LAFC are the best team in MLS and the favourites for the MLS is Back Tournament. But who could compete with? Here are the top three contenders from the remaining seven quarter-finalist teams.
Los Angeles FC are the best team in Major League Soccer. Even without league MVP Carlos Vela, Bob Bradley’s side have ripped through the competition at the MLS is Back Tournament and are the easy favourites to win the entire thing.
However, with the quarter-finals commencing on Thursday night, there are still seven other teams in the competition, and some will believe that they can compete with the Black and Gold.
With that in mind, here are the top three contenders to LAFC in the MLS is Back Tournament.
3. Portland Timbers
When they want to, there is no better team in MLS at counter-attacking football than the Portland Timbers. They do, of course, have problems when trying to break down deep-lying defences and do lack creativity at times, often resorting to lumping crosses into the box and hoping for the best. Against LAFC, though, that will not be a problem.
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As they always do, LAFC will dominate possession. It is up to their opponents to soak up the pressure, remain disciplined in defensive areas of the pitch, and then look to exploit the space at the other end on the break. Portland are uniquely and brilliantly built for this style of play.
They have an experienced and capable backline, one of the best defensive midfielders in the league in Diego Chara, someone who is happy chasing the ball for long periods and breaking up play, and then Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco, who are sensational proponents of the counter-attack. Portland already got a draw against LAFC in the group stages. They could yet go one better.