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MLS Cup Playoffs Round One preview: Homefield advantage a big key in Game 1s

The 2023 MLS Cup playoffs continues with best-of-three series to determine who will advance to the Conference Semifinals.

Five teams have won the first game of their first round series already.

In the Western Conference Game 1s that have been played so far, LAFC beat Vancouver Whitecaps 5-2, Houston Dynamo beat Real Salt Lake 2-1, and Sporting Kansas City beat St. Louis City 4-1.

The Philadelphia Union beat the New England Revolution 3-1 and FC Cincinnati beat the New York Red Bulls 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Game 1s.

View the latest odds to win the MLS Cup here.

St Louis taken to confirm Western Conference superiority

WhatSporting Kansas City vs St. Louis City FC
WhereChildren's Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS
WhenSunday, November 5, 5:00 PM ET
How to watchApple TV
OddsSporting Kansas City -150, Tie +333, St. Louis City +333

St Louis City topped the congested Western Conference standings after the regular season and the No.1 seeds will get a chance to confirm their superiority when they take on a Sporting Kansas City team that advanced via the wildcard rounds.

Bradley Carnell's men never really had a chance at landing the Supporters' Shield, finishing 13 points worse off compared to Eastern Conference table-toppers FC Cincinnati, but winning the West marked a fine start to life in MLS in their first season as an expansion team.

Kansas City won Game 1 4-1 thanks to goals from Logan Ndenbe, Remi Walter, Gadi Kinda, and Daniel Salloi, while Alan Pulido added two assists.

As a result, Sporting KC are +150 favorites to advance in Game 2.

Sounders look to continue unbeaten run into the playoffs

WhatSeattle Sounders v FC Dallas
WhereLumen Field, Seattle, WA
WhenMonday, October 30, 9:00 PM ET
How to watchApple TV
OddsSeattle Sounders -138, Tie +260, FC Dallas +425

The Seattle Sounders finished second in the Western Conference thanks to a nine-game unbeaten run which they will hope to continue when they host FC Dallas in game one of the series.

Seattle lost their first game following the Leagues Cup, slipping to a 2-0 Lumen Field defeat to Atlanta United, but the Sounders have subsequently claimed four wins and five ties to end the regular season with 53 points to their name.

Brian Schmetzer's men have leaned on their defense, conceding just seven goals in their last nine games. 

Given the nature of the best-of-three series, the home team could show more urgency on offense because it's going to be difficult to win on the road in Dallas.

Like Seattle, Dallas finished the regular season with a nine-game unbeaten run which featured a high number of tied games. 

Dallas played seven ties in their last nine, although they finally threw off the shackles in a 4-1 win over injury-hit LA Galaxy in their last outing.

That victory made sure that Dallas avoided a wildcard game but they have lacked potency on offense and that's an obvious problem against a Sounders team with the meanest backline in the Western Conference.

The Sounders are -138 favorites to begin the best-of-three series with a win and that appears to be a solid wager given how difficult they tend to be to break down at Lumen.

Ohio set to see attacking show

WhatColumbus Crew v Atlanta United Field, Columbus, OH
WhenWednesday, November 1, 7:30 PM ET
How to watchApple TV
OddsColumbus Crew -143, Tie +300, Atlanta United +375

Two-time MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew were the Eastern Conference's great entertainers this season, scoring a league-best 67 goals on the way to finishing third in the regular season standings, and they will host an Atlanta United team with a similarly impressive attacking record.

United scored 66 goals in 34 games but Gonzalo Pineda's men were let down on the defensive side of the ball, conceding 53 goals but still making the playoffs after finishing sixth in the East.

There was never a danger of Atlanta missing the playoffs - they finished eight points clear of the two wildcard teams - but there is a risk of their season ending in round one.

Influential Argentina international Thiago Almada is unable to take to the field in Game 1 following a Decision Day red card.

Almada scored 11 goals and provided 16 assists in the regular season, and he forms a lethal attacking duo with Giorgios Giakoumakis.

Columbus won 6-1 when these teams clashed at Field in March and this looks set to be another game filled with goals, so a wager on over 3.5 goals at +137 should interest bettors.

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