Sporting Kansas City vs Minnesota Utd Predictions, Picks, Betting Preview: SKC on Moneyline

Johnny RussellSporting Kansas City welcome Minnesota United to Children’s Mercy Park in the MLS on Saturday (8.30pm ET) and they have contrasting recent fortunes. The visitors go in search of a first win of the month, while the hosts will be looking to record another positive result as they try to salvage their season.

It’s very hard to criticize the recent efforts of the SKC players, who really are doing everything they can to turn things around after a dreadful start to the campaign. Peter Vermes’ men made light work of beating DC United at this venue last time out, and they’re now unbeaten in five Major League Soccer games, three of which they’ve won. It may well be a bit late in the day so to speak, but SKC have certainly given themselves a chance of making a late dash for the playoffs.

Saturday’s visitors, Minnesota United, are already in a promising position as far as the postseason is concerned, though that position is fast becoming less secure. They stopped the rot last time out by holding LAFC to a tie at home, which isn’t easy to do, though while they avoided a fourth straight defeat, that’s now four games without a win.

As a result, the Loons are down to fifth in the west, with just five points between them and LA Galaxy, who are the nearest team outside of the playoffs, and who’ve also played a game less. It is fair to say that Adrian Heath’s men need to regain the winning thread urgently, or they face being entangled in the battle for playoff soccer late in the campaign.

Momentum building

It’s true, SKC’s playoff chances are slim, and they are very much fighting an uphill battle, though it’s a battle that they’re beginning to get the upper hand in. There’s definite momentum being built by Sporting Kansas City, who’ve now gone five games without tasting defeat. At home, things really have started to hot up. Vermes’ men have now won each of their last four at Children’s Mercy Park, and it looks for all to see that they’re back to being a menacing team on home soil, a team that few will relish visiting.

Not only have the hosts won four on the bounce in front of a home crowd, but they’ve scored plenty of goals in the process, notching a total of 12, scoring three or more in three out of four. In addition, they have shut out their opponents in each of their last two. The January addition of Robert Voloder, who signed from Slovenian giants Maribor has clearly complimented fellow January recruits Erik Thommy and William Agada, who’ve done the business offensively.

Goals drying up for the Loons?

There was a time not long ago that the Loons couldn’t stop scoring away from home. After a timid start to life on the road, scoring just two goals in four games, Saturday’s visitors found their scoring touch and went nine away games in a row without misfiring, scoring two or more in six of those nine. Between late June and mid-August, they scored two or more in five straight traveling games.

Things have gone awry since. They arrive at this junction having failed to find the net in each of their last two away games, losing 3-0 to Real Salt Lake, before going down by a goal to nil at the Portland Timbers in their most recent road matchup.

Should we be worried? Probably not. Though they failed to score when last on the road, they didn’t exactly look weak offensively, and were perhaps just the recipients of bad luck. They produced a promising 2.6 xG on that occasion. Some days it just won’t go in. The Loons have still scored a pleasing average of 1.42 away goals this term, which is fourth best in the west.

Not for the travelers

In recent times, this hasn’t been a fixture for away teams. Since 2021, there have been four renewals. None of those four have gone the way of the visitors, with only two away goals being scored during that time. The last time this fixture was played at Children’s Mercy Park, SKC came out on top by four goals to nil. When the pair last met, back in mid-July, they played out a 1-1 draw at Allianz Field, where a second half goal from the ever-present Johnny Russell cancelled out a first half own goal that had given Minnesota the lead.

Stick with SKC

The last time they were in action, SKC looked a good bet to come out on top and that is once again the case. They are moving in the right direction for starters, so much so that at this venue especially, they look like the SKC of old. What’s more, they are going up against a Minnesota side that is out of sorts and struggling for momentum.

Moreover, if we look at the recent home efforts of the hosts and put them up against what Minnesota have produced on the road of late, there’s only one winner. Vermes’ men have scored five, conceded two and kept two clean sheets in their last three at home. The visitors have scored two, conceded five and kept zero clean sheets in their last three on the road. The Loons have also performed poorly in terms of expected goals during that time, averaging an xG difference of -0.24. In contrast, SKC’s recent xG difference at home stands at +0.23.

There is of course plenty at stake for both, which means neither will be lacking in motivation at Children’s Mercy Park, but one team is simply in far better shape and thus looks better equipped to get the job done. Those looking to profit should bet the hosts to emerge victorious. So the SKC vs MNUFC betting predictions and picks verdict for this MLS game preview is this one tip against the sports betting sites:

  • Sporting Kansas City to win on the moneyline @ top odds of +100 (evens) with Bovada or EveryGame.