Sporting Kansas City vs Los Angeles FC: LAFC Are Even More Favorites to Win the MLS
- Sporting Kansas City will take on Los Angeles FC this Saturday at the Children’s Mercy Park
- Columbus Crew have won one game in their last five MLS fixtures
- Los Angeles FC have won four of their last five matches in the MLS
Sporting Kansas City vs Los Angeles FC Odds
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Sporting Kansas City vs Los Angeles FC Prediction
Los Angeles FC are the story of the MLS at the moment after their high profile purchases of two of the biggest soccer talents of the last decade in Giorgio Chiellini and Gareth Bale. They were favorites to win the MLS even before their arrivals but their additions have got the sportsbooks to lean even more heavily in their favor.
Sporting Kansas City are a bit of a basket case at the moment. Their trajectory is moving in the very opposite direction to Los Angeles FC, currently sitting in last place on the Western Conference table. The two sides have faced each other eight times and have won four games each. Despite the record suggesting this might be a tight affair, the form of these two sides couldn’t be more different. Los Angeles FC are the clear favorites in this match.
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The last meeting between these sides ended with a 3-1 victory for Los Angeles FC back in April. Sporting Kansas City got out of the blocks quickly with some shots on goal in the early minutes before Los Angeles FC took control of the game. However, a brilliant solo run from Johnny Russell gave Sporting Kansas City the lead. Diego Palacios got the final touch and it was recorded as an own goal.
Cristian Arango got one back for the home side just before half-time. Ismael Tajoiri-Shradi and Jose Cifuentes finished the game off with two goals in the second half and gave Los Angeles FC the vital three points but it wasn’t an easy game by any means. Sporting Kansas City got off 10 shots in the game and had 48 percent of the possession but Los Angeles FC’s quality came through on the day.
Sporting Kansas City Need to Regroup Next Season
Things didn’t get any easier for Sporting Kansas City last week when they lost 3-0 to Real Salt Lake. Sporting Kansas City did well to hold them off in the first half but Sergio Cordova’s goal in the 50th minute followed by a red card to Roger Espinoza opened the floodgates. This sort of game sums up the season for Sporting Kansas City.
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Johnny Russell Has Been One of the Few Positives of the Season
This season is already a bust for Sporting Kansas City but they’ll just have to go game by game and look for the positives. Scotsman, Johnny Russell, has been one of the only bright sparks for the side. He has scored six goals so far and the little solo run mentioned earlier in the piece didn’t even count.
He’s also done this at a fairly sustainable rate with an expected goal value of 4.9 for the season. This is despite not getting the best of service. If they can get one real creative force around him, there’s room for a very reliable attack that could go toe-to-toe with the best defenses in the league.
The Defensive Record Has Been Shambolic
There’s just no way to work around this. Sporting Kansas City either need to add players that can make them a more solid side or come up with tactics that don’t let so many goals in. They’ve conceded 38 so far, which is the most of any side in the Western Conference. There might be some bad luck involved with the expected goal against value suggesting they should have conceded 32.5 , but this is still not very good. Kansas City’s focus should be adding players to bolster that defense going forward. Make that change and they’ll fare far better in future matches.
Injuries and Suspensions
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.
Los Angeles FC Have to Win the Big Honors Now
The likes of Girgio Chiellini and Gareth Bale obviously stole all the headlines in the match against Nashville FC but it was the more familiar faces of Colombian Cristian Arango, and Ecuadorian Jose Cifuentes who won Los Angeles FC the match. The former is now on eight goals and assists for the season, while the latter has scored six and assisted four. This has been key considering star man Carlos Vela hasn’t found the net in a while, still on six goals for the season.
Giorgio Chiellini Looked a Level Above Everyone
Legendary Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini might be 37 years old now but he’s still got some legs left in him. Only last season, he won the Euros with the Italian national side. Despite being on the receiving end of some shots in the early minutes against Nashville FC, he never looked fazed. He’s a nine-time Serie A winner and two time Champions League runner-up.
Not only has he been a great player. He’s also been a leader for the sides he’s played for over the years. He’s never been the type to take the limelight, always trying to pass on his energy and knowledge to others around him. This might be the difference in the latter stages.
Gareth Bale Also Made His Debut off the Bench
The Welshman went into this match with lots of furore around him. There were some visa issues prior to his arrival but with that taken care of, he made an appearance off the bench in the 72nd minute. It’s pretty clear that he’s made this move with the 2022 FIFA World Cup in mind but he’ll need some match sharpness for that – something he didn’t get last year at Real Madrid.
Bale is a five-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid and was crucial to many of those successful years, scoring important goals in big games. Despite souring his relationship with the Madridistas in his final years, he remains a player who can provide some attacking impetus to Los Angeles FC. Unlike Chiellini, Bale’s always been a captain and leader by example, flourishing most when his team is down and in need of some inspiration.
Despite being favorites to win the MLS this season, there will be times like the last game when Los Angeles FC are a goal down, and having a player like Bale will go a long way to helping them win big games.
Injuries and Suspensions
Right-back Erik Duenas has been out since last season with a cruciate ligament rupture. He’s only 17 years old.
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How to Watch Sporting KC vs LAFC
|Teams||Sporting Kansas City vs Los Angeles FC|
|Location||Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas|
|Time||Saturday, July 23 at 8.30pm EST onwards|
|How to watch||ESPN+, DAZN, 38 The Spot, KCOP 13 and Estrella TV|
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Varun Shetty WSN
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]