Minnesota United players celebrate after a goal by Bakaye Dibassy, center, during the first half of the team’s MLS soccer match against Sporting Kansas City on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, Kansas City, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
- The Seattle Sounders will host Minnesota United in the MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Finals on Monday, December 7, 2020
- Seattle has won 14-straight home playoff games
- See the odds for this Conference Finals match along with our preview and best bet below
The second-place team in the Western Conference will host the fourth-seed when the Seattle Sounders vs Minnesota United MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Finals match kicks off at 9:30 pm EST on Monday, December 7, 2020.
It will be the first match between these sides this season, though it’s a matchup that has heavily favored the Sounders in past seasons as they’ve never lost to the Loons. The winner of Monday’s match will face either Columbus or New England in the MLS Cup Final. This is also the furthest Minnesota has ever reached in the playoffs.
Let’s break down this Western Conference Finals matchup between Seattle and Minnesota and provide a best bet for the match.
Seattle Sounders vs Minnesota United Odds
|Seattle Sounders vs Minnesota United||SEA -0.5, -1 (-105) | MIN +0.5, +1 (-111)||SEA -138 | MIN +350 | DRAW +280||Ov 2.5 (-143) | Un 2.5 (+110)|
All odds taken Dec 6 at Bet365
Narrow Sounders Win Over Dallas Sends Seattle to Final Four
Though Seattle had just one win in six heading into the conclusion of the regular season, they finished strong with a 4-1 win over San Jose on Decision Day. That momentum carried over to the MLS Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 home win over Los Angeles FC. They were fortunate that several of LAFC’s starters missed out due to positive coronavirus tests though.
Regardless, all three of Seattle’s star men factored into the scoring with Nico Lodeiro, Raul Ruidiaz and Jordan Morris scoring for the Sounders. That sent them into the Conference Semifinals against FC Dallas last Tuesday.
Though Seattle kept Dallas to zero shots on target they were still made to work for it, only narrowly coming out ahead with a 1-0 win. This time it wasn’t one of the Sounders’ stars who grabbed the scoring highlights. Instead, defender Shane O’Neill scored on a Lodeiro corner kick in the 49′ minute. Dallas would hit the post and have another shot cleared off the line in the half but failed to draw level.
O’Neill’s goal was the first time someone outside of the “Big Three” had scored for the Sounders since Will Bruin scored in a 1-1 draw to Portland back on October 22. Since, all 11 Sounders’ goals across the next five games prior to Tuesday had been scored by Lodeiro, Morris or Ruidiaz, along with one own goal. A bet on any of those three as an anytime scorer on Monday offers odds of +175, +125 and -105 respectively.
The assist gave Lodeiro assists in six-straight playoff games which is a new league record. He now has a goal and two assists in this year’s playoffs.
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) December 4, 2020
It’s the second-straight year Seattle has eliminated Dallas in the playoffs. It also sets up the Sounders with a chance to make their fourth MLS Cup Final in five years should they defeat Minnesota on Monday night.
Minnesota United Wins 3-0 Again
Minnesota United may be the longshots to win MLS Cup at +400 odds, but they are arguably the hottest team in the league right now.
Adrian Heath’s United hasn’t tasted defeat since September 27. Since then, they have been an impressive 6-4-0 (WDL). After a 3-0 Decision Day win over FC Dallas, they ended the regular season with wins in three of four.
The Western Conference Semifinals saw Minnesota start slow against Colorado, however, they scored against the run of play and never looked back. Kevin Molino scored in the 22′ minute and Robin Lod (54′) and Molino again in the 79′ allowed the Loons to cruise to a second 3-0 win.
After having their game moved from Wednesday to Thursday, Minnesota went into Kansas City as underdogs in the Conference Semifinals. They looked that way in the early stages, conceding several chances to SKC and being bailed out by timely saves from young Canadian goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair.
But again, they weathered the storm and struck early, and again it was Molino, scoring in the 27′ minute. Molino added his second just minutes later in the 35′ minute and Bakaye Dibassy added a third in the 39′ which effectively shut the door on SKC. For the third-straight game, the Loons came out on top 3-0.
Molino will rightfully get the highlights for scoring two goals in three-straight matches, but his partnership with Emanuel Reynoso has been critical to Minnesota’s success.
Always nice to leave an entire defence standing still. 🤫
Emanuel Reynoso and Kevin Molino combining for @MNUFC. 🔥
— FotMob (@FotMob) December 4, 2020
Reynoso assisted on all three of Minnesota’s goals against SKC and also on all three of their goals against Colorado—the first player to do so in multiple MLS playoff games. In their Decision Day win over Dallas, Reynoso scored once and also assisted on both of Molino’s goals. On Reynoso’s goal in that game, Molino picked up an assist as well.
