When they host Sporting Kansas City at BC Place today, the Vancouver Whitecaps will look to bounce back following what was a disappointing and ultimately convincing defeat away at Seattle last time out (10pm ET Sunday; TV: Live on ESPN). In contrast, the visitors will be looking to remain in hot form coming off the back of consecutive wins.
This matchup preview aims to work out how this MLS soccer game will unfold and it concludes with betting predictions and picks.
For the Whitecaps, things were going smoothly. They’d lost none out of four and were coming off the back of a pleasing 3-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, but they weren’t able to keep themselves on the right path last time out, losing by four goals to one away against the Seattle Sounders. That result was a bit disappointing, but Lumen Field is one of the hardest places to go in Major League Soccer, so today’s hosts probably won’t be feeling too downbeat.
As for SKC, well, things continue to go well for the team that is vying for supremacy at the head of the Western Conference. Following back-to-back wins, the visitors find themselves in second place. They are five points behind the imperious Sounders, but they won’t give up hope of securing the regular season title just yet, while their place in the play-offs is about as secure as it gets.
Not easy to beat on their own patch
For the Whitecaps, the season hasn’t gone well, but it hasn’t got badly either. They’re eighth right now and are still well in the race for the postseason. If they are to feature in the playoffs, then it will be largely down to their form at BC Place, where they have been hard to get the better of, losing just four out of 14. They have only lost one of their last nine in front of a home crowd, winning seven of the other eight. Such form should mean that the hosts approach this game feeling strong, even if they were beaten by the best team in the division last time out.
What has really been impressive about Vancouver’s recent home efforts is the fact that they’ve restricted the opposition to few goals, keeping a clean sheet in each of their last two at home, conceding no more than a single goal in any of their last six.
Strong on the road
The Sporting Kansas City boys are in a fantastic position because they have been one of the best in MLS this season, both home and away, but their excellent away form is hard to ignore, and must go down as the catalyst behind their challenge for the number one spot in the division. In terms of points accumulated, Peter Vermeer’s men are the third best there is in the Western Conference, while they are also the highest away scorers, notching 22 in 13.
In general, offensive power is something that today’s hosts have in abundance, which is why they average a pleasing 1.68 expected goals per 90 minutes this season, which is the second-best in the division.
In recent times, this fixture has been one that the Whitecaps have struggled in. They’ve not won any of the last seven renewals, five of which they’ve lost. When the pair met earlier this season, back in May, SKC made relatively light work of coming out of top, scoring three goals and conceding none en route to victory.
On that occasion the attacking guile of Mexican Alan Pulido, who has notched eight times for SKC this season, proved far too much for the Vancouver back-line to deal with. If today’s hosts are to get a more favorable result this time, they will have to do a much better job of dealing with the opposing hitman.
How to bet Whitecaps vs SKC
To be completely honest, the visiting win is hard to oppose here. The hosts have got their act together somewhat of late, and they can get results at home, but we saw last time out, that when push comes to shove against the best in the division, they’re someway short of where they need to be. The visitors are certainly one of the best in the west and they arrive here in hot scoring form, which doesn’t bode well for the hosts, especially given how hard they found it to cope in the reverse fixture.
Vancouver may surprise and get another positive home result, but the way in which they folded against SKC’s main title rivals last time out is hard to ignore. Given the difference in class here, it is easy to feel that the visitors should be a tad shorter, so taking the away win at odds of +165 looks a solid option. So, coming to the conclusion of our preview and predictions, this is the one advised VWFC vs SKC betting pick: