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MLS preview: Los Angeles FC vs. Sporting Kansas City


MLS preview: Los Angeles FC vs. Sporting Kansas City
The MLS returns this weekend. The highlight fixture sees last year’s Western Conference winners Sporting Kansas City travel to the Banc of California Stadium to face Los Angeles FC. Will either side win their opening fixture? Read on to inform your LAFC vs. Sporting Kansas City prediction.

Los Angeles vs. Sporting Kansas City live odds

Despite Sporting Kansas City’s success last year, it seems that home field advantage and the experience gained from their first season in the MLS is enough to see Los Angeles FC installed as favourites for this match.

The odds suggest the home side have almost 50% of victory in their opening game, with Sporting Kansas City and the draw both given around 25% chance.

The Over/Under might seem high at 3 goals but the MLS is known to average more goals per game than other domestic leagues such as the Premier League, La Liga or Serie A.

Unbeatable MLS odds

Bet with the best odds online at Pinnacle

Los Angeles FC vs. Sporting Kansas City: Key information

Date: Monday March 4

Time: 01:30 (UTC) kickoff

Venue: Banc of California Stadium

Los Angeles FC vs. Sporting Kansas City predicted lineups

Los Angeles FC

4-2-3-1: Miller (GK), Harvey, Zimmerman, Segura, Beitashour, Atuesta, Horta, Rossi, Nguyen, Vela, Ramirez

Sporting Kansas City

4-1-2-3-1: Melia (GK), Sinovic, Besler, Fontas, Zusi, Ilie, Gutierrez, Espinoza, Gerso, Russell, Nemeth

A close look at last season’s performance

In addition to all of the excitement that comes with the start of a new regular season campaign, the first few games are always interesting from a betting perspective.

Teams are still working to reach optimal fitness and are trying to make their playing style click after a few weeks apart. While this brings with it some unpredictability that can make betting difficult, it also opens the door to potential value.

Coming third in the Western Conference in their debut season will certainly be deemed as success for Los Angeles. After just 35 games in MLS, Bob Bradley’s side are one of the favourites to lift the MLS Cup in December.

Many will be thinking it’s too early to tell if they should be favoured against a strong and experienced Sporting Kansas City side but a look at last season’s expected goals figures from American Soccer Analysis may help shed some light on who is the stronger of these two sides. 

According to American Soccer Analysis, Sporting Kansas City outperformed their expected goals by scoring five more than their underlying performance suggested. Additionally, they also conceded just over three goals fewer than their expected goals figures suggest (indicating that they benefitted from good fortune at both ends of the pitch).

Although Los Angeles FC were equally as “lucky” in terms of their offensive output (scoring seven more than their expected goals tally), they actually conceded seven more than the stats suggest.

While anything can happen at the start of the season, it seems that Los Angeles FC are the stronger of these two sides (despite not going as far as their opponents in last season’s playoffs). When you consider that Sporting Kansas City will be traveling over 1,500 miles for the fixture, it’s easy to see why the home side are priced at 2.000*.

Is the value in the Over/Under market?

Only Atlanta United (70) scored more regular season goals than Los Angeles FC (68) Kansas City (65) and Sporting Kansas City (65) last season (the caveat being these are base line figures and not their underlying stats). 

Additionally, both sides looked quite fragile at the back, particularly Los Angeles FC who conceded a total of 52 goals in their 34 regular season games (an average of 1.53 per game). Again, this could potentially down to some bad luck at the defensive end of the pitch.

Unsurprisingly, both of these sides create plenty of attacking chances in their matches. Sporting Kansas City led the league in shots per game last year (17.15) and shots on target (6.09) with Los Angeles FC third in the league rankings for shots (15.50 per game) and second for shots on target (6.00).

While it may be too early to judge whether either of these sides will be MLS Cup contenders, there is potential to exploit the fact that both are strong in attack and relatively weak in defence. Over 3 goals is currently available at 1.934*.

*Odds subject to change

 

 


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