Friday MLS Odds, Picks, Prediction: Los Angeles FC vs. Sporting Kansas City Betting Preview (Sept. 3)
Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Alan Pulido of Sporting KC.
- Los Angeles FC and Sporting Kansas City meet for the third time this season in Friday's Major League Soccer action.
- Both teams' rosters will be down several players, none more so than the Black and Gold, who will be without 13 players.
- Ian Quillen explains below how the missing players could impact the game total.
LAFC vs. Sporting KC Odds
|Sporting KC Odds||+260|
|Over/Under||3.5 (+130 / -165)|
|Day | Time||Friday | 10 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||UniMás | fuboTV|
|Odds updated Thursday evening via DraftKings.|
Both LAFC and Sporting Kansas City will be without some key attackers when they meet for a third and final time this season on Friday night in Los Angeles.
Captain Carlos Vela remains out with a quadriceps injury for the home side. LAFC are also playing for the first time since loaning leading scorer Diego Rossi to Turkish giants Fenerbahce.
A year after winning the MLS Golden Boot with 14 goals in a pandemic-shortened season, Rossi departs while holding the team lead with six goals in 2021.
Kansas City will face their second away fixture against the Black and Gold without team-leading scorer Daniel Salloi and versatile midfielder Gadi Kinda, who are both on international duty.
Sporting won the first two meetings, 2-1 in Kansas City in late June and 4-1 in LA a month ago.
LAFC Will Be Down Double-Digit Players
Vela and Rossi may have won the MLS scoring title in 2019 and 2020, respectively, but even when both men have been in manager Bob Bradley’s starting XI this season, the results have not come as consistently as expected.
The trio started three matches together during a string of four consecutive defeats, a stretch that is part of LAFC’s larger current eight-match winless run.
The duo combined for just one goal in the last five matches — Rossi’s tally in a 2-1 loss at the Vancouver Whitecaps on Aug. 21, the same game Vela left early with his quad issue.
On Friday the absences will go far deeper than those two men. The Black-and-Gold will be without 13 players in total (not counting Rossi, who is no longer on the roster) due to injuries or international call-ups.
Among the most notable: Wide man Brian Rodriguez is away with Uruguay after scoring twice in LAFC’s 3-3 draw with the LA Galaxy last weekend. Fullback Diego Palacio and midfielder Jose Cifuentes are both serving for Ecuador.
Whoever is on the field, the consistent problem for LAFC has been failing to capitalize on chances.
Their -3 goal difference is nearly 20 worse than the +16.7 projected through expected goals (xG), by far the biggest disparity in the league. And LAFC has failed to win the last five games in which they have created more xG than their opponents.
Sporting KC Has Slipped From Mountaintop
After climbing briefly to the top of the Western Conference following a win in Dallas, Sporting slipped back behind the Seattle Sounders with three consecutive draws to close August.
In two 1-1 results at home, Kansas City conceded first. Salloi provided a leveler deep in second-half stoppage time against Portland on August 18. Johnny Russell equalized just before halftime against Colorado 10 days later.
Salloi’s career-high 12 goals have overshadowed another workmanlike season from striker Alan Pulido, who has scored eight goals and contributed two primary assists.
But Pulido hasn’t scored since his contribution to SKC’s 4-1 win over LAFC in these teams’ last match, perhaps a reason he was not called into Tata Martino’s Mexico squad for the September window.
Manager Peter Vermes has more to choose from than Bradley right now, with only five absences between injury and international play.
But Sporting will still be without the players who have scored 21 of their 37 goals this season if you include Gianluca Busio, who had two before making his summer move to Venezia in Italy’s top flight.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Major League Soccer lines have become tighter and more responsive to team news in recent years, but there are still times the odds don’t match up with the news from the ground.
This is one of them.
The hosts are missing players who have scored more than two thirds of their goals this season. The visitors are without players who have scored nearly 60% of their haul.
And yet the over/under line sits at 3.5 goals, with the price on the total going under 3.5 at -165 and a 62.3% implied probability.
This is as straightforward a play as you’re going to get. You’re welcome to sell the goal and play the total under 2.5 goals at +145 odds and an implied 40.8% certainty.
But I’m usually a little more conservative playing totals, especially in a situation like this where the price of a more conservative wager is still so favorable.
Pick: Total Under 3.5 Goals (-165)
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