Major League Soccer isn’t the sport’s most popular competition, but we are seeing a spike in the number of fans taking an interest in games, results and the players. The top tournaments across Europe are currently in their off-season, including the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A, and the World Cup in Qatar postponed until November to avoid the host nation’s unbearable summer heat; the MLS has become fans’ only source of professional soccer.
Both new and returning MLS supporters have already been treated to a rollercoaster of a season with plenty of goals, even more talking points and a sprinkling of controversy. There have been numerous upsets and shock results, some fantastic goals and a quality of play that would rival any soccer tournament on the planet. Yes, the MLS is buzzing this summer, and organisers are confident it will go from strength to strength with online betting in California to Cardiff offering odds and bonuses on games.
The league has made headlines in the absence of competition, but those in charge of the division know what it takes to draw global support and are determined to hold onto all new fans when European soccer returns. If you haven’t been following the MLS scores this summer, there’s no need to worry; it’s not too late. In fact, it’s the perfect time to show an interest as things are just about to get exciting with games coming thick and fast over the next few weeks.
Los Angeles lead the way
What have you missed, and what’s expected from Major League Soccer in the remainder of the 2022 season? Los Angeles FC has been the surprise package so far, easily overshadowing the efforts of their derby rivals LA Galaxy who have failed to live up to the lofty expectations set by fans in pre-season. LA FC currently sits on top of their division with stats of 13 wins and three draws against four defeats, scoring 40 goals while conceding 22.
The 42 points tally against their name has Los Angeles just ahead of nearest rivals and their main danger to the throne, Austin FC, with Real Salt Lake a distant third. The latter looks to have no chance of staging a late smash and grab on the leaders. Los Angeles FC has been consistently good this term, and if they do go on to finish top of the table and secure playoff football – as many respected pundits expect them to – it will be nothing short of what Steve Cherundolo’s team deserve.
LA recently suffered a rare defeat but had no problem bouncing back, responding in great fashion to win their next two outings. Victory over Nashville FC on the road helped push them a step closer to the finish line with a hard-fought 2-1 result proving there’s more to this team than skill and flair. The players are battle-hardened and happy to go deep into the trenches to get the win. A grandstand finish is expected, and that resolve and strength of character will be tested to the max by an ambitious Austin FC.
Battle for supremacy
Across the US and into the other half of the draw, we see a battle for supremacy raging as anything up to four teams lay claim to winning the division. Philadelphia Union is the current pace-setters on 39 points from 21 games, but they aren’t short of competition with New York City FC in second place, just one point off the pace. New York Red Bulls can be found in third, trailing by six points, while fourth-placed CF Montreal strives to keep their title hopes alive, needing seven points to match the leaders.
NYC FC has been unrelenting in their challenge, with an unbeaten run covering five matches, including victory in their three most recent games. They have scored more goals than the table toppers, having found the net 39 times compared to the 33 of Philadelphia Union, but the latter boasts a better defence.
New York City was last seen claiming a vital 1-0 derby win over New York Red Bulls, but that effort was matched by Union, who defeated New England Revolution 2-1 to remain in control.