Major League Soccer returns for its 28th season and 2021 MLS Cup champions New York City FC are among the favorites, at least according to the oddsmakers, to take go all the way.
NYCFC has qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in the past seven consecutive seasons, and that streak looks probable to reach eight this year.
The club was one game away from playing in the MLS Cup Final in 2022 and, while some important names remain, there are some key departures that could make you think twice about choosing the club from The Bronx to finish as champs.
Let’s take a deeper dive into NYCFC, its chances to win, and which NY sports betting apps have the best New York City FC odds:
New York City FC Offseason Moves
The pillars of that 2021 championship team are gone and that was, in part, a reason for NYCFC taking a step back in the MLS Cup chase.
The breakup of the championship team started at the beginning of 2022 with the departure of rising U.S. men’s national team defender James Sands, loaned to Scottish club Rangers F.C. Former MLS Golden Boot winner Valentin Castellanos moved on to sister club Girona in the middle of the season and star defender Alexander Callens has joined him in Spain this offseason.
Maxi Morales, the team’s leader in midfield over the past seasons returned to play in his home country Argentina and goalkeeper Sean Johnson joined Toronto FC in free agency.
The club addressed the need to bolster the backline with the acquisition of left-back Braian Cufré on loan from La Liga club Mallorca and traded for goalkeeper Matt Freese.
Uruguayan midfielder Santiago Rodríguez, the club’s 2022 leader in assists, is reported to be returning but that has yet to be made official. If that solidifies, NYC will bolster what definitely looks to be a playoff-caliber team.
NYC FC Key Players
The club will count on the services of some young exciting players, including the Brazilian front three of Talles Magno, Gabriel Pereira, and Thiago Andrade. Defender Thiago Martins rounds out a strong core of Brasileiros that should lead NYCFC into the top spots in the East and potentially deep into the playoffs.
Here’s a better look at a few of these key names:
At 20 years young, forward Talles Magno is one of the rising names to watch in MLS. After featuring for just over 400 minutes in 2021, the Brazilian featured in every regular season game for NYCFC in 2022. His 7 goals and 10 assists set a new benchmark but he is expected to better those numbers in 2023. The thing to watch out for is if NYC decides to sell him if a suitor comes calling in the summer transfer window.
Magno is NYCFC’s lone representative in most online sportsbooks when it comes to the MLS Golden Boot race. If you think Magno can finish the season with the most goals across the entire league, Caesars NY Sportsbook has the best odds at +4000, followed by BetMGM NY Sportsbook at +3300, and lastly BetRivers NY Sportsbook at +1700.
Another young Brazilian for NYCFC, Pereira debuted with the club in 2022 and nearly was tied for the second-most goals on the team with eight. Combined with his four assists, the 21-year-old had promising numbers for only playing in 1,346 minutes.
This 27-year-old Brazilian brings experience to the NYCFC backline. With 2,155 minutes, Martins was one of the players with the most participation for the club in 2022 and he’ll be important again this year.
New York City FC Odds
MLS announced a new playoff format for 2023, extending the qualification to the best nine teams from each conference. The eighth and ninth seeds will play a one-game wildcard round and the following stage will feature the remaining teams in a best-of-three series.
Home field in the postseason is based on regular season positioning all the way to the MLS Cup Final. In NYCFC’s case, even a better record does not guarantee to play at Yankee Stadium as scheduling conflicts last year saw the team start the playoffs at the Mets’ Citi Field, with the rival Red Bulls stadium also a possibility.
All these are factors to consider when thinking about taking NYCFC to prevail as the champion in the now 29-team league. Also for consideration is that another wrench will be thrown into the regular season with a one-month break from July 21 to August 19 for the MLS-Liga MX joint Leagues Cup tournament.
Playing in the less challenging Eastern Conference doesn’t hurt, and that gives the Boys in Blue a viable road to the championship in a first full season under head coach Nick Cushing. Winning the East and going to the MLS Cup Final may be the ticket to look at.
New York City FC Odds To Win MLS Cup
At most sportsbooks, NYC FC is third on the odds boards behind Los Angeles FC and Philadelphia.
Scroll through the table below to see the odds for every MLS team to win the championship.
To Win Eastern Conference (including playoffs)
- Caesars: +400
- BetMGM: +500
An interesting matchup is available only on BetRivers, where you can bet on teams to win their general markets. There isn’t much value for NYCFC fans but it could just be a humble brag if you think they’ll absolutely do better than the Red Bulls.
Best Finishing Position (BetRivers, General Team Markets)
- New York Red Bulls: +170
- NYCFC: -250
Season Opener vs. Nashville SC
NYCFC starts its 2023 season away at Nashville SC on Saturday, Feb. 25. It will be a tough start on the road at one of the better home atmospheres in MLS but, with clubs coming off the preseason, the opening match could be a tossup.
You can find NYCFC money line at anywhere from +225 (DraftKings) to +245 (BetRivers) across online sportsbooks or from +235 (Caesars) to +260 (BetRivers) to draw at Nashville.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky