Sporting Kansas City returns to Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday, where they will look to continue their good form by aiming to beat Austin FC (8.30pm ET). Can the hosts get the job done? Or will the visitors spoil their run by bouncing back after losing last time out? Read on and this MLS game preview, with predictions and betting picks, plans to answer those questions.
It is still early days, but it is starting to look like SKC may have turned a corner. They followed up their heavy defeat against MLS newbies St. Louis City by thrashing the Portland Timbers in front of a home crowd. They carried on mobbing forwards by winning at the same venue next time out, edging out FC Dallas by two goals to one. That victory showed that Peter Vermes’ men are fighting harder, a trait that they also showed when drawing with the Vancouver Whitecaps on the road last weekend. They now search for a fourth game without defeat and a third straight home win.
While Saturday’s hosts have got it together of late, the visitors have dropped off, struggling to be consistent. When Austin FC beat Toronto back in May, Josh Wolff’s men had won two on the spin and things were looking up. Unfortunately, those two wins were followed by defeat in the US Open Cup, before they came unstuck against the Houston Dynamo in Major League Soccer. They bounced back swiftly, beating Minnesota in front of a home crowd, though they once against took a step in the wrong direction last time out, losing to RSL. Right now, who knows what to expect from the Austin guys.
Home soil the key for SKC
As stated in this preview above, the hosts have now won three on the bounce in front of their own fans. If we include US Open Cup exploits, then they have won four of their last five at Children’s Mercy Park. It’s probably fair to say that home is where the heart is for Peter Vermes’ men.
What has been particularly pleasing about the way the hosts have gone about their business at home of late is the fact that they have seemingly put an end to their offensive woes. They rebuilt final-third confidence by scoring three goals against Tulsa in the US Open Cup and that seems to have laid the groundwork for offensive success in MLS. They arrive here having scored nine in their last three at home, scoring two or more in each three. After a bit of a slow season last year, Daniel Salloi is starting to discover the form that saw him register 16 goals and 10 assists during the 2021 campaign. Salloi already has four and four this term, scoring in each of his last three at home.
Tightening up is a must for Austin FC
On the road, the visitors have been conceding too many goals, it really is that simple. Austin have played seven times on the road this term, failing to keep a clean sheet. On top of that, they have conceded at least two goals in five of those seven, once again ceding multiple goals on the road in Houston last time out.
Sure, we know this team can produce the goods offensively. With the likes of Gyasi Zardes and Diego Fagundez in their forward line, they will always have the tools to hurt teams. When those guys aren’t firing, as has been the case on the road at times, they need to be much tighter defensively. Considering all games, both home and away, the visitors approach this fixture without a clean sheet in four, keeping their opponents out in just one of their last seven.
Austin on top
In recent times, Saturday’s visitors have had the best of this fixture. When the teams last met, back in August of last year, the Austin franchise came out on top of a seven-goal thriller, winning by four goals to three. Prior to that, they won by two goals to nil at this venue, which followed a 3-1 win in their own backyard. That is right, they’ve now won three straight games against SKC. Saturday’s hosts have not beaten Austin FC since 2021.
It is worth noting that the goals usually flow when these two share the field. Four of the previous five renewals have seen both teams to score, while three of those five have contained at least three goals.
Home goals on the menu
Looking for a wager with the American betting sites, it is hard to go against home goals ahead of this fixture. It took a while for the SKC men to warm up this season, but they have come to the boil now, especially in that final third. In recent weeks, they have looked red hot, especially at home. As already mentioned in this preview, Daniel Salloi looks in great form, which is a huge boost. Vermes has also managed to get a much sweeter tune out of both Gadi Kinda and Erik Thommy. The latter adds vast amounts of creativity when playing well.
The hosts have scored two or more in each of their last three at home, while they have been performing well in terms of shots too, registering 15 against both the Portland Timbers and Dallas FC.
Austin’s away efforts in the defensive third are also difficult to ignore. The likes of Houston Dynamo, Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy and LAFC have all scored two or more at home against Austin this season. They have shown little sign of becoming more secure at the back, so we ought not to be surprised if the hosts continue their impressive scoring run on Saturday. For this MLS game’s predictions and betting picks, we rely on this one:
- Sporting Kansas City to Score Over 1.5 Goals @ -118 with Bovada.