Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City Odds, Picks, Prediction: Sunday MLS Betting Preview (July 25)
Alika Jenner/Getty Images. Pictured: Manager Brian Schmetzer of the Seattle Sounders.
- Major League Soccer heavyweights square off Sunday when Seattle hosts Sporting Kansas City in a crucial matchup.
- The Sounders are coming off an impressive win over Austin FC where they started a record five teenagers.
- Ian Quillen breaks down the contest and details why he's backing Seattle to win this intriguing showdown.
Seattle vs. Sporting KC Odds
|Sporting KC Odds||+230|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-120 / -105)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 9 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN+|
|Odds updated Saturday night via DraftKings.|
While most American soccer fans focus on Sunday’s CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal between the United States and Jamaica, there’s another big game between the top teams in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference.
The first-place Seattle Sounders are coming off a Houdini-like 1-0 victory at Austin FC, where injuries and scheduling influenced manager Brian Schmetzer to field the first-ever MLS starting XI with five teenagers.
Meanwhile, Sporting Kansas City needed a 94th-minute equalizer from Daniel Salloi to get a draw Wednesday in its first match in 17 days.
A Sporting Kansas City win would officially make the Supporters’ Shield race a three-team affair. A Seattle victory could put it in cruise control on the road to the top seed in the conference playoffs.
Seattle’s Teen Standouts Steal Spotlight in Win
As little the Sounders’ healthy regulars played in Austin, it might’ve been less had Schmetzer’s teenagers not performed so admirably over 45 minutes.
According to ESPN’s Taylor Twellman on the match broadcast, Schmetzer had indicated he wanted to remove midfielder João Paulo at halftime and give Raúl Ruidíaz the night off entirely. However, the persisting score induced a calculated gamble as Schmetzer rode João Paulo a bit longer and then sent in Ruidíaz and others about nine minutes after halftime.
Ruidíaz rewarded Schmetzer’s bet with one of the goals of the MLS season and eventually all three points.
Three days later, the question is if a third match in eight days — against one of the other West contenders — will be too much for this depleted group. There are still eight confirmed absences for Seattle between injuries and international call-ups.
Yet, center back Xavier Arreaga will return after serving a card-accumulation suspension in the Sounders’ previous match. Shane O’Neill has been upgraded to questionable with his hip flexor strain.
Sporting KC Hoping for Better Performance
While most MLS teams may be feeling weary legged right now, Sporting Kansas City might have suffered some rust in its home draw against struggling San Jose.
It sure took the host a while to get rolling Wednesday.
Sporting Kansas City finished the night leading San Jose in expected goals by a 2.0-1.2 margin, according to MLSsoccer.com, but generated more than half of that value in a flurry in second-half stoppage time that included Daniel Salloi’s leveler.
The trade-off for those cobwebs is that Sporting Kansas City might play fewer games without Gold Cup call-ups Alan Pulido (Mexico) and Gianluca Busio (United States) in the lineup. The latter assumes Busio returns to Sporting Kansas City at all, as reports link him to a move to newly promoted Serie A side Venezia and other destinations.
Manager Peter Vermes has a couple other absences to deal, though none are major. And Salloi’s re-emergence as a scorer (he leads the team with eight goals) makes Pulido’s absence easier to handle, even if Salloi can’t occupy the same center-forward role.
Betting Analysis & Pick
From a betting perspective, Seattle is a confusing team. I admittedly have gotten the Sounders wrong more often than right this year.
Unlike many perennial powers, Seattle doesn’t seem to draw the attention of bettors or respect of oddsmakers. Given how often home teams win in this league, the current +115 odds for Seattle is a sign of respect for its opponent.
Perhaps it’s because the Sounders’ style is a bit of a throwback, eschewing an emphasis on creating turnovers and quick transition opportunities that are often what create a lot of measurable chances.
Instead, while a growing majority of teams are taking a version of that approach, Seattle is perfectly willing to absorb pressure with its enormously talented back line and counter when it draws opponents out of position.
It’s the classical approach of a modest underdog, adopted by a perennial favorite. And if you look at the Sounders’ home results, their most comprehensive wins have come against the teams who challenge and confront them high up the field.
The three home draws came against an Atlanta United side perfectly content to hoard the ball and attack at a more meandering pace. Plus, Austin FC and Vancouver were going to make Seattle come to them.
Sporting Kansas City has been among those teams adopting a higher pressure, higher risk approach these days. Additionally, their .500 record on the road is deceiving. It includes a win against the New York Red Bulls in manager Gerhard Struber’s first regular-season match, as well as against the Chichiarito-less Los Angeles Galaxy.
That’s why I like the Sounders to win here at an implied 47.2% implied probability. Seattle might have the heavier legs, thinner ranks and a day’s less rest, but styles make fights. The Sounders have the better one in this contest.
Pick: Seattle ML (+115)