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Austin FC to win
Pick made on 08/11/2022 at 06:021 PM EST
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This is a clash between two sides at the opposite ends of the table. Austin FC are flying high in second place on the Western Conference table, whereas Sporting Kansas City are at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
The two sides have contested only four times with Austin FC coming out on top twice, Sporting KC getting one win and one match ending in a draw. Austin FC are the overwhelming favorites heading into this match.
The last meeting between these two sides was two weeks ago. The match essentially ended when Cameron Duke received a red card to put Sporting KC down to 10 men. Alexander Ring and Sebastian Driussi scored their goals towards the end of each half to give Austin FC a comfortable win.
Despite going a man down by half-time, Sporting KC took more shots in this game, 10 to of them with six on target compared to Austin FC’s seven. The two shots on target found the back of the net in this one.
Austin FC can’t afford to be complacent heading into this match. They’ve been on a strange run and a win will help everyone at the club settle.
There’s been some good fortune involved in Austin FC’s ascension to second place in the Western Conference and the San Jose Earthquakes made it their job to expose them in their last match.
The match ended 3-3 with Jeremy Ebobisse’s late goal giving the Earthquakes a well-earned draw. Austin FC are in a fairly comfortable position at the moment. Their second place in the Western Conference is under no threat with the next best side on the table nine points below them.
Sebastian Driussi has been in a tier of his own this season with 16 goals to his name. The Argentine has also chipped in with five assists as well. On top of all that, he’s managed to apply 20.87 pressure per game on average for the last 365 days. There’s not a lot more that you can ask from a forward.
He has been a bit fortunate with an expected goal value of 10.5 and that is likely to catch up with him but it matters little at the moment when he’s already hit 16 goals.
For now, the underlying metrics shouldn’t matter much for Austin FC because the gap between them and those below them is too big but there’s been a lot of luck involved in their second place standing. They’ve scored 50 goals, more than any other team in the league, despite having an expected goal value of just 36.9.
They’ve also conceded 31 goals despite having an expected goal against value of 37. Their goal difference stands at +19 but their expected goal differential is -0.1. This is the sort of run that is almost certainly not going to be sustainable for the long run and the team needs to make certain that they’re not going to let the points table get to their head when they get into the playoffs.
Hector Jiminez and Jhojan Valencia are both unavailable due to injuries.
A win against LA Galaxy, not to mention a win that included four goals for the home side, will bring some joy to Sporting Kansas City fans, who’ve had to undergo a miserable campaign that sees them at the bottom of the Western conference standings.
They’ll be hoping that their recent win along with Austin FC’s patchy form in recent weeks could coincide and give them some points but it remains quite unlikely.
Scotsman, Johnny Russell, was carrying the team for a short time but hasn’t been able to affect games more recently. They simply have to get more weapons up front in the coming seasons. No team has scored fewer than their 23 goals and this is pretty much the rate that they’re supposed to be going at with an expected goal value of 23.2.
As always, when the problems are so obvious, so are the solutions. It’s not up to the club to make sure that this isn’t a problem in the coming season. At least two attacking players will be required because even a Gareth Bale type figure won’t be able to help an attack that is this poor.
They’ve conceded 44 goals so far, which is the second most of any side in the Western conference. There might be some bad luck involved with the expected goal against value suggesting they have conceded 36.2 but those are great underlying numbers either. Part of the issue is that when there isn’t enough of an attacking threat to pin opposition defenders, teams will have no trouble throwing lots of attacks your way.
Normally, there are a few positives to work from. It could be going forward or defensively or a player performing despite all the mitigating factors but that just hasn’t been the case for Sporting Kansas City.
Austin FC might not even have to be at their best to get a win in this match.
Center-forward Alan Pulido has been out since January with a knee surgery and no expected return date. Gadi Kinda, the attacking midfielder, has also got no expected return date. He’s also been out with a knee surgery since April.
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|Teams||Austin FC vs Sporting Kansas City|
|Location||Q2 Stadium, Texas|
|Time||Saturday, 13 August at 9pm ET onwards|
|How to watch||ESPN+, DAZN, CW Austin, UniMas Austin and 38 The Spot|
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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