MLS Cup Winners Predictions, Picks & Odds 2021

  • After a less-than-exciting 2020, LAFC are now leading the race to win this year’s title.
  • Columbus Crew and Philadelphia Union aren’t far behind in the championship chase.
  • Could an unpredictable team like the San Jose Earthquakes stun the league?

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MLS Cup Champion Odds

MLS Teams Odds
LAFC +500
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Seattle Sounders +800
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Columbus Crew +900
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New York City FC +1000
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Philadelphia Union +1200
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Toronto FC +1200
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Sporting Kansas City +1600
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Orlando City +1800
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Atlanta United +2000
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Portland Timbers +2000
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New York Red Bulls +2200
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Inter Miami +2200
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LA Galaxy +2500
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New England Revolution +2500
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Minnesota United +2500
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FC Dallas +3300
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Chicago Fire +3300
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Colorado Rapids +4000
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FC Cincinnati +5000
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CF Montreal +5000
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Nashville SC +5000
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Real Salt Lake +6600
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San Jose Earthquakes +6600
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Vancouver Whitecaps +6600
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Austin FC +6600
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DC United +10000
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Houston Dynamo +10000
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MLS Cup Winners Predictions and Picks

With the odds, it’s tempting to look at Portland who should probably be given more credit. That said, the narrative here points to Vela having a resurgence for LAFC after injury problems in the previous season. At the top of his game, nobody will be able to stop Vela, and thereby, LAFC.

Pick:

LAFC to win this year’s MLS Cup (+500)

How to Watch MLS 2021 Season

MLS 2021 Season Information
What MLS 2021 season
Where Various sites across the United States and Canada
When Regular season: April 17th – November 3rd
Playoffs: November 19th – December 11th
How to watch ESPN, ABC, Fox, Fox Sports, TUDN, Univision

Following an atypical previous year that included a lengthy break, Major League Soccer has now finally returned for the 2021 season. With 27 teams split into two conferences (Eastern and Western), clubs will fight for 14 playoff-worthy spots that will decide this year’s MLS Cup champion.

Looking ahead, a few recognizable heavy hitters will once again be leading the chase for the title. With more silverware up for grabs, let’s glance over at the odds for the 2021 season.

Newcomers Austin FC don’t seem to have much faith from those making the odds, and at the very top, LAFC are the early favorites. But who can challenge LAFC? And most importantly, what makes the 7th place team from the 2020 Western Conference a headliner for 2021?

LAFC Are Once Again Leading The Favorites

For LAFC, it’s all about the health of Carlos Vela. Now fully fit, there’s no reason why the 2019 MVP can’t single-handedly carry his team towards a championship. And he’ll have some support as well. Diego Rossi is an incredibly dangerous attacker on his own, and in defense, LAFC seems to have bolstered their backline.

The Columbus Crew, who clinched last year’s MLS Cup, are obviously worthy of getting some attention. They’ll have an extremely well-balanced team, and with Lucas Zelaryan spearheading attacking efforts again, the Crew should have no shortage of opportunities in the final third throughout the season.

Even without a couple of names that recently left the roster, the Philadelphia Union should still be able to recreate some of the magic that earned the club a Supporters’ Shield in 2020. In the net, they can count on Andre Blake, who could claim to be the best goalkeeper in the league.

An argument could be made that the Portland Timbers are surprisingly low on the odds chart above. They continue to have some experienced leaders, they consistently qualify for the playoffs, and have some new faces in defense that could help carry them towards a title.

The Seattle Sounders get a special mention here for their impeccable ability to almost always show up to the final and looking over at Toronto FC, there’s no way of glazing past their talented roster that’ll make them a threat in the playoffs.

No Lack Of Dark Horses (And Superstars) That Could Spoil The Party

Where to begin with the dark horses?

Orlando City should be fun. With manager Oscar Pareja having a tendency to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts, Orlando will be a highly organized squad that will surely upset a team or two during the playoffs.

Striker Josef Martinez is back for Atlanta United, and if he remains healthy, he could surpass Vela as the league’s leading MVP contender. On the sidelines, manager Gabriel Heinze also has the know-how and conviction to outsmart plenty of his managerial colleagues.

Going back to the chat about goalscoring talents who could alter the course of the year, we need to discuss a few teams like the New England Revolution, Inter Miami, and Los Angeles Galaxy, who all have superstars leading the frontline.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez could have a revival in his second year with the Galaxy, and over in Miami, former Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain has now had more time to adjust to his surroundings. Although New England’s Gustavo Bou might not be as popular as the two aforementioned strikers, he does have the capabilities to outscore them in 2021.

Other Dark Horses to Watch: Minnesota United, Sporting Kansas City, New York City FC.

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Handful Of Clubs Have Potential, But Still Have Plenty To Prove

We’re now getting into wildcard territory and there is no team more erratic or unpredictable than the San Jose Earthquakes. With an approach that is almost foolishly attack-minded, manager Matias Almeyda will be a headache for any and all opponents, regardless of how many goals he allows on his own net in the process.

As per usual, there’s a handful of interesting young names that could make FC Dallas an unexpectedly strong team. That said, there are a number of question marks that will surround the starting XI — especially upfront if Franco Jara doesn’t pick up his goalscoring rate.

The Colorado Rapids have a low-key decent squad that should at least push the club towards a playoff position. Goalkeeper William Yarbrough, who was on loan in 2020 from Liga MX’s Club Leon, may also feel more at home after officially signing with the Rapids earlier this year.

Other Teams With Potential to Watch: Chicago Fire, New York Red Bulls, Nashville SC, Houston Dynamo.

A Look At Those Who Have A Serious Uphill Battle

Long story short, the rest of these clubs will need far too many things to go right in order to have a slight hope of winning the 2021 MLS Cup.

Austin FC are just a bit too green (no pun intended) and don’t have enough depth, we’ll see what happens to CF Montreal without Thierry Henry, FC Cincinnati might not change much from their abysmal ways last season, Real Salt Lake are a work in progress, DC United must improve their roster, and finally, the Vancouver Whitecaps aren’t likely to build off of their underwhelming 2020.

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Cesar Hernandez

Expert on Soccer

Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]