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MLS season update: LAFC still the standout side in Western Conference

Major League Soccer is in full flow for 2023 with the majority of clubs across the Eastern and Western Conferences having hit the 10-game mark.

The playoffs are a long way off yet - they start in October - but already spectators are getting a feel for how their team could fare this season with a handful of sides exceeding expectations and some big guns already playing catch-up. 

Here is a look at how the MLS 2023 season has unfolded so far.

WhatUSA MLS Cup 2023
WhereUSA & Canada
WhenSaturday February 25th - Saturday October 21st 2023 (regular season) & Wednesday October 25th to Saturday December 9th (playoffs)
How to watchApple TV
OddsLos Angeles FC +450, Seattle Sounders +800, FC Cincinnati +900, New England Revolution +900, Atlanta United +1200

LAFC the team to watch in thrilling title tussle

Both conferences have been intriguing and unpredictable in recent seasons but there is a gripping title race on the cards in the Western Conference in particular this campaign. 

Heading into the weekend, Seattle Sounders lead the way after 10 games played with experienced forward Jordan Morris topping the MLS scoring charts with eight goals. 

The Sounders have also looked to tighten up at the back following their anomalous 4-1 mauling by rivals Portland Timbers with clean sheets against Minnesota and Real Salt Lake and they recently booked their spot in the last 32 of the US Open Cup. 

Hot on their heels are St Louis City, who have been breaking records in their inaugural MLS campaign. This year's expansion team started the season with five straight wins with German powerhouse Eduard Lowen among those impressing in the midfield. 

But the club have since slipped to three defeats in their last five games and it remains to be seen if they can maintain a title push - the odds suggest otherwise with St Louis City +1400 to lift the MLS Cup. 

The standout team in the title race are, however, Los Angeles FC once again. 

The MLS Cup holders are two points adrift of top spot but have two games in hand and they are the only club in both conferences yet to lose a match this season. 

Steve Cherundolo's enterprising side are also preparing for the final of the Concacaf Champions League in which they will face Leon and, at +450 in the outright market, they are the team to beat in the Western Conference this year.

Situation looking desperate for Sporting Kansas City

A quick glance at the opposite end of the Western Conference standings and it is clear to see which club are having the toughest time of it right now. 

Sporting Kansas City have lost seven and drawn three of their 10 MLS games this season, making them the only club in both divisions yet to win a league game this year. 

The club's situation was summed up in a recent interview with veteran forward Johnny Russell, who simply claimed: "We just don't look anything like the team that we were...I genuinely don't know how to fix it." 

Their most recent defeat was particularly concerning - they lost at home to a Montreal side who have also been in the lower echelons of their division - and it could be a long season ahead for the Wizards.

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Atlanta's Eastern hopes could rest on keeping Almada

Over in the Eastern Conference it is New England Revolution and Cincinnati who lead the way, while Atlanta could also be in with a shout of topping the standings. 

However, United's chances could hinge on whether or not they keep star man Thiago Almada for the whole season. 

Diminutive Argentinian Almada has contributed five goals and six assists in MLS this term and at the age of 22, the World Cup winner is attracting plenty of attention. 

The current record for an outgoing MLS transfer was when Miguel Almiron departed Atlanta for Newcastle back in 2019 for $27million and Almada could yet command an even bigger fee. 

When the summer transfer window opens, Atlanta will be sweating as keeping Almada could be the difference between a deep run in the playoffs and an early exit. 

Clock ticking for New York Red Bulls

At the other end of the Eastern Conference, many will be surprised to see New York Red Bulls propping up the standings. 

In fairness to the Big Apple club, nine points is quite a substantial tally to have at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and, as per American Soccer Analysis, they actually rank first in the conference for expected goal differential and expected points. 

That suggests they have been very unlucky in 2023 and it could only be a matter of time before they start turning draws - they have six of them - into wins.

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