So of Minnesota’s last nine goals in three games, Reynoso has one goal and eight assists. While Molino has six goals and one assist. The two have also been directly involved together in seven of those nine goals.
Look a little further back and for Reynoso, he has ten assists and his last five matches, assisting on 10/12 goals for the team. Since he joined the team in September, the Loons have lost just once when the Argentine has started.
If Minnesota has a chance at the upset, surely one or both will factor into the scoring. Molino currently has incredible odds at +275 as an anytime goalscorer. Reynoso is listed at +500.
Seattle Sounders vs Minnesota United Stats
|11-6-5||Regular Season Record (WDL)||9-7-5|
|44/41.8||Goals For / Expected Goals||36/29.8|
|23/20.9||Goals Against / Expected Goals Against||26/36.3|
|277/93||Shots / Shots on Target||282/100|
Minnesota’s time in MLS has been short-lived but since their inception in 2017, they’ve struggled mightily against Seattle.
Last year Seattle won 1-0 at home and the teams drew 1-1 in Minnesota. During the 2018 season, Seattle swept the season series winning 3-1 at home and 2-1 on the road. And in 2017 Seattle won 2-1 at home and 4-0 on the road.
That makes the Sounders perfect at home and undefeated overall against the Loons at 5-1-0. They’ve also outscored them 14-5.
It’s worth noting though that Minnesota was facing a similar situation having never defeated Sporting Kansas on the road heading into Thursday’s match, yet still came out on top.
Seattle Sounders vs Minnesota United Trends and Best Bet
Seattle is at home, healthy and will have had two extra days of rest for this match. They’re also knocking on the door of dynasty status if they make the finals again and can also win their third title in five years.
The Sounders rarely lose in general. But at home, at Lumen Field they have been damn near unstoppable. In their past 23 home matches, they’ve lost just twice with a 16-5-2 (WDL) record in MLS play. They also haven’t allowed more than one goal in a home match in their past eight, however, have conceded once in six of those eight.
Another stat: The Sounders have outscored their opponents 34-12 on their current 14-match home playoff win streak dating back to 2014.
Brian Schmetzer is a perfect 11-0-0.
— Ryan Krasnoo (@RyanKras) December 3, 2020
As impressive as all those home numbers look, maybe an even more impressive stat is the fact that the Sounders have never lost or drawn a game all season when they have taken a lead.
When Seattle is leading at half they have six wins on the season to go with one draw and zero defeats. When drawn at the half they have five wins, three draws and two defeats. Even when they don’t start strong, Brian Schmetzer has proven capable of making the halftime adjustments to allow his team to come out fast in the second half. The Sounders have scored four goals in minutes 46-60, the most in the league.
On the Minnesota side, they are later scorers themselves, having scored 11 times in the final 15 minutes of matches this season. So winning or losing come Monday night, they could be good value for a late goal.
Before the game, Bebelo Reynoso honored his idol.
Then he put on a show that any #10 would be proud of. pic.twitter.com/47OQi2NEa8
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) December 4, 2020
Minnesota’s 26 goals allowed is a strong mark. However, their 36.3 expected goals against according to Fbref ranks way down in 21st and tells a story of a team that may have over-achieved defensively.
In Seattle’s two playoff games their xGs have been 1.5 and 1.1 compared to their opponents’ 1.8 and 0.7. While Minnesota had xGs of 2.5 and 1.4, with xGAs of 2.6 and 1.6.
My latest column for @MLS.
— Thoughts on similarities between the Molino-Reynoso duo & Lodeiro-Morris
— quick thoughts on the Western conference final
— Steve Zakuani (@Zakuani11) December 4, 2020
I can’t take anything away from what Minnesota has done over the past few months. Could they pull a shocker? Sure. They have the pieces. But going up against Seattle and their talented offensive weapons is much different than defeating the Rapids (the second-lowest scoring Western playoff team) or SKC who were missing Alan Pulido.
Minnesota could’ve easily fallen behind early in both of those games as well. They were slow out of the gates and both Colorado and SKC should’ve been ahead early. If they aren’t ready to go in this one and let Seattle score early, they’ll be in trouble.
I’d love to pick an upset but it’s Seattle and the Sounders just don’t lose at home or in the playoffs. A Sounders win has shortened from -120 to -138 in the past couple of days. Both teams to score has shortened from -134 to -150. I think the best value bet may be to take a Seattle win with both teams scoring. That too has shortened from +275 to +240.
Pick: Seattle Win and Both Teams to Score (+240)