Tuesday marks the first time a set of teams plays their second game at the MLS is Back tournament.
The re-adjusted Group A takes center stage in primetime, with New York City FC facing Orlando CIty and the Philadelphia Union taking on Inter Miami CF.
Before the quartet of Eastern Conference squads take the field, we will witness a unique situation in the morning kickoff.
Seattle has already played a game in Group B, but it is the first Western Conference side to feature in a 9 a.m. ET start time.
The Sounders did not look lively in their opener against the San Jose Earthquakes, but they do have a leg up on the Chicago Fire.
Chicago’s first game was supposed to be last Wednesday against Nashville SC in Group A, but after the expansion side was withdrawn from the competition, the Fire were moved into Group B to level out the six groups.
The Fire have been training in Orlando, but it’s hard to figure out what they will look like under a new manager, with less than a week to prepare for a new opponent and no game fitness.
All four Group A teams have that match fitness, and now we have to factor in a sliver of desperation for certain squads as well.
New York City FC and Inter Miami need wins to better their chances of advancing, while there is a scenario in which Orlando City and Philadelphia move on to the round of 16 with wins.
As always, our daily betting odds come from the fine folks at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders (9 a.m. ET, ESPN)
Odds: Chicago (+180); Seattle (+138); Draw (+250)
Usually I throw conventional wisdom in the trash can and burn it when it comes to MLS.
However, it makes too much sense to bet on the Sounders at plus value against a Fire team that struggled in 2019 and has a lot of pieces to put together right now.
Even though the Sounders did not score Friday against San Jose, they still put 50 percent of their 12 shots on goal.
If Raul Ruidiaz, Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris are more clinical in front of goal, the Sounders should put away Chicago with ease.
Ruidiaz was the only one of the three to start in the March 1 meeting between the two sides, while Morris came off the bench to score twice and secure three points.
In that match, the Sounders put six of their 16 shots on goal, while the Fire aimlessly threw in 27 crosses.
As long as the Sounders play up to their potential, they should breeze through Chicago.
Best Bet: Seattle (+138)
Orlando City vs. New York City FC (8 p.m. ET, TUDN)
Odds: Orlando (+310); NYCFC (-118); Draw (+265)
This is also a situation in which the better team (NYCFC) should come out on top with three points.
NYCFC has won three of the last five meetings with the Lions, with each of those triumphs coming with shutouts. The last two matches ended in draws.
The Pigeons will be shorthanded without Maxi Moralez, but they are well equipped to play well without him.
Valentin Castellanos, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Jesus Medina should intertwine well behind Heber, who was quiet against a stout Philadelphia defense Thursday.
In a sense, Orlando should play looser since it has a win in the bag over Inter Miami.
This feels like an obscure trend, but it’s worth nothing. The 8 p.m. ET kickoff has produced 14 goals in five games, and it is possible we see a more wide open game.
Best Bet: Over 2.5 (-150)
Philadelphia vs. Inter Miami (10:30 p.m. ET, TUDN, Fox Sports The Gambler)
Odds: Philadelphia (+140); Inter Miami (+170); Draw (+255)
Philadelphia is in great position to control Group A since it plays two weaker foes in Miami and Orlando.
The Union are coming off a shutout win over NYCFC and should have Sergio Santos back in the lineup next to Kacper Przybylko.
If Przybylko is able to remain closer to goal with Santos marauding out wide, he could be the best bet to score from both sides.
Inter Miami boasts a dangerous set of attackers, with Rodolfo Pizarro at the forefront, but the Union’s trio of Mark McKenzie, Jack Elliott and Jose Martinez should do enough to disrupt the expansion side, just like they did to Heber and Moralez.
Best Bet: Kacper Przybylko to score (+128)
Photo courtesy of Major League Soccer.