MLS Picks And Parlays: Sporting KC Hosts Portland on ESPN Soccer Saturday
by Matt Cash @MattCashCapper
The best team in the Western Conference this year is Sporting Kansas City, but they’ll be in tough this week when they face off with third-place Portland Timbers.
KC will be playing shorthanded and on short rest after winning at the US Open Cup on Wednesday. They have a number of players missing due to injury and international duty as well.
They have won two and drawn two in their last four regular season games. That includes a 2-1 win in LA over the Galaxy last Saturday.
Where the Western Conference leaders stand out is on the defensive end. They have two players leading the pack for end of year awards in Tim Melia in nets and Ike Opara on defense. All told they’ve conceded just 12 goals in 18 games. That is three less than second place Dallas in the West and well ahead of the rest of the pack.
Part of that wall includes the play of stalwarts Graham Zusi and Matt Besler, but both are absent as they’ve joined the US National Team ahead of the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup.
At the same time, this is a team that does struggle to score goals. Their 22 tallies is second worst among the teams currently in a playoff spot in the West.
Portland started the season like a rocket with a 5-2-2 record through their first nine games. But it’s been tougher sledding since May. They went 0-3-1 that month, but have improved in June with a 2-2-1 record. Portland drew Seattle last time out 2-2, which snapped a two-game losing streak.
They employ a very different style of play than KC, preferring offense to defense. Their 31 goals scored is tops in the West, but their 28 goals allowed is worst among teams in a playoff spot.
Sporting KC is unbeaten in their last 17 home games with a sparkling 13-0-4 record. In their last home game at the start of June they drew with Montreal 1-1. That result ended a six-game home winning streak and a four-game home streak of shutting out the opposition.
Portland has lost their last five road games, getting outscored 15-5 in the process. They have not won on the road since a 3-1 win over Philadelphia on April 8th.
Cash It In: Sporting KC are -130 favorites, Portland +360 underdogs and the draw sits at +270. No doubt KC’s sterling play of late and home record make them strong favorites. But Portland might be able to catch them a little tired and shorthanded. And they are certainly desperate for a better result. Draw 2-2.
Tagged with: Bovada • feature • Graham Zusi • Ike Opara • Matt Besler • MLS Expert Picks • MLS Odds • MLS Predictions • Portland Timbers • Sporting Kansas City • Sports Betting • Sportsbook • Tim Melia • Vegas Sports Betting