The 2022 Major League Soccer season is already in full swing, while three franchise teams based in California are all hoping to make this a year to remember. The minimum objective for San Jose Earthquakes, LA Galaxy and Los Angeles FC will be to reach the Playoffs, although given all three teams missed out on that aim last year.
But will the trio improve on what proved to be a disappointing 2021 campaign? Have there been enough squad improvements to make a real difference? And what do the sportsbooks have to say about the chances of our Californian teams?
Whichever team you are backing, get the lowdown on the top betting sites available via SBO, as their experts review and rate the best online sportsbooks, highlighting where the best odds and promotions can be found. As for which of our California trio of MLS teams will make the most progress in 2022, let’s look at their expectations.
San Jose Earthquakes
Recent years have not been kind to the San Jose Earthquakes, once considered to be one of the strongest franchise clubs in the MLS. They are one of the original founding MLS teams from the inaugural 1997 season, won the MLS Cup in 2001 and 2003, topped the Western Conference in 2003, 2005 and 2012, along with claiming the Supporters’ Shield in 2005 and 2012.
— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) March 28, 2022
Considering such a strong record in MLS competition history, recent years have not been kind to fans of the San Jose Earthquakes. Since being the Wooden Spoon side of the 2018 campaign, the Quakes have only reached the MLS Cup Playoffs once in 2020 and were eliminated in the First Round. In 2021 they finished 10th of 13 in the Western Conference.
Insofar as the sportsbooks are concerned, San Jose Earthquakes are not expected to shake the MLS during the 2022 campaign. They no longer have club legend Chris Wondolowski around to score goals, while the latest MLS Cup futures betting values them as one of the three worst sides, having failed to win any of their opening four games of the season. It could be another tough year.
Just like their fellow Californian rivals the San Jose Earthquakes, the iconic LA Galaxy franchise was one of the founding members of the inaugural 1997 season in the MLS, finishing as runners-up to DC United. Since then, the Galaxy has won more honors than any other franchise team in the MLS.
Another sold out crowd at @dignityhealthsp✨
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) March 19, 2022
LA Galaxy has won the MLS Cup five times (2002, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014), the Supporters’ Shield on four occasions (1998, 2002, 2010, 2011), the US Open Cup twice (2001, 2005), plus the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup once in 2000. The most successful MLS franchise has also won the Western Conference (Playoff) title nine times, along with topping the Western Conference (Regular Season) standings on eight occasions.
Although they have boasted stellar names in the past, including David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the current LA Galaxy squad is considered to be potent but not the most powerful in the MLS. They will continue to look for Mexican star Chicharito to score the goals, assisted by Brazilian midfielder Douglas Costa providing ammunition. After a mixed start of 2 wins and 2 defeats, the Galaxy are considered longshots in the MLS Cup futures markets.
Los Angeles FC
After the dissolution of the Chivas USA franchise in 2014, the MLS awarded a new expansion team to the city of Los Angeles, which led to the announcement in 2015 that Los Angeles FC would be the official name of the new club. Since their 2018 debut campaign in the MLS, Bob Bradley enjoyed a largely successful tenure as head coach, before ultimately parting ways last season after failing to reach the Playoffs for the first time.
3⃣ Goals. 3⃣ Points.
— LAFC (@LAFC) March 21, 2022
Los Angeles FC concluded their debut 2018 season 3rd in the Western Conference and 5th in the overall MLS table. Then in the 2019 campaign, LAFC won the Western Conference and topped the overall rankings, before making a deep run to the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals in 2020. Nevertheless, overall results were considerably below expectations in 2020 and 2021. That said, LAFC tops the list of most valuable MLS franchises, according to Axios.
Under the leadership of Steve Cherundolo as head coach in 2022, LAFC will be gunning for success, while the team roster still boasts impressive talents, including the consistent scoring prowess of designated player Carlos Vela. The Mexican shooter has 4 goals in 4 games already, while the team has drawn 1 and won 3 to start the campaign, getting the majority of sportsbooks excited enough to price them as MLS Cup favorites this year.
Amongst our trio of Californian teams, the roster strength and depth available to Los Angeles FC makes them the best option to achieve success, clearly capable of making a deep run in the MLS Cup. Meanwhile, head coach Greg Vanney will be hoping to make significant progress over at LA Galaxy, as failure to reach the Playoffs again could cost him his job. Finally, we can only hope that San Jose Earthquakes find some way to improve, ahead of what might be another barren season.