Sporting KC Hosts Minnesota After Last Month’s Draw
There will be implications at both ends of the playoff race in the Western Conference on Wednesday when Sporting Kansas City hosts Minnesota United FC. Sporting KC is currently in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference while Minnesota is just trying to hold onto a playoff spot with the stretch run of the season fast approaching. That should have both sides pushing to take three points in Wednesday’s
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According to BetUS, Kansas City is a clear favorite at home with a moneyline of -125 while Minnesota’s moneyline is set at +310. There is also a moneyline of +300 if the match ends in a draw. Oddsmakers also have an over/under of 2.5 total goals being scored in this match.
Minnesota United currently sits sixth in the Western Conference, which would put them in the playoffs if the season ended today despite a -1 goal differential on the season. The Loons also have at least one game in hand compared to almost every other team in the conference. However, there are five other teams within five points of Minnesota, giving the Loons little margin for error as far as their playoff hopes are concerned.
At the top of the table, Sporting KC currently sits second in the Western Conference, just two points behind first-place Seattle. The Wizards have a 23-point cushion for a playoff spot, so postseason play should be all but assured barring a terrible collapse. However, KC has one less game to play than Seattle, so the Wizards can’t afford to be dropping points if they hope to grab the top seed in the playoffs.
Back on Track?
Sporting KC was finally able to stop a four-game winless streak with a 2-0 victory over Chicago last weekend. The Wizards managed to score just two goals during that four-game stretch, which also included an embarrassing 4-0 defeat against LAFC. But two goals within the first six minutes against Chicago helped give the Wizards an emphatic win in which they controlled 61% of the possession and dominated play from start to finish.
Ideally, the Wizards will be able to build off of the momentum from that win, especially since they managed to keep a clean sheet. Leading scorer Daniel Salloi returned for that match after missing time during the international break. Even though he didn’t get on the score sheet, having Salloi back on the field and responding defensively after giving up four goals against LAFC are both huge steps in the right direction.
Hanging with the Best?
Minnesota had a chance to test itself against the best team in the Western Conference last weekend, only to lose 1-0 to Seattle in a game that was close and competitive for 90 minutes. The Loons also played Kansas City to a scoreless draw last month, which should give them confidence heading into this week’s game. On the other hand, the Loons have just two wins in their last eight matches, which isn’t going to get it done for a team with playoff hopes.
The Minnesota attack has been held scoreless in three of its last five matches, giving the Loons one of the worst offensive records in MLS. Only two players have scored more than two goals this season, largely because they are lacking playmaking ability in the midfield. This keeps a ton of pressure on goalie Tyler Miller and a Minnesota defense that has held its own this season.
No Such Luck
When these teams met last month, Sporting KC went down a man in the 21st minute because of a red card to Remi Walter. The Loons had over 60% of the possession under those circumstances but failed to score a goal. At full strength, look for Sporting Kansas City to be the better team and get three points on Wednesday night.