A couple of MLS outfits looking to bounce back go head-to-head at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday, as Sporting Kansas City take on the Los Angeles Galaxy (8.30pm ET). Both arrive here off the back of tasting defeat in the league last time out. This preview will analyze the clash and work out who can win out before giving our betting predictions and picks.
It has gone from bad to worse for Sporting Kansas City, who are still sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference. They were beaten last time out, while their hopes of having their season revived by reaching the US Open Cup final were shot down by USL Championship side Sacramento a few weeks ago. That is now five games in a row without a win, and Peter Vermes’ men have now won just one of their last seven Major League Soccer fixtures, losing five of the other six.
By comparison, the Los Angeles Galaxy have ticked along nicely. Sure, they are not inside the all-important playoff spots right now, which won’t please boss Greg Vanney, but it’s still early days and they are only two points shy. That said, recent form suggests that the men in white are moving in the wrong direction. Last time out, they were beaten by FC Dallas, failing to score on the road, while they’ve lost four of their last five, a run of fixtures which has made their involvement in the post season look a lot less certain.
Scoring woes remain
Picking up points at home is still something that Saturday’s hosts are struggling to do. Why? The simple answer is that they can’t score goals, or rather they can’t score enough goals. They’ve notched just eight goals in 11 home games, failing to score in each of their last three at Children’s Mercy Park, as well as in four of their last five. Just one goal in five games is nowhere near good enough, and unless they improve offensively, at the bottom of the league they will remain.
It is not that the hosts have been overly unlucky either, as they’ve been poor from a creative standpoint too. In their last five at home, they’ve averaged 1.1 expected goals, which does tell us that maybe they should have notched a few more, but it also tells us that they are anything but the most creative team. In terms of xG produced at home, Vermes’ men are the worst in the division, and by some way.
Road goals in short supply
Just like SKC can’t seem to flourish in the final third at home, the visitors have found it difficult to put their best foot forward in an attacking sense on their travels. The Galaxy have now failed to score in each of their last two traveling fixtures, coming up short against both FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids, while they have only scored four in their last seven away games. In total, they’ve notched ten in ten on the road, which is modest at best, though when we learn that no team has scored fewer away goals in the Western Conference this term, such a total goes from modest to somewhat embarrassing.
In term of expected goals, the Galaxy are one of the better road teams in the division. Only two Western Conference teams have created more expected goals than Vanney’s men, who produce a respectable average of 1.53 per 90 minutes. This tells us that with better finishing, they could’ve picked up quite a few extra points.
SKC on top
In recent times, it’s SKC who’ve dominated this fixture, winning each of the last two renewals, winning by two goals to nil in Los Angeles back in July last season, before winning 2-0 in front of their own fans at Children’s Mercy Park in late October. When it comes to home games against the LA Galaxy, Saturday’s hosts haven’t done too badly in the past, losing only one of their last ten.
Oppose the hosts
Sure, SKC have a decent home record in this fixture, and yes, the visitors haven’t been in great form, but if we look at what the teams have done overall this season, and dig a little deeper, it’s incredibly hard to go against the away win, especially at odds of +155.
For starters, the Galaxy have picked up more points (on average) on the road than SKC have at home, while they’ve scored more road goals than the hosts have at Children’s Mercy Park too. Throw in superior xG numbers and that away win really does start to appeal. While the Galaxy produce an average of 1.53 xG on their travels, the low-scoring hosts average just 1.00 at home. That could be the difference on Saturday.
Chicharito can get back on the scoresheet
It’s been a little while since Galaxy’s chief hitman found the net, four games to be exact, but this is no time to give up on Chicharito, who still carries a significant threat. The forward has seven goals this term, scoring 0.38 per 90 minutes, while he’s currently working with a very pleasing average of 0.50 expected goals. He also fires off a more than respectable average of 2.75 shots per game, while a match against down-and-out hosts represents a great opportunity for the Mexican to get back amongst the goals.
So this is our brace of betting picks and the conclusion of our predictions for this SKC vs LA Galaxy preview: