Austin FC vs Sporting Kansas City MLS Game Preview, Predictions, Picks: SKC On Spread

Johnny RussellAfter a couple of minor slip ups, Austin FC look to add another W to their record on Saturday (9pm ET), as they host a Sporting Kansas City side that travels to Q2 Stadium with renewed confidence after picking up a somewhat surprise win last time out.

In recent weeks, consistency has been replaced by volatility as far as Austin FC is concerned. Saturday’s hosts have now won just one of their last four, producing a run of form that has seen them tie, lose, win, tie. Despite leading not once but twice when hosting the Earthquakes last time out, Josh Wolff’s men failed to get the job done, as they succumbed to the pressure just two minutes from the end. Fortunately, they remain in a lofty position, though the league leaders are now six points ahead of Austin. If they do seriously want to lay down a challenge for the title of regular-season Western Conference winners, then they’ll need to resume winning with regularity.

The visitors have found no shortage of consistency prior to last weekend’s fixture. Unfortunately, it was consistency of the wrong kind, as they lost three Major League Soccer fixtures on the bounce. The tide may just be turning for Peter Vermes’ men, though. Not only did they beat the Los Angeles Galaxy last time out, but they did something that they haven’t done in a long time, and that is score plenty of goals in a single MLS fixture, notching four times. SKC fans will be hoping that such a win sparks an improved run of form.

Goals galore at home

One thing that has been something of a guarantee this time around is goals at Q2 Stadium. The hosts, alongside LAFC, are easily the best scoring side in the Western Conference. They’ve notched an impressive 28 goals in 11 home games, which in terms of goals per game, makes them the most prolific home team in the whole of Major League Soccer.

A dynamic attacking line-up of Driussi, Fagundez and Urruti has allowed Wolff’s men to flex some serious offensive muscles, though they’ve not matched that with defensive security, which is why they’ve started to become infrequent winners in front of their own fans. The hosts have shipped multiple goals in four of their last five in their own backyard.

Timely Thommy

The arrival of Erik Thommy may just have come at the perfect time for SKC, who for many months have been struggling to impose themselves offensively, but after just a few appearances, the ex-Bundesliga player has made a difference. It would be a lie to say that the forward was prolific in Germany, but he’s dynamic, direct and can certainly make things happen at this level, especially if he can find the form that saw him score six and assist four during a brief spell with Dusseldorf in the German top flight back in 2020, or the form that saw him average 0.55 goals and assists combined per 90 minutes for Stuttgart during the 2017/18 campaign. If the 27-year-old can strike up a bond with the likes of Johnny Russell and Daniel Salloi, then SKC might just have found the missing ingredient.

Visitors require more

This will not be the first time that the pair have faced off this season. In fact, it won’t be the first in the last month. Just two games ago the pair met at Children’s Mercy Park, where Austin walked away with a 0-2 victory.

An SKC red card after 43 minutes certainly did not help, and until then, the contest was rather even. Saturday’s visitors have now gone three games against Austin without a win, while they’ve never won at this venue, losing by three goals to one at the back end of last year. Both teams have scored in three of the previous four renewals of this fixture.

Take a chance on the outsiders

Many people will be expecting the hosts to pick up something of a routine win here. After all, they have the fire power. However, they also have holes in their defensive set-up. Moreover, they’ve found routine wins hard to come by at home of late, winning just one of their last six at home, conceding an alarming number of goals in the process. The cracks in their rear-guard should mean that even a relatively low-scoring SKC team should get no shortage of chances at Q2 Stadium, and if the aforementioned Erik Thommy can step up to the plate, then the visitors could start to convert on a more regular basis.

Meanwhile, SKC have picked up some encouraging road results of late. Sure, they’ve had more than their fair share of problems this season, and of course, everything doesn’t change just because they won last time out, but they’ve shown the ability to get surprising results away from home.

In their last five traveling games, they’ve beaten both Nashville and Montreal, and taken a point off Minnesota. Each of those three teams are in the playoff spots in their respective conferences, so don’t be surprised if the visitors upset the odds once again. So these are our Austin vs SKC predictions and betting picks for this preview:

  • Sporting Kansas City +1 on the spread @ +115 with Bovada.