LAFC Playoff Hopes Could Hinge on Game with Vancouver Whitecaps

There will be massive playoff implications in the Major League Soccer Western Conference on Tuesday when Los Angeles FC hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps. Both teams have work left to do if they hope to reach the postseason. LAFC and Vancouver played to a 2-2 draw in July when the Whitecaps traveled to Los Angeles, with Vancouver notching a 2-1 win when they met in Vancouver in August.

According to BetUS, LAFC is a big favorite at home on Tuesday with a Moneyline of -190 compared to Vancouver’s Moneyline of +525. Meanwhile, there is also a lucrative Moneyline of +335 for a draw. There is also an over/under of three total goals being scored.

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Down to This

The Whitecaps are in a slightly more enviable position at the moment, as they currently sit sixth in the Western Conference standings at 47 points. A win on Tuesday could send them as high as fourth place heading into the final weekend of the season. However, a win alone on Tuesday would not be enough to clinch a playoff spot, even if it would be helpful.

As for LAFC, the situation is a little more desperate. Los Angeles is currently ninth in the Western Conference with 44 points, two points behind the rival Galaxy for the seventh and final playoff position. That means LAFC will likely need to win both of its remaining games and get a little help to qualify for the playoffs.

The Final Push

While they are technically on the outside of the playoff picture, LAFC is playing some of its best soccer of the season right now. Bob Bradley’s team is unbeaten in five consecutive matches, winning three and drawing two. That includes an emphatic 3-0 win over Seattle last week that should help give LAFC the confidence to keep pushing for the playoffs.

Colombian forward Cristian Arango scored one of the team’s three goals during the win over Seattle, giving him seven goals in his last four games. He is in great form and is arguably LAFC’s biggest key to claiming a playoff spot. However, the win over Seattle was the club’s first clean sheet since early September, so there are still things that LAFC must shore up defensively.

Not Cooling Off

While LAFC is moving in the right direction, the Whitecaps have been nearly as good coming down the stretch. Last week, a 2-1 win over Minnesota means that the Whitecaps have just one loss in their previous nine matches. While Los Angeles has Arango, Vancouver has Brian White, who has six goals in his last six games to lead the way for the Whitecaps.

At the same time, Vancouver hasn’t kept a clean sheet in five straight matches since a run of three consecutive clean sheets in late September and early October. The Whitecaps have conceded nine goals in their last five games, which is far from ideal. That could put extra pressure on Vancouver to finish its scoring chances and rely on someone other than White to produce goals.

Where’s the Value?

There should be a lot of value in taking over on three total goals in this match, for starters. Two previous games between these teams have produced a total of seven goals. Plus, both teams look far better on the attack lately than they do defensively.

In terms of picking the winner, the value is with Vancouver. Granted, Los Angeles has a lot of momentum and is a little more desperate for a win. But the Whitecaps have three wins in their last four matches, including a road win, making it hard not to back them at +525.

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