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What to watch this weekend: LAFC and Philly fight for the MLS Cup

The MLS season wraps up with the MLS Cup this Saturday. We also have some intrigue in Italy and a story as we preview the fútbol weekend.

The Cup is here! No, not that one, the MLS Cup, of course! It’s probably going to be a disaster at the stadium, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun watching it from the outside.

We’ll let you know what else we’re watching this week, with odds courtesy of DraftKings.


Atalanta vs Napoli, 1:00 pm ET, Paramount+ (Napoli +105)

It finally happened: Napoli lost a game. Their 2-0 Champions League loss to Liverpool didn’t mean anything in terms of standings, as they still secured the group’s top spot. But they’re still undefeated in Serie A.

With a goal difference of +21, it’s no secret I’m pretty fond of the Azzurri. However, no easy game awaits them this weekend visiting Atalanta, the second-place team in Serie A. Napoli are five points clear of Atalanta, so the latter has a golden opportunity to make up some ground even if they can’t take the top spot. But I don’t see it happening. Napoli has been dominant all season, and one loss to Liverpool shouldn’t knock their conference.

José’s pick: Napoli +110

MLS Cup: LAFC vs Philadelphia Union, 3:00 pm ET, FOX (LAFC -135)

I might be overthinking MLS a bit. Two weeks ago, I said that Dallas would leave Austin with a win, and last week I picked against both home favorites in the semifinals. I went from 8-7 on the season to 9-12 in part thanks to those picks, and that doesn’t leave me terribly confident with only the MLS Cup to go.

The oddsmakers really like LAFC at home, giving them -135 odds in the biggest game in club history. The trouble is, this is also the biggest game in Philly’s history, so there’s no use in picking based on history, pressure, or potential glory. I truly think that the Union have the most talented team in MLS and should probably beat LAFC and win the MLS Cup…which is why I have to pick the home favorites in this situation. Dale, dale, dale, Black and Gold.

Christian’s pick: LAFC -135


Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid, 3:00 pm ET, ESPN+ (Real -180)

Story time: I attended a Rayo Vallecano-Real Madrid game at the Estadio de Vallecas in 2016, months after Real beat Rayo 10-2 at the Bernabeú. Not a single person expected Rayo to even compete, but the stadium lifted when Rayo scored in the seventh minute and absolutely exploded when they took a 2-0 lead in the 14th minute. The rain couldn’t stop us. We were making plans on which plaza to celebrate in just in case Rayo did the unthinkable, and a Gareth Bale goal in the 35th minute did nothing to halt those plans.

But then Real scored again early in the second half, and then Bale finished it off with a beautiful goal in the 81st to seal the 3-2 victory. Not only did Vallecas miss out on the party of the century, but Rayo ended up being demoted to the Segunda, finishing just one point from safety. Just a draw against Real could have saved them from demotion, but alas, nothing bad ever happens to Real. Don’t ask me why I support Rayo.

Anyway, Real Madrid is going to win.

Christian’s pick: Real Madrid -180

Season standings

  • José (8-3)
  • Christian (9-12)