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Favourites for the MLS Cup in 2016

As the MLS season gets underway on Sunday, who will go on to win the trophy in December? Will it be one of the old guard, or will it be one of the new expansion teams? Well, the main favourites for the title are the LA Galaxy (9/2 – according to Skybet) and the New York Red Bulls (5/1).

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Let’s start with LA Galaxy. The Galaxy have been up there as favourites for many years now. They have won the MLS Cup the most times, and are also tied at the top for the most Supporters Shields (the regular season league topper). They have been a team that has attracted many world-class players in their time, from David Beckham to Steven Gerrard. This year, their team includes Ireland’s record goalscorer, and 2014 MLS MVP, Robbie Keane. He has scored 73 in just 108 games for the Galaxy in his five years there. He is joined this year by Ashley Cole and Steven Gerrard, two of only nine players to be capped 100 times for England.

At 5/1, the New York Red Bulls are second favourites to win the MLS Cup. They have also been graced by football royalty in the past, with Thierry Henry donning their kit between 2010 and 2014, scoring 51 goals in 122 games for the club. However, they have never won the MLS Cup, finishing as runners-up in 2008. They won the Supporters Shield in 2013 and again in 2015, but could not follow it up with victories in the playoffs. This year, they will hoping for goals from the brotherly partnership of Shaun and Bradley Wright-Phillips to fire them to their first MLS Cup.

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Both the Columbus Crew and Portland Timbers are 7/1, making them joint-third favourites to win the title. The Crew have had a rebrand in the last couple of years, and are hoping to hit the heights of 2008 once again, when they won the MLS Cup. They finished as runners-up last year and will be looking to go one further. The goals of Kei Kamara, who has been tipped for MVP in 2016, will go a long way to helping them this year.

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They lost in the final last season to the Portland Timbers. The Timbers are the reigning Champions of the MLS and will be looking to repeat that in 2016. Diego Valeri is arguably their biggest player, and he scored one of the goals in the final last year. He will be hoping for another good season to take the Timbers towards victory. They also have former Birmingham City and Aston Villa defender, Liam Ridgewell at the back.

Toronto FC are seen as one of the outside hopes at 16/1, but some Americans are tipping them for the title because of their squad depth. However, they have never shown their strength on the field. Their squad includes the likes of Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, both US internationals, Will Johnson, a Canadian international, and Sebastian Giovinco, who scored 22 in 33 in his first season in Toronto last year. That is a squad worthy of winning titles, but they can they do it in 2016?


What about the new boys?

Both New York City FC and Orlando City had their first season in the MLS in 2015 after being the two latest expansion teams to join the league. NYCFC have a shedload of talent in midfield, including Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo. They also have David Villa up top and with World Cup winner Patrick Vieira in charge for the 2016 season, they could improve on last year’s 8th place in the Easter Conference.

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Orlando City’s main man is Kaka. The Brazilian midfielder was influential for Orlando last season, with both goals and assists. However, they only managed to finish 7th in the Eastern Conference, falling just short of the MLS Cup playoffs. With the addition of Antonio Nocerino in midfield, and the form of Cyle Larin, who was the MLS Rookie of the Year in 2015, the Lions have a good chance of making the playoffs this season.


There are three main challengers for me. It will come down to who can finish strongly at the end of the season between the LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and Portland Timbers. The Timbers are the reigning Champions and would love to win it again while the Galaxy would love to add a sixth MLS Cup to their trophy cabinet. For the Red Bulls, they want their first MLS Cup, and this could be their year.

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