Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City Picks
Seattle Sounders (13-5-6, 45 points, 2nd place Western Conference) vs. Sporting Kansas City (13-5-7, 46 points, 1st place Western Conference)
When: Sunday, September 26, 7 p.m.
Where: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kan.
Point Spread: Seattle +1/Sporting KC -1
Moneyline: Seattle +280/Sporting KC -115/Draw +260
Total: Over 2.5 (-130)/Under 2.5 (-105)
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Last Time Out:
Seattle lost 3-2 to Club Leon; Sporting hammered Minnesota United 4-0.
Sporting KC handled Seattle 3-1 on July 25 at Lumen Field in Seattle
About the Matchup:
The battle for first place in the Western Conference makes its way to the Sunflower State, as Sporting Kansas City tries to secure its lead on Seattle, which has won the Western Conference crown in the playoffs in four of the past five seasons. The teams come into this matchup in very different situations, as Sporting is well-rested after taking ten days off since facing Minnesota United. At the same time, Seattle used its best players Wednesday in an effort to try to win the Leagues Cup competition against Mexican side Leon.
With the Sounders also down Nicolas Lodeiro after surgery, it’s looking like this could be a rough outing for Seattle. But the Sounders have also been here before, having been the only team to take Leagues Cup seriously, seemingly tire themselves out, and then smashing Portland in their first game back in MLS play. Can they do it again with first place on the line?
For the Sounders, staying healthy has been a real challenge, and fixture congestion certainly didn’t help. Seattle has already had to play much of the season without Jordan Morris, and now the Sounders are down Lodeiro again after he re-aggravated a knee injury in training following the Leagues Cup semifinal win against Santos Laguna.
That really leaves Raul Ruidiaz as the only goal-scoring threat that the Sounders have at their disposal. Although he’s probably the best pure scorer in MLS, he’s going to have a hard time finding much space in a Sporting defense that has shut out consecutive opponents and hasn’t conceded more than once in six of its past seven matches. The Sounders found out how hard it can be against Sporting once already, as they fell behind 2-0 in the first half and never got themselves on terms again. Another slow start would be a death sentence against a Sporting side that will likely press the issue.
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Scouting Sporting Kansas City:
After struggling through the past few weeks, Sporting seems to have things back on track. SKC had its own fixture congestion issues to deal with in July and August, but now that they’re past that, this team looks back on track to try to win the Western Conference.
As long as they’ve got Johnny Russell scoring, the Sporting attack is in great shape. Russell has a goal in three of Sporting’s past four contests, and SKC went 2-0-1 in those matches. When it hasn’t been Russell scoring, it’s been Daniel Salloi, and in the teams’ meeting in Seattle, both of them scored in the first half and put the Sounders behind the eight ball. Both scored in the win over Minnesota, and if either one gets an opening, they’re likely to take full advantage.
Dan’s Best Bets:
I don’t see a lot of goals happening in this one. Seattle knows it’s exhausted from Wednesday’s matchup, and the Sounders are likely going to try to get out with a draw and get themselves healthy for the rest of the campaign. So the Sounders are almost certain to play a defensive game, which is likely to lead to lead to few opportunities for either side, with the lion’s share going to Sporting.
As such, I think the best bet on the board is the under. This reads like a game in which one or two goals are enough to win, and I like the idea of taking Sporting to claim a win and under 2.5 goals at +350. If you don’t want to be that aggressive, in case Sporting decides to put up a big number, I think taking Sporting to win to nil at +225 also makes sense.
I think Seattle will fight hard for a half before tired legs become too much, so I’ll also play a draw in the first half at +120. If you want to get a bit more aggressive, I think you can get a win at +195 for a scoreless first half, but I’m happy to take plus money for a win.
Dan’s Score Prediction:
Sporting is the more rested team and should be able to get a win here, even if it takes them most of the match to get the goal. I don’t expect much from Seattle in the way of offense, so I think Sporting will be fine whenever the goal comes. I’ll back Sporting to claim a 1-0 win at +725. Bet this week’s MLS picks for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $1000 at BetNow Sportsbook!