LAFC vs Houston: Bouanga the Hero Again?

Will Chace
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
LAFC vs Houston: Bouanga the Hero Again?

In the West Conference Finals, Los Angeles FC welcomes the Houston Dynamo with a coveted spot in the Cup Final on the line. As reigning champions, LAFC aims for consecutive top-stage appearances in MLS. Meanwhile, Houston eyes its first finals appearance in over a decade, seeking to upset LAFC away. Delve into an expert prediction for the LAFC vs. Houston Dynamo match and stay updated with the latest news on the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs.

  • Los Angeles FC vs Houston Dynamo, MLS Cup Conference Finals
  • December 2, 2023
  • 9:30 PM EST
  • BMO Stadium, Los Angeles, California
  • Apple TV+ with MLS Season Pass

LAFC vs Houston Betting Odds

The reigning champions of the 2022 MLS Cup, LAFC, are considered the frontrunners to win at BMO Stadium, boasting a (-152) odds tag at the esteemed online sportsbook BetOnline. Those with a keen eye for underdogs might find Houston an intriguing option, potentially yielding a payout as lucrative as (+428) should they manage an upset. A draw within the standard 90 minutes would trigger extra time and carry odds of (+312), indicating a 24.3% implied probability.

MLS Cup PlayoffsBetOnlineBetUSBovadaMyBookieXbet
Los Angeles FC-152-152-165-160-160
Houston Dynamo+428+428+400+400+400

Want to better understand the 3-way moneyline (1X2) market? See our MLS online betting tips and learn about betting on the MLS playoffs.

2023 MLS Cup Playoffs Format

After Round One, the tournament shifts to a format reminiscent of the FIFA World Cup. Games last for 90 minutes plus stoppage time, followed by two 15-minute extra time periods if needed, potentially leading to a penalty shootout. There won't be two-leg ties; it's all about winner-takes-all scenarios favoring the higher-seeded team with home advantage, culminating in the Final.

A successful journey through the playoffs depends on a solid defense, a strong home record, and an attacking lineup skilled in consistent goal-scoring. Luck plays a significant role in the MLS Cup, condensing an entire season into crucial winner-takes-all clashes. Fluctuations in finishing ability are anticipated, but a high volume of shots often serves as the turning point in altering outcomes during the intense playoff battles.

Houston Dynamo Breakdown

After ending last year in 13th place, not many would have expected Houston to reach the final four teams in the MLS Cup playoffs. However, a remarkable turnaround, backed by the addition of 17 new signings, has lifted Houston from obscurity to the spotlight in Los Angeles, vying for a spot in the Cup Final.

Seasoned player Franco Escobar aims to leverage his familiarity with the opponent, having celebrated his second MLS Cup victory with LAFC last year. It's crucial to mention Hector Herrera, whose consistent stellar performances as a Mexican international in central midfield have been pivotal to the Dynamo's attacking prowess. A win for Houston would secure their first MLS Cup appearance since 2012 in an inspiring journey to the top.

Meet Denis Bouanga: The Newest Soccer Star in LA

Gareth Bale now relishes a serene life, indulging in his cherished golf and Wales national team. Meanwhile, Los Angeles FC continues its victorious streak, thriving even in the absence of the Welsh star. Carlos Vela remains in the No. 10 jersey. However, a new sensation, Gabonese talent Dénis Bouanga, has emerged as a fresh force.

Bouanga's incredible performance includes scoring 20 goals in the regular season, further bolstered by an additional 4 goals in LAFC's critical playoff clashes. His decisive goal against Seattle sealed the victory, proving to be the sole finish in the match. Notably, he has scored in each of his last 8 appearances for both club and country, and has earned this year's Golden Boot award.

In the upcoming LAFC vs Houston match, Bouanga holds a crucial advantage. Houston's tactical setup closely mirrors the transition pattern observed in the Sounders' gameplay. Under Ben Olsen, the team strategically pushes right back Griffin Dorsey forward to the right wing. They then reposition center back Erik Sviatchenko outward to take on the role of the right-sided center back in a three-man defensive line. This setup creates a familiar gap that Bouanga adeptly exploited at Lumen Field and is likely to persist on LAFC's home turf.

Houston Dynamo To Defeat LAFC

LAFC vs Houston Dynamo Prediction and Free Betting Pick

LAFC has established dominance at BMO Stadium, while Houston has displayed recent strength. Once more, Bouanga is poised to be a game-changer. He has a tendency to capitalize on a singular opportunity and tip the scales. Despite Houston's higher possession and numerous chances, LAFC's resilient defense is expected to hold strong. Look for Bouanga to secure a crucial goal through a well-executed counter-attack.

Moreover, Houston's struggles on the road this season suggest there might still be market value on LAFC. Although they secured a win in Seattle in their last outing, the result seemed somewhat undeserved. The Sounders appeared to be the favorites for much of the match, yet the final score did not accurately reflect their performance.

Consistent with my approach in MLS betting articles, I advocate for a cautious strategy in this match. The volatility of the MLS makes predictions challenging. Stick to a smaller unit size than usual, but have faith in LAFC to secure their spot in the Cup Final.

LAFC To Defeat the Houston Dynamo

Odds are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change.

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Meet the author

Will Chace

From Boston, Will's passion for sports is more of a hereditary characteristic than a learned hobby. Besides rooting for his hometown teams, he follows MMA heavily and will consume just about any sports-related content. In college, Will combined his passion for sports an...

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