The MLS Is Back Part 2 The Western Conference

By Ian John
March 1, 2023

Welcome back to the second part of a two-part article where we preview the two conferences that make up Major League Soccer in the United States, together with our look at the latest odds for each of the teams competing in each division and much more besides.

In this post, we are going to be focusing on the Western Conference, which comprises of 14 teams and which features the current MLS Cup holders, Los Angeles F.C.

By the completion of these two posts, we are hoping you will have a greater understanding of how the MLS is set up, which teams and players to look our for and perhaps, which teams will win their respective Conference title and/or qualify through the playoffs to reach the MLS Cup Final in December.

With the popularity of sports betting proliferating across the United States at present, due to a large number of states legalising many forms of betting, it is good to know that bet365 Sport has plenty of markets available for the MLS this season, including a great selection of bets on each game, as well as outright markets for the MLS Cup winner too.

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Check out our first part in this series where we look at the Eastern Conference first if you would like before continuing here with our look at the Western Conference.

Western Conference – History & MLS Cup Champions

The inaugural season in the MLS was in 1996 and the competition has always had at least two conferences competing in it. The winners of the Regular Season Conference are listed below, with any teams now not currently competing in the MLS shown in italics.

Regular Season Western Conference Winners

  • Los Angeles Galaxy – 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2011
  • Kansas City Wizards – 1997, 2000, 2004
  • San Jose Earthquakes – 2003, 2005, 2012
  • FC Dallas – 2006, 2015, 2016
  • Chivas USA – 2007
  • Houston Dynamo – 2008
  • Portland Timbers – 2013, 2017
  • Seattle Sounders – 2014
  • Sporting Kansas City – 2018, 2020
  • Los Angeles FC – 2019, 2022
  • Colorado Rapids – 2021

Western Conference Playoff Winners

There were no Conference Playoffs in the 2000 and 2001 seasons in the MLS, but there has been in all other seasons and the Conference Playoff winners for the Western Conference, that advanced to the MLS Cup Final, together with the year(s) they have achieved the feat, are shown below.

  • LA Galaxy – 1996, 2002, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014
  • Colorado Rapids – 1997
  • Chicago Fire – 1998
  • San Jose Earthquakes – 2003
  • Kansas City Wizards – 2004
  • Houston Dynamo – 2006, 2007
  • New York Red Bulls – 2008 (Now play in the Eastern Conference)
  • FC Dallas – 2010
  • Real Salt Lake – 2013
  • Portland Timbers – 2015, 2018, 2021
  • Seattle Sounders – 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020
  • Los Angeles FC – 2022

Western Conference MLS Cup Winners

The teams from the West that have won the MLS Cup are shown below, together with the year or years that they have lifted the season-ending trophy and been declared MLS Champions.

  • Chicago Fire – 1998
  • Los Angeles Galaxy – 2002, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014
  • San Jose Earthquakes – 2003
  • Houston Dynamo – 2006, 2007
  • Portland Timbers – 2015
  • Seattle Sounders – 2016, 2019
  • Los Angeles FC – 2022

Western Conference Competitors & MLS Cup Odds

The smaller of the two conferences sees 14 teams play in the Western Conference, one fewer than is in the Eastern Conference this season. They 14 teams competing are shown below with their current manager in brackets and their MLS Cup odds, which were at the time of writing (from bet365 Sport).

  • Austin FC (Josh Wolff) – 25/1
  • Colorado Rapids (Robin Fraser) – 40/1
  • FC Dallas (Nico Estevez) – 33/1
  • Houston Dynamo FC (Ben Olsen) – 100/1
  • Sporting Kansas City (Peter Vermes) – 33/1
  • L.A. Galaxy (Greg Vanney) – 12/1
  • Los Angeles F.C (Steve Cherundolo) – 5/1
  • Minnesota United (Adrian Heath) – 33/1
  • Portland Timbers (Giovanni Savarese) – 33/1
  • Real Salt Lake (Pablo Mastroeni) – 40/1
  • San Jose Earthquakes. (Luchi Gonzalez) – 66/1
  • Seattle Sounders F.C (Brian Schmetzer) – 20/1
  • St Louis City SC (Bradley Carnell) – 100/1
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Vanni Sartini) – 100/1

Season

This season all teams in the Western Conference will play each other home and away (26 games in total) and then they play another eight games against a variety of Eastern Conference opponents. This makes for a 34 games regular season, the same number of regular games teams in the Eastern Conference play.

Playoffs

Each Conference will send nine of its teams into the Playoffs, the top seven seeds are given a bye through to the best-of-three legs quarter finals, while the 8th and 9th seeds play against each other in a single one-game elimination match to decide the eighth seed.

From the semi finals on, each tie is a single game knockout match with extra time and penalties used to decide the winner.

Who Are The Top Players In The Western Conference?

Top players are always popular attractions for fans and if you are keen on watching the best the MLS has to offer in the Western Conference, then check out the players below:

  • Javier Hernandez (Forward) – LA Galaxy
  • Sebastian Driussi (Midfielder) – Austin FC
  • Giorgio Chiellini (Defender) – Los Angeles FC
  • Paul Arriola (Midfielder) – FC Dallas
  • Sebastian Ferreira (Forward) – Houston Dynamo
  • Jesus Ferreira (Forward) – FC Dallas
  • Douglas Costa (Winger) – LA Galaxy
  • Carlos Vela (Forward) – Los Angeles FC
  • Sebastian Lletget (Midfielder) – FC Dallas
  • Sebastian Blanco (Midfielder) – Portland Timbers
  • Diego Fagundez (Midfielder) – Austin FC
  • Cristian Espinoza (Forward) – San Jose Earthquakes
  • Eduard Lowen (Midfielder) – St. Louis SC
  • Doneil Henry (Defender) – Minnesota United
  • Diego Rubio (Forward) – Colorado Rapids
  • Martin Cacareds (Defender) – LA Galaxy
  • Johnny Russell (Forward) – Sporting Kansas City
  • Nicolas Lodeira (Midfielder) – Seattle Sounders
  • Roman Burki (Goalkeeper) – St. Louis SC
  • Bryan Oviedo (Defender) – Real Salt Lake
  • Luis Amarilla (Forward) – Minnesota United
  • Mamadou Fall (Defender) – Los Angeles FC
  • Sergio Cordova (Forward) – Vancouver Whitecaps

Who Are The Team To Back To Win The Western Conference?

With the two big Los Angeles teams in this conference, I’d expect them to have a major say in who tops the conference and I can see Seattle and Dallas also pushing into contention in that mix for the top four seeds.

The remaining playoff spots are very open and I think we could see Kansas, Austin and Minnesota clinch direct berths into the quarterfinals with Portland and Colorado perhaps set for the play in game.

Playoff Predictions

  1. LA Galaxy
  2. Seattle Sounders FC
  3. Los Angeles FC
  4. FC Dallas
  5. Sporting Kansas City
  6. Austin FC
  7. Minnesota United
  8. Portland Timbers
  9. Colorado Rapids
https://twitter.com/PedriniestaFCB/status/1629620628281016322

Do check back on this article to see how my predictions for the MLS West are panning out and also, follow the link to check out my predictions and preview for the Eastern Conference, which we published yesterday.

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