Leagues Cup Picks for Matchday 1
MLS and Liga MX will come together for the third edition of the Leagues Cup that sees the top two North American soccer leagues battle it outin a group stage campaign and a set of knockout rounds.
There will be 47 teams from the two divisions that will take part, with the domestic leagues taking a break as a result.
Here are our picks for Matchday 1 of the Leagues Cup.
- Orlando to beat Houston 2-0 (+950) at Caesars
- Lionel Messi to score anytime and Inter Miami to beat Cruz Azul (+228) at DraftKings
- Austin to beat Mazatlan 2-0 (+850) at BetMGM
- Dallas to win and over 2.5 goals (+249) at BetMGM
- Leon to beat Vancouver and both teams to score (+430) at Unibet
- New England to win and New York Red Bulls to score (+650) at DraftKings
- Juan Dinenno to score anytime and Pumas UNAM to beat Montreal (+382) at FanDuel
- Julian Carranza to score anytime, over 2.5 goals and Philadelphia to beat Tijuana (+306) at DraftKings
- Real Salt Lake to win and Seattle to score (+318) at Caesars
- New York City to win and under 2.5 goals (+347) at FanDuel
- Either Columbus or St. Louis to win and over 2.5 goals (-112) at FanDuel
- Nashville, to beat Colorado and make a shutout with over 2.5 goals (+797) at FanDuel
- Minnesota to beat Puebla 2-0 (+900) at Unibet
The Leagues Cup kicks off with an all-MLS affair that sees Houston Dynamo at Orlando City. These two are, however, yet to meet in MLS this year and are not scheduled to face each other either.
Nevertheless, it's still an easy pick for Orlando, as seven of Houston's eight MLS wins have all been at home. What’s more, Orlando has been unbeaten in Florida for the past three months and scored nine goals in its last three home matches in wins against Toronto and Chicago Fire.
At last, the debut of the legendary Lionel Messi on the shores of the United States.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will look to make an instant impact with Inter Miami, as it sits bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Cruz Azul won the inaugural Leagues Cup back in 2019, but four years later, it has started its Liga MX season with three losses in the first three games and scored just one goal while conceding six.
Messi will no doubt be licking his lips at making his debut against such an out-of-form team.
After three games in the latest Liga MX season, Mazatlan heads into the Leagues Cup with two ties, one loss and just one goal scored. It also lost its last three games in the 2022/23 season and even drew with Dorados in a friendly.
This seven-game winless run has been coupled with Austin moving into fifth in the Western Conference after beating Sporting Kansas City, Houston, Dallas and Minnesota within the past month. This makes it an easy pick for Austin.
Another all-MLS affair sees Charlotte and Dallas meet for the first time ever.
Charlotte is one of the division's worst teams in the past three months, however, as it is winless in eight games and it has also let in at least two goals in five of the past seven matches. With 40 goals let in, Charlotte is the worst defensive team in MLS this year.
Dallas' last five home games has produced less than three goals and it has managed to beat first and second in the Western Conference at home in the past two months.
Leon has already had success against MLS opposition this year after beating Los Angeles in both legs of the CONCACAF Champions League final, winning 3-1 across both games.
Vancouver Whitecaps has been very topsy-turvy in the past two months, registering sensational wins over LAFC, Montreal and Austin, while also losing to the likes of Seattle Sounders at home and Sporting Kansas City in Missouri.
After a CONCACAF Champions League final triumph and a 4-0 win over Pachuca on matchday two in Liga MX, it looks like Leon could spring an upset here.
Just six weeks on from New York Red Bulls' win against New England Revolution in MLS, the two meet in the Leagues Cup after a goal each for Frankie Amaya and Wikelman Carmona for NYRB that day.
The Red Bulls have, however, lost at home to Cincinnati and fell to a 3-1 loss at Real Salt Lake ever since that win just as the Revs smashed D.C. United 4-0 and Atlanta United 2-1.
Given how New York won the last meeting, it should, however, at least score in this loss.
Pumas UNAM has tied two games and beat Club Tijuana in its first three Liga MX matches so far and it also avoided a defeat in its final three games of the 2022/23 season.
At the same time, as its six-game unbeaten run, Montreal has lost 12 times in MLS and scored just 22 goals - only Colorado Rapids and Toronto have scored fewer.
Juan Dinenno has 55 goals in 127 games for Pumas, and he could get in on the act once more with one goal already in the first three games of the season.
Philadelphia Union is up into third place after a sensational win at Nashville and a victory at home against New York City in the past two games.
Tijuana has also already conceded five goals in the first three Liga MX games and finished 15th last season with only three wins from 17 matches.
Julian Carranza will also be hopeful of getting his 11th goal of the season.
It's the tie of the round when Salt Lake and Seattle meet on matchday one, as the two are right by one another in the Western Conference. RSL is one point ahead in third place and is on the best run of form of any MLS team with a sensational 21-game unbeaten run.
Seattle, however, has won only three of its 10 games.
We could see a tie between San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers once again. The two tied 0-0 back in June, and San Jose has since gone on to win just one of its following five games.
The same applies for Portland, so expect another tie here.
Atlas has been involved in just three goals in three games so far, scoring two and conceding one. New York has also turned a corner in recent weeks, losing just two of its past 10 games.
Cincinnati remains top of the MLS overall table with just two losses in 23 games and 15 wins.
With it also in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open Cup, there is nothing to suggest it won't beat Kansas and go far in the Leagues Cup. Kansas has let in 36 goals already and collected 25 fewer points.
The top two goalscoring MLS sides meet here with St. Louis netting 43 goals alongside Columbus Crew's 45.
What's more, despite sitting top of the Western Conference, St. Louis has lost one more game (8) than the sixth-placed Eastern Conference Columbus.
Goals are guaranteed in this one.
We give Colorado very little chance of beating Nashville this weekend, as it sits bottom of the Western Conference. It is also the lowest-scoring team in MLS so far with a terrible record of 16 goals in 23 games, and it faces the best MLS defense, as Nashville has conceded only 22 goals in 24 games.
Puebla has let in a stunning seven goals from just three Liga MX games already and with Minnesota beating Portland Timbers 4-1 and winning 3-0 at Houston recently, we give it no chance of winning here.
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