Philadelphia Union vs Sporting KC Prediction, Odds & Picks
- Philadelphia’s goalkeeper has been on fine form
- Success has been found for Philadelphia, albeit through narrow results
- Kansas City must improve attack from the poor showing it had earlier this week
Philadelphia Union vs Sporting Kansas City
Philadelphia vs Kansas City Predictions and Picks
This could be a close one. Assuming we see some similar trends, go with under 2.5 goals for Philadelphia vs Kansas City.
How to Watch Philadelphia vs Kansas City
|Philadelphia vs Kansas City Information|
|Where||ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (Bay Lake, Florida)|
|When||Thursday, July 30th at 8:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||Watch on ESPN, ESPN Deportes|
Following a thrilling set of round of 16 matches, we are now left with eight playoff teams in the chase for the MLS Is Back championship. The quarterfinals, which begin this Thursday, will be kicked off by the Philadelphia Union taking on Sporting Kansas City.
For the Union, hopes are high for the club that has been finding their stride with three wins and one draw in the current competition. Their attack has looked promising with young midfielder Brenden Aaronson helping pull some of the strings, the defense has been reliably strong and goalkeeper Andre Blake already has two shutouts in hand.
And despite their narrow 1-0 win over the New England Revolution in the round of 16, the Union doesn’t appear to be as lucky to be in the quarterfinals as their upcoming opponents…
A penalty shoot-out decided the fate of Sporting Kansas City earlier this week. Frustrated with the lack of a goal after launching 37 shots in their scoreless round of 16 matches against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Kansas City released their frustrations in the penalty shoot-out that finished 3-1 in their favor.
Will this be another close and narrow match for both teams? Is it unlikely to see under 2.5 goals? A few factors might say otherwise…
Expect Another Solid Performance From Philadelphia’s Blake
With 21 saves and two shut-outs in four matches, Blake has so far been superb in net for Philadelphia. The goalkeeper has yet to allow more than one goal per game in the competition and has emerged as a vital asset to the team.
Although it doesn’t take much effort to name a few MLS goalkeepers that have more talent than Blake, none have yet to outperform him in this tournament. His reflexes, which have helped create some eye-catching saves, have been outstanding in recent weeks.
His defense in front of him also deserves credit for the support it has provided. The backline has forced the opposition to take plenty of low percentage shots, especially in the last two games.
Signs Point To Another Low-Scoring Game For Philadelphia
It would be a stretch to say that Philadelphia’s attack has been underwhelming, and yet, the frontline has been far from the most dominant when compared to other teams in the knockout round.
Granted, they’ve done the work that has been needed to secure at least a spot in the quarterfinal stage, but it’s worth noting that Philadelphia has yet to exceed a 0.85 xG (expected goals) rating in any of their matches thus far.
Is this an issue? Probably not when looking at the bigger picture. The Union has been clinical when needed in front of the net and don’t take as many desperate shots as other teams. Their modest total of five goals in four games, coupled with Blake’s interventions in net, have booked them a place among the final eight.
Nonetheless, it has also put them in a couple of closely battled and tight games in the competition — which means we shouldn’t be surprised if it happens once again against a side that can make some attacking alterations of their own.
Kansas City’s Attack Must Be More Efficient
There are no excuses to be made when your team launches 37 shots within 90 minutes and still fails to score.
In their recent 0-0 draw with Vancouver, Kansas City struggled with getting anything past opposing goalkeeper Thomas Hasal. In fact, star striker Alan Pulido had more shots (9) in the game than the entirety of Vancouver’s roster combined (8). Were it not for the penalties working in their favor, Kansas City could have easily missed out on the next round of the tournament.
Luckily for fans of the team, it can be argued that this match was simply a small blip in what has so far been a commendable showing in MLS Is Back. During the group stage, Pulido and the rest of his frontline were fantastic with the six goals they scored in just three games.
Kansas City supporters will be hoping for a bit more of that in the attack as opposed to what was seen against Vancouver.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast.