The MLS is back, sort of, as all 26 clubs head to a bubble at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This tournament will run from July 8 – August 11 and will have some serious implications on this season, and next. The group stage will consist of three games that will count toward the MLS standings and the tournament champion will qualify for the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League. The MLS regular season is scheduled to resume after the completion of the tournament.
The tournament gets started on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, but we will be focusing on the Group A showdown between NYCFC and the Philadelphia Union on Thursday, July 9, 2020. This game will air live on ESPN and 9:00 a.m. EST.
Neither of these teams have won a trophy since joining MLS, but they both NYCFC and Philadelphia should be considered contenders to lift this trophy come August 11.
Below is my pick for the MLS Is Back Tournamnet action between New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union. All odds are from BetMGM Sportsbook.
NYCFC (+130) vs Philadelphia Union (+160) Draw (+260)
NYCFC got five games under their belt before the shutdown, three losses and two wins, but lost their last three heading into the shutdown. New York are 0-2 in MLS play this season as they fell 1-0 at the Columbus Crew to open the season and then fell by the same score at Toronto. There was just one goal scored in NYCFC’s previous four games.
The Philadelphia Union were dealt a tough schedule to start the season and would be happy to come away with a point. Philadelphia started the season with a 2-0 defeat at FC Dallas and then played to a 3-3 draw at LAFC. The game against LAFC will probably end up being the game of the entire MLS season and may also have produced the goal of the season.
Series History: These two clubs have met 12 times in the past and NYCFC holds a comfortable 8-1-3 advantage. NYCFC has won four straight meetings between these two, including a 2-1 win in their final meeting last season.
MLS Pick: With the weird start time, and neither team playing a competitive game in months, I am backing a draw in this one.
2020 Results: 74-57