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Sporting KC v LA Galaxy: Preview, Predictions, Stats and Roster Changes

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The battle for second place keeps shifting, but it’s consistently Sporting versus someone.

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MLS: LA Galaxy at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC @ LA Galaxy

When: Sunday, July 4, 2021 at 9:30 PM CT (Kickoff 9:38)

Where: Dignity Health Sports Park

How to Watch/Stream: Bally Sports KC (regionally) | Bally Sports Midwest Plus (regionally) |
ESPN+ (out of market or over VPN locally)
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)

Sporting Kansas City are in for a late west-coast matchup on America’s birthday this Sunday. They will head to Los Angeles for the first time since a 2-7 drubbing at the hands of the LA Galaxy and Zlatan Ibrahimovic way back in September of 2019. Zlatan is gone and 2019 appears to have been an aberration, not a trend.

Sunday’s game will be a battle for second place. Sporting KC enter the game with a two point lead, but the Galaxy have two games in hand. If the standings are reordered based on points per game, then it’s LA in second and SKC in third. Regardless, it’s everyone looking up at the Seattle Sounders who are currently best in the entire league.

The late night matchup will also mark the first meeting between SKC and a Galaxy lineup featuring Golden Boot leader, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. Chicharito has 10 goals in just 10 games and leads Raul Ruidiaz (9) and Daniel Salloi (7). Sporting have to find a way to neutralize the Mexican striker while possibly missing their own number 9 in Alan Pulido.

LA’s Recent Form

The Galaxy have feasted on a weak schedule with just one of their wins coming against an MLS team above the red line for the playoffs (New York Red Bulls who are the worst playoff team right now, 14th out of 14). All their other tests against playoff level competition they have faltered, which includes two losses to Seattle and another to the Portland Timbers.

  • May 22nd @ Portland Timbers — 0-3 Loss
  • May 29th vs. San Jose Earthquakes — 1-0 Win
  • June 19th vs. Seattle — 1-2 Loss
  • June 23rd @ Vancouver Whitecaps — 2-1 Win
  • June 26th @ San Jose — 3-1 Win

This should be a good test for both SKC and LA to see who are the more legit contenders early in the season.

What’s changed for LA Galaxy since 2020?

This should really be, what changed since 2019, since these teams haven’t met, but let’s stick to the format. One of the biggest changes is at head coach, where Greg Vanney is now running the Galaxy and it shows. They are a much better team and he’s getting a lot more out of his players.

IN: The roster turnover in LA is huge with possibly the biggest addition, winger Kevin Cabral, arriving via transfer from Valenciennes FC (France) along with fellow winger Samuel Grandsir, who was a Sporting KC target over the winter. The team also made transfers for GK Jonathan Bond from West Bromwich Albion (England), midfielder Carlos Harvey from Tauro FC (Panama), defender Derrick Williams from Blackburn Rovers (England) and defender Sega Coulibaly from AS Nancy (France).

The club also added fullback Jorge Villafana via trade (Portland), brought Victor Vazquez back to MLS (formerly of Toronto FC), add a couple Homegrowns and another MLS veteran in Oniel Fisher.

OUT: The biggest loss is winger Cristian Pavon, who was the star of this team in 2020 but is in some legal trouble and had a huge purchase clause in his loan deal. They also parted ways with veteran midfielder Joe Corona and GK David Bingham, along with letting the deal of holding midfielder Perry Kitchen expire.

Injuries/Availability*

Sporting KC

OUT - Remi Walter (knee)

QUESTIONABLE - Gadi Kinda (foot), Graham Zusi (hamstring), Jaylin Lindsey (hamstring), Alan Pulido (foot laceration)

*This will be updated with the official injury report. As of now, it’s all speculation and holdovers from last week.

LA Galaxy

OUT - Daniel Steres (undisclosed)

QUESTIONABLE - None Known

Stats

Sporting KC

GOALS: Daniel Salloi (7), Alan Pulido (6), Gadi Kinda (3), Gianluca Busio, Jaylin Lindsey (2), Ilie Sanchez, Felipe Hernandez (1)

ASSISTS: Khiry Shelton, Daniel Salloi, Johnny Russell (3), Gianluca Busio, Felipe Hernandez (2), Alan Pulido, Andreu Fontas, Luis Martins, Gadi Kinda, Jaylin Lindsey (1)

LA Galaxy

GOALS: Chicharito (10), Sasha Kljestan (2), three with one (1)

ASSISTS: Kljestan, Sebastian Lletget (2), eight with one (1)

Starting XI Predictions

Look for this, as always, closer to the game in it’s own story.

Score Predictions

Sporting find themselves winners of two straight, five of seven and with a 5-1-1 record in their last seven games. They’ve only been shutout once in 12 games this season and have bagged multiple goals in seven games. Sporting KC are, in fact, the leading scorers in the league. Sure, they’ve played more games than most of the league, but they are averaging 1.83 goals per game, which is better than every other team.

The issue is, they keep leaking goals. Often bad ones. They have given up 15 goals (the same as the Galaxy have in two less games) but more than double Seattle’s seven allowed. In fact, they’ve had to come from behind five times to find wins this season because they are allowing goals so early.

As bad as they’ve been about allowing early goals, the worst 15 minute stretch for this team is the 76th to 90th+ minute span where they’ve allowed four of their goals (they’ve allowed three in each other 15 minute segments except the 61st to 75th where they have allowed no goals).

All that is to say, both teams are likely to score. Sporting are 2-3-0 on the road this season, which account for all their losses in 2021. LA are 4-1-0 at home with their lone loss coming to Seattle. The long and short of it is, I don’t know who is going to win but predicting bad or mediocre results for Sporting is really working for their confidence. Beat LA in LA and it’s hard not to consider KC a real contender.

2-2 Draw

What do you think? Predictions in the comments are welcome. Let’s chat about it.

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