Sporting KC vs Vancouver Whitecaps - Prediction, Odds & Picks

  • Alan Pulido is stepping up at the right moment for Sporting Kansas City
  • Stats appear to favor a Sporting Kansas City roster that impressed in the group stage
  • Vancouver have too many liabilities in their backline to get a win

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Sporting Kansas City vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC Odds

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Match Winner Odds
Sporting Kansas City win -225
Vancouver Whitecaps FC win +525

Odds taken from BetRivers

Make no doubts about it: Kansas City are the heavy favorites here. After a strong finish in the group stage, they’ll easily have more momentum and confidence than Vancouver this weekend.

Sporting KC vs Vancouver Whitecaps – Our Pick

This is an easy one, you have to pick Sporting Kansas City. Vancouver will need too many factors to work in their favor in order to gain a spot in the quarterfinals. Kansas City could get a simple victory here.

How to Watch

What Sporting Kansas City vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Where ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (Bay Lake, Florida)
When Sunday, July 26th at 11:00 PM ET
How to watch FS1, TUDN, Fox Deportes

The MLS Is Back round of 16 continues, and on Sunday, we’ll see a battle between two underdogs who have largely flown under the radar in the early days of the competition.

Thanks to a 2-0 win in their final match of the group stage against Real Salt Lake — and Minnesota United failing to claim a win against the Colorado Rapids on the same day — Sporting Kansas City leapfrogged their opponents and clinched the top spot of Group D. Boosted by some help in the attack by Khiry Shelton and newcomer Alan Pulido, a place in the knockout round was secured.

As for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, they will be stumbling into the playoffs as one of the top four third-placed teams in the group stage. With only one win and a whopping seven goals allowed, the Whitecaps are likely far from becoming a title-contender in the competition.

The Alan Pulido Factor For Kansas City

Heading over from Liga MX’s Chivas, Pulido has had little trouble connecting with the Kansas City frontline. Much more than just a typical No.9, the Mexican striker loves to drop back, help build-up plays, win balls and distribute crucial passes in the final third.

With one goal and three assists in the group stage, he’ll head into the knockout round as one of the more efficient players thus far in the tournament.

Now, with plenty on the line in the playoffs, we should expect more of the hard-working forward who must show that he’s worth the reported $9.5 million price tag that Kansas City paid for him — a substantial investment on someone who could bring substantial results in the knockout round.

Stats Point To Kansas City Success

Despite the four goals they allowed in the group stage, Kansas City were actually quite good defensively in the group stage. No opponent had an xG (expected goals) tally higher than 0.64 and no team exceeded more than eight shots total in any of those matches.

Granted, in one of those games they faced a Colorado Rapids side that went down to nine men after clinching two reds, but Kansas City had a disadvantage themselves after earning a red in their first match against Minnesota.

If trends continue, Vancouver’s attack will have to either overperform in the final third or have some fortuitous chances that help them sneak past Kansas City.

And speaking of stats and Vancouver…

Vancouver Defense Is Far Too Porous

Vancouver, on the other hand, have been an absolute mess defensively.

In their two losses in the group stage, they allowed a whopping total of seven goals and 47 shots. Even in their 2-0 win against the Chicago Fire that gifted them a place in the playoffs, the Fire outshout Vancouver 27 to four. Those are some astounding and worrisome numbers for Vancouver.

A place in the quarterfinals might simply be too big of a task for a team that loves counters but also struggles defensively. Those counters could provide a goal or two against Kansas City, but it may not matter if the defense continues to be as fragile and delicate as it has looked in the group stage.

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Cesar Hernandez

Expert on Soccer

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. Email: [email protected]