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Los Angeles FC host Sporting KC this Wednesday at BMO Stadium. LAFC are undoubtedly the favorites to win this match.
Los Angeles FC are the defending MLS Champions and have started this season on fire. They’ve got two games to spare but are still in second place on the Western Conference table.
Sporting KC are currently at the bottom of the Western Conference, so we can only see one winner in this game. They’ve struggled going forward and at the back but have won their last two league matches.
Odds taken from bet365.
Pick: LAFC to win. (-200)
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This might be the easiest prediction all season. Until another team takes the title from LAFC this season, they’re the best team in the league, and Sporting Kansas City are one of the worst. LAFC have lost just one match all season and are playing this match at home, so everything’s in their favor.
Of course, there isn’t a lot of value in picking LAFC, and there’s almost no scenario where Sporting KC win this game, which leaves a draw as the only other viable option. LAFC have drawn three games this season, but not against opposition like Sporting Kansas, and it’s even more unlikely at home.
This game is a wonderful opportunity for LAFC to go on top of the league, so we don’t think they’ll fumble this. They should win this match quite comfortably.
Sporting KC have actually got the superior head-to-head record with five wins and four losses in nine games; the two sides have drawn a match. Most of these wins came a while back, however. In fact, LAFC have won the last three matches played between the sides.
In the last three meetings, LAFC have scored nine goals, and Sporting KC have scored just one, which shows how the fortunes have changed for both sides in recent years. The last meeting between the two sides occurred in July 2022; LAFC won the match 2-0 on the day.
Sporting KC were the home team in this match and, surprisingly, had a greater share of possession in this tie (60%). Cristian Arango (56’) and Gareth Bale (83’) were the heroes for LAFC on the day, with second-half-strikes.
Despite not having a lot of possession, LAFC managed to take more shots on goal, with 13 to Sporting KC’s 11, which turned out to be the difference between the two sides. We doubt the upcoming game will be as cagey as the last meeting between the two sides.
LAFC look in no mood to drop their crown. They’ve started this season like they started the last one. They beat Real Salt Lake 3-0 this week, which was far from an easy game. Kwadwo Opoku scored in the eighth minute to give them a perfect start before Denis Bouanga made it 2-0 in the 34th minute.
Mateusz Bogusz scored late in the game to confirm the three points. LAFC weren’t at their best after the second goal but showed their steel by managing the game and ending it with a clean sheet. They conceded 20 shots and 51% of the possession, which is a bit concerning. However, winning 3-0 away is never easy, regardless of opposition, and this should be the main takeaway from this match.
Despite losing Cristian Arango and Gareth Bale, LAFC still look really strong. The recruitment team deserves a lot of plaudits for assembling such a strong squad despite losing two stars before the start of this season. Bale, of course, arrived midseason, but he had a massive impact on their season.
The defense has been key to their success this season. They’ve conceded just eight goals all season, which is the best defensive record in the Western Conference. Of course, they’ve played fewer matches than the other teams in the league, but this is still quite impressive. The underlying numbers (11.3 xGA) also look good, so there’s reason to believe this is sustainable.
Denis Bounga’s form has been another major positive. He’s currently the leading goalscorer in the league with nine goals, This has eased the burden on Carlos Vela to get most of the goals. They’re lacking a bit of stardust this season after Bale’s retirement but Bale’s job was to help LAFC win silverware. They won't feel the nerves now that they’ve got their hands on a league title.
Sporting KC had one of their best performances and results of the season against Minnesota last week. They got off to an excellent start thanks to goals from Daniel Rosero and Daniel Salloi in the ninth and 22nd minutes of the game.
They had 57% of the possession in this match, and Minnesota rarely troubled them – taking just six shots on goal, with three on target. Gadi Kinda added another goal in the 84th minute to make it 3-0.
This was Sporting KC’s second win in succession. It looks like the tide is turning for Sporting KC, but it’ll be difficult to go three on the bounce against a strong LAFC side. The task going forward is to become hard to beat, and the upcoming game against LAFC is a good test to attempt that.
Sporting KC have scored just eight goals all season and conceded 16. The defensive record isn’t as bad as some of the teams above them on the table, but the goals for record certainly is. The underlying numbers don’t suggest that they’re going to score tons of goals, either.
They have got 10.3 xG this season, so they’re underperforming by a big margin. Even in their 3-0 win last week against Minnesota, they only took nine shots on goal. They seem to lack a goalscorer and a creative player, so their best bet for the rest of the season is to nick a goal early in the game before sitting back for the rest of the game.
This sort of strategy is rarely sustainable, but this might be the only way Sporting KC can collect some points. They also need to start matches at home on the front foot. The game against LAFC hasn’t come at the best time, but they must go through with it.
They need to foul, annoy, and ruffle LAFC to get something out of this game and something out of their season.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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