MLS Cup Playoffs: Predicting the Final Four in the Conference Semifinals

…two formidable teams will be decided by a narrow margin. With the MVP finalist Luciano Acosta leading the charge for Cincinnati and the season under their belt, it would give Cincinnati an edge over a beleaguered Philadelphia side, making for a competitive matchup between two teams with history. The match promises to be an exciting encounter, and the undeniable drama and tension will surely provide a thrilling spectacle for soccer fans as the MLS Cup playoff conference semifinals begin.
When the 2023 Major League Soccer season commenced in February, 29 teams had aspirations of lifting the MLS Cup. Fast forward to November, following the Thanksgiving holiday, and only eight teams still hold onto their Cup dreams as the conference semifinals approach.

The upcoming fixtures offer compelling stories, with the East and West both featuring 2-seed-vs.-3-seed matchups. The Supporters’ Shield winners are set to welcome their mentors to Cincinnati, while Houston and Kansas City reflect on a postseason history that defies geography and conference alignment.

So grab a plate and join us as we break down the conference semifinal matchups that are far fresher than the leftovers in the fridge.

On Saturday, the Eastern Conference will see 2-seed Orlando City SC take on 3-seed Columbus Crew at 5:30 p.m. ET. The match promises to be a captivating battle between a resolute defense and a surging attack. Columbus has displayed a highly motivated duo of Cucho Hernández and Diego Rossi, with a combined total of four goals and three assists against Atlanta United in the previous round. Columbus’ 4-2 win over Atlanta revealed the team’s strength and depth, with goals coming from multiple players alongside Rossi and Hernández. Columbus led the league in goals scored during the regular season, providing solid momentum heading into the clash with Orlando, which boasts a formidable defense and an ongoing 12-game unbeaten run at Exploria Stadium.

Following that match, 1-seed FC Cincinnati will face 4-seed Philadelphia Union at 8 p.m. ET. The rematch offers a fresh evaluation of formidable teams with mutual respect, a shared staff history, and much in common. Cincinnati, this season’s Supporters’ Shield winners, will have the home-field advantage, but Philadelphia, despite injuries and fatigue, have shown resilience and determination throughout the season.

Predictions for these matches include Columbus using their firepower to secure a close win against Orlando, while Cincinnati, despite the absence of key players, is expected to put up a strong fight against Philadelphia.

The stage is set for a thrilling weekend of MLS action as teams vie for a coveted spot in the conference finals. There is no shortage of excitement as the race for the MLS Cup heats up.

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