The MLS season has reached the business end as the Eastern Conference semi-final is upon us where FC Cincinnati will play host to Philadelphia Union at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.
First-placed Cincinnati have the home advantage when they take on fourth-placed Philadelphia in this clash, with a place in the conference final against either Orlando City SC or Columbus Crew.
We'll take a look at the match-up and provide you with our best free soccer betting picks to see if we can earn you some extra cash while you enjoy the action.
|MLS Conference Semi Finals
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FC Cincinnati vs Philadelphia Union information
- Saturday, 25th November 2023
- TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
- 20:00 ET kick-off
Season so far
FC Cincinnati had a fantastic season in the MLS this year, and are rightly the number one seeds in the Eastern Conference due to their performances, where they won 20, drew nine and lost five of their 34 games this season with 57 goals scored and 39 goals conceded.
They claimed five wins from their first seven games with wins over Houston Dynamo, Seattle Sounders, Nashville SC, Inter Miami CF and Philadelphia, with draws against Orlando City and Chicago Fire. They then suffered their first defeat of the season against St Louis City in a 5-1 thrashing on the road.
They quickly got back into form though and bounced back with a stunning run of eight wins in ten games, including a stretch of six wins in a row over DC United, CF Montreal, Columbus Crew, Colorado Rapids, New York City FC and Chicago Fire.
They struggled after that though with just two wins in their next five games as DC United and Columbus both earned 3-0 wins over Cincinnati. They managed to end the season in decent form with three wins from their final five games, before their playoffs clash with New York Red Bulls. In that series they were dominant with a 3-0 win in game one, before a 1-1 draw in game 2 which saw them come out victorious in a penalty shootout to set up this clash with Philadelphia.
The club's top scorers this season are Luciano Acosta with 20 goals and Brandon Vazquez with 16 goals, while Acosta is also top of their assists charts with 16 assists.
Philadelphia on the other hand rescued a really difficult start to their season to claim a fourth-placed finish with a record of 15 wins, 10 draws and nine defeats in 34 games with 57 goals scored and 41 goals against.
Union struggled at the start of the campaign with just two wins in their opening eight games, beating Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire but suffering defeat to Inter Miami CF, CF Montreal, Orlando City and Cincinnati, while they drew with Sporting Kansas City and Chicago.
But they bounced back brilliantly by claiming eight wins from their next nine games, with a 0-0 draw against DC United preventing a stunning win-streak against Toronto FC, New York Red Bulls, Colorado, New England Revolution, New York City, Charlotte FC and Montreal.
That was followed up with three defeats in their next five games against the San Jose Earthquakes, Atlanta United FC and LA Galaxy, before three wins in a row got them back on track against Nashville SC, New York City and DC United.
Philadelphia then endured a run of six draws in their final eight games, including five in a row, which saw their league position drop slightly, but they held firm to secure their place in the playoffs against New England Revolution.
They claimed a 3-1 win in game one of the series at home, before claiming a 1-0 win on the road to secure the sweep and set up this semi-final clash against Cincinnati.
Soccer picks: FC Cincinnati to win @ -110
Cincinnati are the best team in the Eastern Conference by a distance and getting them to claim a win on their home pitch at just -110 means you can't pass up on it.
They have excellent individual quality, they know how to find the back of the net, they're strong defensively and they're the favorites to go all the way to win the MLS Cup for a reason.
Philadelphia haven't beaten Cincinnati on the road since a 2-1 win back in October 2021, and they failed to claim a win over them in the regular season this year either at home or away (1-0 loss in Ohio, 2-2 draw in Philadelphia).
The home advantage is huge in this game, and with the extra individual quality of Acosta and Vazquez ready and raring to go for this game, expect them to make the difference in a tight game.
Soccer picks: Under 2.5 total goals @ +115
This will be a close game, and it definitely has the potential of being a goalfest if both teams really push for it. But considering the stakes at play, both teams are far more likely to ensure they're at their best defensively and make sure there are limited defensive mistakes.
Four of the last six meetings between the two teams have seen two or less goals scored, while seven of the last 11 games would have seen this ticket cash in.
The strengths of both teams are certainly in offense which means it wouldn't be a surprise to see more goals come in, but the safe bet seems to be backing the trend of less goals and a Cincinnati win in the process.
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