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Seattle or LAFC in Western Conference Semifinals?
Updated November 14, 2023
What: Seattle Sounders vs LAFC – Western Conference Semifinals
Where: Lumen Field
When: Sunday, November 26th, 9:30 PM ET
With the international break beginning this week, we’ll need to wait a couple of weeks for the MLS Playoffs to continue. But, the conference semifinals are very much set on both sides. In the West, the Seattle Sounders will welcome title-holders LAFC to Lumen Field on Sunday, November 26th. The kick-off is scheduled for 9:30 PM ET. Seattle just edged out FC Dallas in the first round, beating them in three games. As for LA, they easily took care of the Vancouver Whitecaps, with 5-2 and 1-0 victories. This should be a very entertaining clash, with a spot in the conference finals on the line. Below, find the Seattle Sounders vs LAFC picks.
Before we get into the odds, match preview, and picks, check out our MLS betting page if you plan to put money down on this game.
There isn’t much separating these two sides here. Seattle sits at +140 odds, while LAFC returns at +185. A draw is priced at +260. Two of the last three meetings ended level but of course, things would need to be decided in penalties if that happened later this month.
Can Seattle Get it Done?
The Sounders had a great regular season, finishing second in the Western Conference with a 14-9-11 record. While scoring wasn’t exactly a strength with 41 goals in 34 outings, Seattle was absolutely rock solid at the back, conceding a league-low 32 times. That’ll come in handy against LAFC considering Golden Boot winner Denis Bouanga is currently firing on all cylinders. This backline could certainly slow him down and there’s no question that’ll be a key to victory on the 26th.
Seattle grabbed a 2-0 win in the opening round against Dallas before they responded with a 3-1 win on home soil. That set up a decisive Game 3 where the West powerhouses ultimately produced the goods, with Albert Rusnak proving to be the difference-maker with a first-half goal for the hosts at Lumen Field. This is the Sounders’ first conference semifinal since 2020 after missing the playoffs last season. Overall, they’re one of the most successful clubs in the MLS and won the MLS Cup in 2019 before losing in the final the year after.
Playing at Lumen is typically a strength for Brian Schmetzer’s men, who have performed in front of their home supporters countless times in the playoffs. Up top, Seattle will be relying on Jordan Morris, their talisman who bagged 13 goals this term. Midfielder Leo Chu is also a key player, scoring five goals and supplying seven assists in 2023.
LAFC Looking to Repeat
There may be no Gareth Bale anymore, but LAFC is still looking like a legitimate contender to lift the MLS Cup. The Black and Gold were third and just one point behind Seattle in the West, scoring the third-most goals in the conference. That’s much in part to Bouanga, who bagged 23 and tallied six assists as well. The Frenchman was truly brilliant.
By no surprise, he was essentially the sole reason they quickly dispatched Vancouver. He netted a brace in Game 1 in Los Angeles before scoring the winner in Game 2 back at BC Place. Without a doubt, Bouanga is the X-factor for LAFC. Carlos Vela is always another one to watch though. He has nine goals and eight assists to his name. That might not be the numbers we’re used to seeing from the Mexican, but he’s still capable of coming up with a moment of brilliance.
LAFC has made the playoffs in four of their five years since becoming an expansion team, but 2022 was of course their best finish. With an electric attack and a strong defense, they have all that it takes to go all the way again. But, beating Seattle on home turf will not be easy by any means.
Seattle Sounders vs LAFC Picks
This is a tough one to pick. But, I truly do believe this Sounders backline has what it takes to limit Bouanga, especially with the home atmosphere behind them. With that in mind, I’m eyeing the Seattle moneyline. There will be no repeat for LAFC.