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MLS Cup Playoffs update: Orlando the latest team to reach Conference Semifinals

Round One of the MLS Cup Playoffs will reach a conclusion over the coming days, but four teams have already secured their places in the Conference Semifinals.

Supporters' Shield winners FC Cincinnati, Los Angeles FC and, most surprisingly, Sporting Kansas City - who eliminated Western Conference top seed St. Louis City SC - claimed their places in the next round over the weekend and they have now been joined by Orlando City SC.

Orlando sealed their place in the Conference Semifinals thanks to Tuesday's 1-0 victory at Nashville SC, a result which gave them a 2-0 lead in the best-of-three games series.

With four spots in the Conference Semifinals still to be decided, two in the East and two in the West, it promises to be an exciting few days in the MLS, as teams bid to extend their seasons and remain in with a chance of reaching next month's MLS Cup final.

In-form Orlando edge past Nashville

After falling in round one of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, Orlando City SC have now made it through to the Eastern Conference Semifinals after edging past Nashville SC 1-0 on Tuesday.

Ivan Angulo's early goal was enough for Oscar Pareja's side at Nashville's Geodis Park, with Orlando having already won game one of the series on home soil by the same 1-0 scoreline.

Second-seeded Orlando gets a home game in the Semifinals and they will head into the remainder of the playoffs full of confidence as they are on a six-match winning streak, although three of those successes have come against Nashville.

Orlando are +750 to win their first MLS Cup in 2023, with South American quartet Angulo, Wilder Cartagena, Mauricio Pereyra and Facundo Torres likely to be key to those hopes - the latter scored 14 goals during the regular season.

Giakoumakis stars as Atlanta bounce back

While Orlando wrapped up their progress in two matches, Atlanta United and Columbus Crew will be going the distance in their Round One series.

Atlanta, sixth seeds in the East, had been beaten 2-0 at third-seeded Columbus in game one of their series, but they bounced back in some style to claim a 4-2 win on home soil in game two.

Giorgos Giakoumakis, who recently beat Lionel Messi to be named MLS Newcomer of the Year, provided a goal and two assists to help the Five Stripes on their way, with Xande Silva, Edwin Mosquera and Thiago Almada contributing the hosts' other goals.

The problem now for Atlanta - who are +2800 to win their first MLS Cup since 2018 - is that they must head back to Columbus for game three on Sunday night, with the Crew -175 to claim the victory, while the visitors are +375 outsiders.

The winner of Sunday's decisive showdown will go on to face an away clash with Orlando in the Conference Semifinals.

Real Salt Lake survive, barely

After losing the first match of their Round One series 2-1 at Houston Dynamo, Real Salt Lake were 20 minutes away from their season ending in game two, as they trailed the same opponents 1-0 at America First Field following Amine Bassi's first-half strike.

However, RSL, seeded fifth in the West, levelled things up on the night through Venezuela international Jefferson Savarino before prevailing 5-4 on penalties, with Houston's goalscorer Bassi missing the decisive spotkick.

The two sides will now meet in a series decider in Houston on Saturday, with the winner going on to face the eighth seeded Sporting Kansas City in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Houston are -154 favourites to claim the victory that would seal their progress, while Real Salt Lake are +375.

Union on course for progress

There is still a Round One series that has only seen one match played and it comes in the Eastern Conference where fifth seeded New England Revolution will host Philadelphia Union, seeded fourth, on Wednesday night.

In addition to the 10-day wait between Games 1 and 2, Philly's job got more difficult as star left back Kai Wagner was suspended for three games due to improper conduct during Game 1.

The Union, beaten in dramatic circumstances by Los Angeles FC in last season's MLS Cup final, won game one of this series 3-1 and they are +210 to wrap up their progress inside 90 minutes at the Gillette Stadium, with a New England victory priced at +120.

Should New England win and set up a series decider then that will be played in Philadelphia on Sunday, with the winner going on to face the top-seeded FC Cincinnati in the Semifinals.

Seattle-Dallas set for Game 3

In the West, Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas will face a decider at Lumen Field on Friday night, with Dallas having cancelled out Seattle's 2-0 victory in game one with a 3-1 success on home soil last weekend.

In Seattle's Game 1 win, Albert Rusnak opened the scoring with penalty in the 43rd minute. Jordan Morris sealed the win in the 74th minute. 

Paul Arriola opened the scoring for Dallas six minutes into Game 2, and Jesus Ferreira doubled the lead with a penalty 12 minutes later. Morris pulled one back for Seattle just after halftime, but Jader Obrian confirmed the Dallas win with an 89th-minute goal.

As second seeds in the West and with home advantage, Seattle are -143 favourites to win Friday's contest and set up a showdown with defending champions Los Angeles FC, while Dallas are +3500.

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