The 2023 MLS Cup Final features two clubs looking to build their dynasty as Columbus Crew SC hosts Los Angeles FC on Saturday at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio.
Columbus Crew SC (16-9-9, 3rd East) are in search of their third MLS Cup title all-time and a different team from their 2020 championship-winning team. GM Tim Bezbatchenko is still in charge of building the team but this is Wilfried Nancy’s first season as head coach and star forward Cucho Hernandez’s first full season.
LAFC (14-10-10, 3rd West) are the defending champions after winning in on PKs at home last year. MLS Golden Boot winner Denis Bouanga has 37 goals across all competitions in his first full season, helping the Black & Gold to a runners-up finish in the Concacaf Champions League, and head coach Steve Cherundolo has yet to lose an MLS Cup Playoffs game.
Check out our MLS Cup Final prediction, odds, and best bets.
MLS Cup Final Spread, Moneyline, Total
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Spread: Columbus , LAFC
Moneyline: Columbus , LAFC
MLS Cup Final Betting Trends
- When leading at halftime: Columbus 12-3-2, LAFC 11-0-1
- When tied at halftime: Columbus 4-1-6, LAFC 2-3-8
- When trailing at halftime: Columbus 0-5-1, LAFC 1-7-1
- When scoring the first goal: Columbus 14-4-5, LAFC 12-0-3
- When allowing the first goal: Columbus 2-5-4, LAFC 2-10-2
Records are listed in W-L-T format. Source: MLS / Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
MLS Cup Final Props
Some of the player props available for the top stars in this matchup — from Columbus Crew SC attacking trident Cucho Hernandez, Diego Rossi, and Christian Ramirez to LAFC scoring duo Denis Bouanga and Carlos Vela — are listed below:
Colombian forward “Cucho” Hernandez was the 4th highest scorer in the MLS regular season and Columbus’ leader during the MLS Cup Playoffs. He gets the bulk of the shots as the team’s center forward and is also the primary penalty taker, a factor that helped him score a double already in the playoffs. He is favored to score and will be the first option for bettors looking for who can score twice , or even a hat-trick , and the first man on the board .
Uruguayan Diego Rossi, a former LAFC man, returned to MLS this season and has two goals in the playoffs. He is another solid option for anytime scorer for first scorer , which could happen if Columbus goes wide early. Rossi should be a starter which makes him an easier pick over Christian Ramirez, who has been a substitute throughout the playoffs but has the game-winners in the last two games for Columbus. An American success story, Ramirez deserves a look for anytime scorer and to score last .
No one in MLS, however, has been as dominant this season as Denis Bouanga. The French-born Gabon international has been a goal machine to single-handedly win games for LAFC this year in the Concacaf Champions League, the Leagues Cup and has four goals in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Even in the last game where he went scoreless, Bouanga is a disruptor and offers plus odds to score , to score first , to score twice , and to score a hat-trick – all of which could happen depending on the day.
Quietly, former MLS MVP and Mexican national team winger Carlos Vela is a player who can provide an individual game-changing moment and has been LAFC’s go-to option for penalty kicks. With his contract coming to an end, he looks motivated to want to up the price of his next deal should he stay in LA or explore options elsewhere in MLS, Mexico, or even Spain, where he starred for Real Sociedad from 2011 to 2018. “Charlie Candle” is listed to score and could score first , especially if a PK goes to LAFC early.
LAFC defender Ryan Hollingshead should also be considered to score given his four goals in the postseason. He has been key on corner kicks and that could help him find the back of the net in this game with Italian legend Giorgio Chiellini also an option on set pieces.
MLS Cup Final Analysis and Prediction
This will only be the fourth-ever meeting between these two clubs, with LAFC taking all three, but there isn’t much history to pick from. Both are different sides from their previous meeting in 2022 and are in their best moment of the season.
The edge goes to Columbus for playing at home, a reward for being the higher seed in the overall standings, where they were 12-1-4 during the regular season and have won twice in the playoffs. Hernandez has been money at home with 12 goals in the season and playoffs and will likely have a say if the Crew lift the cup at home.
LAFC’s 4-6-7 road record this year can be deceiving as their focus was occupied a bit by the many competitions they faced. Bounga has been a monster and surely has one more great game in him. If he gets double-teamed, LAFC has great options in attack with Vela and young Uruguayan winger Cristian Olivera to score or at least provide a threat in attack. The Columbus defense will have to pick its poison.
All the firepower in this game should make for plenty of goals and you’ll want to get on the O/U before the game if that’s your play. Three of the last four finals have seen over 2.5 goals and this one looks to be heading that way.
Pick: Over (2.5 at time of publishing)
How to Watch the 2023 MLS Cup Final
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023
- Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Lower.com Field (Columbus, Ohio)
- Network: Apple TV, FOX, FOX Deportes