MLS Playoffs – Seattle Sounders v Sporting Kansas City Preview (27/10/16)

Seattle preview

The Sounders have been one of the hottest teams in MLS since the midway point of the season. From the point when Sigi Schmid got sacked and Brian Schmetzer took over, they’ve only lost 2 of out of 14 games so their form is clear to see. There’s absolutely no doubt that this team has every chance of making a deep playoff run. The Sounder’s biggest weapon is designated player Nicolas Lodeiro who’s been fantastic since his arrival on the scene. Their good form has coincided with him transferring to the club and he really pulls the strings in a creative role. It’s a blow that Clint Dempsey is ruled out for the rest of the season but he’s been missing for quite some time now and wasn’t enjoying the greatest of campaigns anyway. It looks like left winger Ivanschitz won’t feature due to injury, whilst centre back Brad Evans has been nursing a number of problems recently and will probably only feature on the bench. Seattle are unbeaten at home under Schmetzer and kept clean sheets in 3 of their last 4 at Centurylink field.

Sporting Kansas City preview

SKC got knocked out of the playoffs at this stage last season in that incredible penalty shootout against Portland Timbers. They will hope to make further progress this year but they once again face a really tough task away against an in-form team. SKC themselves aren’t in bad knick having only lost 1 of their last 6 games. I just don’t personally feel like they are playing brilliantly well though and they definitely have some deficiencies, especially away from home. Peter Vermes’ men won their first two road games of the season but have since only registered a sole victory which came at San Jose who didn’t even make the playoffs. For this match, wide duo Jacob Peterson & Brad Davis are rated doubtful because of injury. Bench striker Diego Rubio is ruled out for the rest of the season so SKC are kind of lacking options in the final third. A lot will rest on the shoulders of Dom Dwyer who has netted 16 times in MLS this season. He’s the big threat upfront but also has a habit of wasting good chances.

Conclusion & betting analysis

This is an interesting clash between two teams in fairly good knick. Seattle are definitely more ‘hot’ and with home advantage are deserving favourites. SKC won here on the opening day of the season but it’s a different story now. Seattle are playing much better and look like a team who could go deep into the playoffs. The weather forecast isn’t great for the match and this might not be as open as some teams expect. The goal line is set roughly at 2.25 and in this instance I’m not going to argue with that. Seattle have won 2 of their last 3 games by a 1-0 scoreline at home and I’m anticipating something similar. With someone like Nicolas Lodeiro in their ranks the Sounders have that extra bit of class and a potential difference maker. I feel that Seattle have the more consistent and reliable defence too, which can come up big if required. The hosts can be backed as big as 1.99 on a -0.5 Asian handicap but my preferred pick is to play it safe and back Seattle on a -0.25 Asian line. There’s a chance this could get tight and maybe go the distance right into extra time. So I prefer some draw cover but overall I think we’ll see the Sounders edge the game something like 1-0 or 2-0.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet 1 unit: Seattle Sounders -0.25 @1.72

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