Prestige abounds at Lumen Field as MLS Cup holders LAFC travel to Seattle to play a Sounders team that has lifted the trophy twice and remains perennially in postseason contention (last year’s club-first absence notwithstanding).
Jack Collins here from The Game Day to look at the second and final game of the Western Conference Semifinals in the MLS Audi Cup Playoffs, happening on Sunday, Nov. 26.
Seattle Sounders FC vs. LAFC Odds
Seattle Sounders FC vs LAFC betting lines are current as of Friday, Nov. 17, at 9 am ET at bet365 Sportsbook.
- 3-Way Moneyline: Seattle (+125) • Tie (+250) • LAFC (+200)
- Total Goals: Over 2.5 (-118) • Under 2.5 (-106)
- Both Teams To Score: Yes (-143) • No (+105)
Seattle Sounders FC vs. LAFC Match Prediction
Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 LAFC
How do you split two teams as closely and intrinsically linked as Seattle Sounders FC and LAFC? The two dominant forces in the Western Conference have battled for supremacy over the last few seasons, giving us a host of incredible moments:
- Diego Rossi‘s incredible goal in Seattle as LAFC caused a massive shock in their first-ever MLS game.
- Laurent Ciman‘s sensational free-kick as LAFC beat Seattle in their first-ever home game, too.
- The stunning comeback from Seattle in LA in the 2019 Western Conference Final, shattering the collective dream of the Black & Gold, who felt destined to win it all that season.
- And the eerie 2020 playoff game that took place in front of an empty Lumen Field, when Seattle made it back-to-back postseason wins over LAFC.
These two sides are Western behemoths, and this is arguably the most evenly-contested game across the entirety of the Semifinals in either conference.
Second and third in the Western Conference, the underlying numbers throughout the entire season had these two sides up with FC Cincinnati as the league’s best.
But it’s been a long season for both. Injuries blighted Seattle’s attempts to reel in Conference winners St. Louis CITY, who were ultimately dumped out in the first round of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, leading the Sounders to ultimately accept the second seed. A lack of consistency in the starting XI proved costly as they trailed the St. Louis in the table throughout the season.
And LAFC have played a record number of games – 50 in all competitions, taking into account MLS, Concacaf Champions League, Leagues Cup, US Open Cup, Champions Cup, and now the playoffs. And yet, they will hope it’s a number that keeps growing here.
Seattle, boasting home advantage, are slight favorites. In their Round One Best-of-3 contest with Dallas, they looked to midfielder Albert Rusnakwho has been clutch in the most significant moments this season.
Not only did he score the winning goal in both of the two wins at Lumen Field in the playoffs, but he carried on an incredible record: All seven of the Slovakian midfielder’s goals this season have turned out to be match winners.
Some veterans, including goalkeeper Stefan Frei and brothers Cristian and Alex Roldán, are still in this Sounders’ first-choice unit. However, some superstars who have powered the Rave Green machine in times gone by have been moved into supplementary roles.
The once team-defining partnership of Nicolás Lodeiro and Raúl Ruidíaz is no longer the force it once was. Still, there are strong replacements in the aforementioned Rusnák and USMNT international Jordan Morris.
At the same time, the old guard are well placed to come into matches late and show their experience, whether the Sounders are chasing the game or trying to see it out.
The face of LAFC has changed, too. Carlos Vela remains in the No. 10 shirts. But his superstar team-leading status has been taken by the Gabonese sensation Denis Bouangawho has struck three times in LAFC’s two playoff encounters so far to add to his 20 goals across the MLS regular season.
The superstar nature of their roster has faded a little since last year – Gareth Bale retired after winning the 2022 MLS Cup, Vela’s minutes are being managed a lot more, and Giorgio Chiellini drifts in and out of this defensive unit.
The veterans are giving way to new blood for both teams, yet LAFC and the Sounders remain in good health.
It means this match remains incredibly difficult to call. Still, Lumen Field could be the difference, as the Emerald City Supporters roar the Rave Green on against a team that has become a consistent rival to the Sounders in the West. This one should be incredible entertainment.
Seattle Sounders FC vs. LAFC Best Bet
Both Teams to Score: Yes (-143) • bet365 Sportsbook
You’d be a brave soul to bet against Denis Bouanga continuing his relentless scoring drive, even at a place as tricky to go to as Lumen Field. But the Sounders are not without weapons and have been on the scoresheet in four of their last five games on home soil.
Both teams finding the back of the net seems a sensible option in a game where there’s so little between the two.