MLS 2022 Regular Season: Top Goals, Tickets & Predictions to Win
As the MLS season is about to enter its stretch run, the stakes are high for teams dreaming of reaching the playoffs and eventually winning the MLS Cup. That’s why we wanted to put together an MLS regular season guide to look back at what has happened and look ahead at what’s to come. Keep in mind that every game is magnified from here on out, making this the ideal time to get your hands on MLS tickets and experience the action firsthand. Let’s try to recap everything that’s happened in the 2022 MLS season thus far and take a peek at what’s on the horizon.
In the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Union find themselves ahead of the pack at the all-star break, with New York City FC and CF Montreal not far behind. Those three teams have stood out the most, but Philadelphia’s 18 goals conceded in 24 matches has made the Union stand out. Of course, don’t forget about FC Cincinnati, which has gone from being one of the worst teams in MLS last season to being a playoff contender in 2022.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles FC has owned the Western Conference thus far. However, it’s Austin FC, another team that was near the bottom of the table all last year but has climbed close to the top this year. Austin is currently second in the Western Conference, and with 50 goals, they have the most potent offense in the league.
Not surprisingly, Austin FC has the league’s leading goal scorer in Sebastian Driussi. The Argentine scored five goals last season but already has 16 this year. Not far behind him is FC Cincinnati’s Brandon Vazquez, another breakout star this year who has 14 goals at the all-star break.
Helping Vazquez this year has been his teammate Luciano Acosta, who leads MLS with 14 assists. Veteran Carles Gil has 12 assists for the New England Revolution, which is second in the league. Last but not least, goalkeepers Sean Johnson, Andre Blake, and Gabriel Slonina have all stood out from the pack. Johnson, who is hoping to make the U.S. World Cup squad this fall, leads the league with 12 clean sheets. Blake and Slonina aren’t far behind with ten clean sheets each.
Player of the Year Race
In terms of the MLS MVP race, it appears to be a three-horse race. First, there is Acosta, who leads the league with 14 assists but has also chipped in six goals, making him FC Cincinnati’s third-leading scorer. While Vazquez has been the one scoring goals, Acosta has arguably been the most influential factor in Cincy’s 2022 turnaround.
The next candidate is Djordje Mihailovic, who has contributed seven goals and four assists for CF Montreal despite missing time with an injury. If not for the injury, his numbers would surely be more impressive. But when he’s been healthy, he’s been a huge factor in helping CF Montreal become one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference this year despite missing the playoff last year.
Finally, there is U.S. international Jesus Ferreira of FC Dallas. His team finished third from the bottom last year but went into the all-star break third in the Western Conference. Ferreira has netted 12 goals and chipped in five assists, leading his team in both categories. He looks like the leading candidate to start up top for the U.S. at the World Cup this fall and could win MVP honors heading into that tournament.
Picking a Winner
At the midway point of the season, Los Angeles FC is the clear favorite to win MLS Cup. They have scored the second-most goals in the league and are tied for the second-fewest goals conceded. Former U.S. international Steve Cherundolo is in his first season as the coach of LAFC but has already done some amazing work. Colombian Cristian Arango is once again a consistent goal scorer, with veteran Carlos Vela serving as the playmaker. On top of that, Gareth Bale has joined the club and made an instant impact. LAFC also has Diego Palacios anchoring the back line with Kellyn Acosta controlling the midfield, giving Cherundolo’s squad incredible balance all over the field.
Of course, anything can happen in the playoffs, as New England found out last year, dominating during the regular season but not winning MLS Cup. New York City FC, the defending champs, are very much a threat with arguably the league’s top goalie. The Union has the best defensive record in MLS, making them a title contender. The likes of CF Montreal, Austin FC, and the Seattle Sounders should all be considered sleepers as well.
How to Get MLS Tickets
With 28 teams, 14 playoff spots, and half a season left to play, now is the perfect time for soccer fans to check out MLS games in person. Ironically, some of the best teams in the league, like FC Cincinnati, Philadelphia Union, and FC Dallas, have had some of the cheapest ticket prices in 2022. Buying tickets at the last minute is also a great way to find a great deal. Traditionally, MLS tickets on the secondary market are cheaper in the three days right before the game. Plus, in many MLS stadiums, tickets on the second level offer some of the best views in the venue, making it easier to get your hands on great tickets for the second half of the MLS season.