LAFC are the obvious favorites as they are currently top of the table and have one of the strongest squads in MLS history. Gareth Bale, Cristian Tello, Jhegson Mendez, Denis Bouanga, Daniel Trejo, and Giorgio Chiellini have all joined the club during the summer. However, as good as they have been LAFC is notorious for losing in the playoffs and has struggled against teams like Austin FC. While the black and gold are no doubt cup favorites, do not be shocked if they are knocked out before MLS Cup.
Austin FC is surely the surprise package of the season. After a poor expansion season, Austin is currently second in the Western Conference. They have a great home atmosphere which could be important during the playoffs. MVP favorite Sebastian Driussi is a key reason for Austin’s success. As long as he stays healthy, Austin has a shot at winning the cup.
After a poor start to the season, Minnesota United has got their mojo back. They have only lost one of their last eleven league matches and beat Premier League side Everton 4-0. The Loons are currently third in the Western Conference, and will likely have a home playoff game. Emanuel Reynoso has been the key to their success, so look out for him in the playoffs.
The Philadelphia Union has been on a tear this season. They have won four games by 6+ goals and the season is not even over yet. Philadelphia has the best defense in the league and is undefeated at home. If they can secure 1st place in the Eastern Conference, then it is hard to believe that a team will go and win a playoff game there.
While Toronto FC is currently outside of the playoffs, they could cause some serious damage if they can sneak into the top seven. The main reason for their recent success is the Italian trio of Domenico Criscito, Lorenzo Insigne, and Federico Bernardeschi. Toronto only has one loss in their last eight matches and could be a serious threat both this season and next season.