Sporting Kansas City vs Chicago Fire FC

Saturday’s MLS schedule includes a matchup between Sporting Kansas City and Chicago Fire FC. The match brings together one team that’s within striking distance of the top spot in the Western Conference and one team that’s on the outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. Thus, it’s a big game for both clubs, albeit for different reasons.

According to BetUS, Kansas City is a massive home favorite with a moneyline of -150, whereas Chicago’s moneyline is set at +400. There is also a moneyline of +295 for a draw. Oddsmakers also have an over/under of three total goals being scored in this match.

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Where Do Things Stand?

Sporting KC is currently in a tight battle for the top spot in the Western Conference. The Wizards are currently in third place, just two points behind first-place Seattle and one point behind second-place Colorado. The caveat is that Kansas City has played more games than both of those clubs, so they can’t afford to drop points if they want to stay tight at the top of the table.

As for the Fire, they’d be happy to have Kansas City’s problems. Chicago has taken just 23 points from 22 matches this season, putting them 11th out of 14 teams in the Eastern Conference. Most importantly, the Fire is seven points behind seventh-place DC United for the final playoff in the Eastern Conference.

Fanning the Flames

Chicago has reason to believe that the club has a playoff push in it with 12 games left in the regular season. The Fire has three wins and two draws in its last seven matches, so things are moving in the right direction. However, they are still struggling to score goals, finding the back of the net just six times in the team’s last six matches.

Luka Stojanovic is the only Chicago player who has scored more than three goals this season, leaving the Fire short on proven goal scorers, as well as bonafide playmakers. Defensively, the Fire is starting to make strides with three clean sheets in the team’s last six games. However, they will likely be without Costa Rican international Francisco Calvo on Saturday.

Wake up from the Nightmare

Sporting Kansas City is hoping to bounce back quickly from a nightmarish game last weekend, a 4-0 against LAFC, albeit with three of the goals coming while KC was down a man. Coming out of that match, the Wizards have just one win in their last six league games. Giving up four goals in that game was particularly shocking, as it was just the second time Kansas City conceded more than one goal in a league match since June 19.

The silver lining for Sporting is that they have scored the second-most goals in MLS this year. However, Dániel Sallói, the team leader in both goals and assists, will likely miss the match on Saturday after being on international duty with Hungary this past week. Even with 59% of the possession against LAFC last week, the Wizards couldn’t find the back of the net, which is a concern. 

Watch the Fire Grow

Surprisingly, Chicago has more momentum coming into this game and arguably more urgency since the Fire is chasing a playoff spot. With Kansas City missing the team’s leading goal scorer, it’ll be a little easier for the Chicago defense. However, without a reliable attack, a draw on the road will be the best the Fire can manage.

In addition to betting on a draw, there is also value on the under in this match. As mentioned, the Chicago attack doesn’t offer much outside of Stojanovic, while the Wizards are without their best attacking player. Look for this match to end in either a scoreless draw or a 1-1 draw.

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