The MLS season has reached it's climax as reigning champions Los Angeles FC defend their crown against Columbus Crew in the MLS Cup final this weekend in a historic clash.
Columbus will have the home advantage heading into the game having won the Eastern Conference, with both teams entering the playoffs as the third seed and winning their respective conference titles last weekend.
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 Cup Final
Learn more about how to bet on the MLS Cup finals here.
Columbus Crew vs LA FC information
- Saturday, December 9th 2023
- Lower.com Field, Columbus, Ohio
- 16:00 ET kick-off
Season so far
Columbus had an excellent season in the end with a regular season in third place, with 16 wins from 34 games plus nine draws and nine defeats with a goal difference of +21, which was the best in the Eastern Conference.
They started with a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia Union before a win over Wayne Rooney's DC United in game 2. Their next win came three games later, where they thrashed Atlanta United 6-1 at home to start a three-game winning streak where they scored 12 goals and conceded just once.
After that however followed a run of just one win in seven games, which came against LA Galaxy, but they lost to Charlotte FC, Inter Miami CF, FC Cincinnati and Nashville as well as being held to draws by New England Revolution and Orlando City.
They addressed their issues though and coach Wilfried Nancy made a few changes, which saw them go on an eight-game unbeaten run that included five wins. They then lost three of their next seven games, before ending the season with a six-game unbeaten run which included a 1-1 draw with Atlanta in the penultimate game as they secured their spot in the post-season.
There they claimed a series win over Atlanta United thanks to a 2-0 win in game 1 and a 4-2 win in game 3, either side of a 4-2 defeat on the road in game 2. They then earned a 2-0 win after extra-time in the conference semi-finals against Orlando City thanks to goals from Christian Ramirez and Cucho Hernandez which set up a conference finals clash with top seeds FC Cincinnati.
There they earned a 3-2 win after extra-time as they bounced back from 2-0 down with an own-goal from Alvas Powell then strikes from Diego Rossi and Ramirez earning a memorable victory.
Los Angeles had a strong season themselves by earning themselves 14 wins, 10 draws and 10 defeats in 34 games with 54 goals scored and 39 goals conceded.
LA FC went unbeaten in their first eight games of the season with five wins against the likes of Portland Timbers, New England Revolution, FC Dallas, Austin FC and LA Galaxy.
The first defeat came against the San Jose Earthquakes, but they then went unbeaten in their next four games to get back on track as the favorites to win the MLS Cup. But their form crashed after that with five defeats in their next seven games, including in a double-header against Houston.
Two draws with San Jose and Minnesota United and two wins against St Louis City FC and Colorado Rapids followed before three more defeats on the spin threatened to take their season off track completely.
They managed to recover though with just one more defeat in their final seven games with three victories against LA Galaxy, Minnesota and Austin FC which set up a playoff clash with Vancouver.
LA made short work of the Whitecaps with a dominant 5-2 win in game one, before completing the sweep with a 1-0 win on the road in game 2. That set up a conference semi-final with Seattle where they claimed a 1-0 win thanks to Denis Bouanga's strike, before a dominant 2-0 win over Houston Dynamo FC in the conference finals put them in position for a second consecutive MLS Cup success.
Soccer picks: Columbus Crew to win in 90 mins@ +125
Columbus last won the MLS Cup back in 2020, but not many expected them to be in this position at the start of the season. The same can be said of LA FC who won the crown last year, but lost match-winner Gareth Bale due to retirement and looked like they were going through a period of rebuilding.
These two teams haven't played each other this season and they've only met three times before in their history, with LA FC claiming the win on the last two occasions. But this Crew team look like they're ready to go to the next level now.
They've scored the most goals of any team in the MLS this season (78), arguably have the league's best player in Cucho Hernandez (16 goals, 11 assists in 27 games) and at +125 they're fantastic value to get the win inside 90 minutes.
Check out our review for MyBookie sports betting here.
Soccer picks: Over 2.5 total match goals @ -115
So far this season across the entire regular MLS season and playoff campaign, Columbus have scored 78 goals in their 38 games which averages at 2 goals per game while defensively they have conceded 1.38 goals per game over the same period.
Los Angeles FC on the other hand have scored 1.65 goals per game with 63 goals scored in 38 games, while defensively they have been very strong with just 1.07 goals conceded per game from a total of 41 goals allowed in 38 games.
In a final both teams are more likely to put their necks out to get the goal which could see them lift the trophy, and it means that games are often more open. Expect an entertaining game, with at least three goals in regulation time.
Check out our review for Bovada sports betting here.