MLS finals preview: New York teams trying to overcome deficit

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The second legs of the MLS Cup conference semi-finals are set to take place this weekend, with a number of exciting fixtures becoming do-or-die for the title hopefuls.

With reigning champions Portland Timbers not making the cut, 2016 will throw up a new competition winner from the remaining eight teams.

New York Red Bulls are one of the favurites according to the latest MLS betting odds, but Jesse Marsch’s men have work to do after losing the first leg of their semi 1-0 to Montreal Impact.

The New Jersey outfit finished top of the Eastern Conference in the regular campaign and as such elimination at the hands of the Canadians would be a major upset.

Bradley Wright-Phillips is the main man in attack for the Red Bulls, with the 31-year-old Englishman finishing the normal season with a division-high 24 goals.

The winner of their clash will face the victor of Toronto FC and New York City, in another clash between Canada’s finest and a team from the Big Apple.

Late goals from Jozy Altidore and Tosaint Ricketts gave Greg Vanney’s men a 2-0 victory in the first leg and as such City have a lot of work to do in the reverse at the Yankee Stadium.

Top goalscorer David Villa was lucky not to be banned for the clash after escaping retrospective action for lashing out in the first match, while Frank Lampard started on the bench last time out.

Toronto look like a side capable of going all the way and in Sebastian Giovinco they possess the current MLS MVP.

LA Galaxy holds a slender advantage over the Colorado Rapids after a Giovani Dos Santos goal handed them a 1-0 victory in the first clash at the Stubhub Center.

Landon Donovan will be hoping to add another crown to his trophy cabinet but Bruce Arena’s men will need to dig deep in the return fixture in Denver.

It remains to be seen whether the game could be Steven Gerrard’s last, with the Liverpool legend tipped to hang up his boots once Galaxy are eliminated or after their glory.

The winner of Galaxy against Rapids will most likely face the Seattle Sounders, who hold a dominant 3-0 lead from the first leg of their clash with the FC Dallas.

Three goals in eight minutes from South American pair Nelson Valdez and Nicolas Lodeiro gave Brian Schmetzer’s men victory in the first game and Dallas need a minor miracle to get back into the tie.

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