saw them win the Eastern Conference with 67 points. Philadelphia won 19 games, drew 10, and only lost five matches all year, showcasing their dominance over their opponents. Defensively, there's not a team that comes close to Philadelphia. Philly surrendered just 26 goals all year, fewer than one per game. The next fewest goals surrendered by an Eastern Conference team was 41.
What's even more incredible was Philadelphia's goal differential. Across the 34-game regular season, Philadelphia scored 72 goals and conceded 26, a difference of +46. The next highest goal differential out of the Eastern Conference was NYCFC who had a +16.
Philadelphia is coming off a 1-0 win over FC Cincinnati, doing exactly what was expected of them during the semi finals. Philadelphia Union's game plan is to prevent opponents from scoring while getting the job done on their own terms. While they only had 46 percent possession in the win, they more than doubled Cincinnati's xG (expected goal) output, 1.92 vs. 0.82.
In terms of this year's head-to-head matchup between the Philadelphia Union and NYCFC, the series favored Philly. Philadelphia Union won both games, outscoring NYCFC 4-1 across the two-game set. At Subaru Park, it was business as usual for the Union, who took care of NYCFC 2-1, courtesy of goals from Cory Burke and Mikael Uhre. Considering Philly's domination of NYCFC in the regular season, there's no reason they shouldn't secure another win on Sunday.
Why NYCFC can win
The reigning champs enter play on Sunday as underdogs, and rightfully so. Philadelphia was incredible during the regular season, but after Philly scored just one goal against a weak defensive team in Cincinnati, NYCFC could reasonably pull off an upset without needing to rely too much on their attack. In order to win against Philadelphia, NYCFC will need to figure out a way to get through their remarkably sturdy defense.
That's where attacking talents such as Valentin Castellanos, Talles Magno, Santiago Rodriguez, and Gabriel Pereira will come into play. While none of them were close to the league lead in goals scored, Castellanos led the bunch with 13 and Rodriguez topped the team with 17 goal contributions. This is a team that scored 57 goals in the regular season and have scored two or more goals in each of their last six matches across all competitions.
NYCFC enters play on a six-game winning streak, having gone without a loss since September 10. Their strong form should have the team feeling confident ahead of what will be a tough matchup with Philadelphia, who were toppled by Charlotte 4-0 as recently as October 1.
Defensively, NYCFC will look to do what they couldn't during the regular season; keep Philadelphia off the score sheet. The team was the second-best defensive team in the Eastern Conference (trailing only Philadelphia) with 41 goals conceded. During their recent six-game winning streak, they've kept two clean sheets and held opponents to one or fewer goals in every single game. If they can repeat that against Philadelphia, they have a real chance.
Despite NYCFC taking home championship honors last season, their reign will come to an end this year. Philadelphia Union is my pick to win it all this year, and I think they can make it three consecutive wins against NYCFC with a favorable matchup on their home turf on Sunday. At (-116), the odds are excellent for Philadelphia to win in regulation, and that's what we're going to back the Eastern Conference regular season champs to do. With a finals berth on the line, the Philadelphia Union should do what they have been doing all year; scoring goals and keeping their opponents off the board. Philadelphia Union Money Line (-116) is the pick.
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