MLS – Sporting Kansas City v Seattle Sounders Preview (24/7/16)

SKC-SS

Sporting Kansas City preview

SKC’s good run is over. They have now suffered back to back 0-1 defeats, albeit both of those away from home. The offense just hasn’t been able to find a way to score goals and has been frustrated by Chicago & Colorado defences. Quite how much we can take from those defeats I'm not sure. SKC have been very poor away from home since the early part of the season but have been much better in front of their own fans. Of course, Peter Vermes’ men haven’t been helped by a string of injuries recently, some of them to key players. For this match centre back Matt Besler is ruled out, and the constantly injured Nuno Coelho is rated doubtful. In the middle of the park Brad Davis won’t take part, whilst fellow US international Graham Zusi is doubtful. Some other players like midfielder Paulo Nagamura are also rated highly doubtful. This is a squad in poor condition and who might be missing some key players all over the park.

Seattle preview

The Sounders have had a shocking season and still remain second bottom of the Western Conference. Zigi Schmid’s men have lost a whopping eleven MLS matches, which is a shocking number for a club which is pretty much a perennial playoff contender. I don’t think they've had much luck but at the same time something is clearly wrong with Seattle this year. They've yet to properly replace striker Obafemi Martins and are crying out for a pacey attacker who can stretch defences. I personally think Seattle have played fairly well in their last few games, without too much reward. So there’s some hope for them here, but they need to start converting performances into results. The 5-0 win against Dallas was facing a second string XI so can almost be discounted. Last week they outplayed Portland for large periods, but succumbed on the break at crucial moments and ultimately lost 1-3. Squad condition is good with only winger Aaron Kovar injured. Key midfielder Osvaldo Alonso is suspended though.

Conclusion

Usually when these two teams meet a really close tight game of football develops. All of the last eight contests have ended under 2.5 goals and I see something similar again. SKC haven't lost any of the last four H2Hs and they probably won’t lose this one either, although Seattle have looked a bit better of late. This is a difficult one to predict and it could come down to a moment or magic, a set piece or some sort of scrappy goal. If either team won 1-0 then I wouldn't be surprised. Another factor to consider, just like the New York derby is the weather. Temperatures will be even hotter here and the match is set to kick off at 2pm local time. Fans are going to be allowed to bring bottled water with them to the stadium which is an unusual move. I expect drinks breaks every 15 mins and it could be sheer hell for the players out there. Ultimately, Seattle are finding ways to cock up games this year, so they’ll probably play alright but lose something like 1-0. That’s the way their season has been going.

Prediction: 1-0

Betting analysis

The bookies aren't giving away anything here. SKC are priced odds-on and this is fair when you consider how poor Seattle have been this season. They also aren't giving anything away on the goal line which is set at an understandable 2.25. Neither side is particularly potent going forwards and when you factor in the heat then it looks like a fixture which will end under. That said, in the last SKC home match which was played in similar hot conditions they beat New York City 3-1. Sometimes, weather like this can lead to mistakes at the back and generate goals. In this instance I just don't see a viable bet and I think the fixture is best left alone. It feels like the sort of game which will be low tempo and possibly decided by one goal. If SKC were a bigger price I'd maybe be tempted. But they are missing players and it’s not beyond Seattle to claim a point, or even eeek out a tight victory. I’ll refrain from betting here and I’d say this is just one to watch.

Recommended bet: None

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