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Sporting KC v LAFC: Preview, Predictions, Stats and Roster Changes

Head West young man!

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Los Angeles FC v Sporting Kansas City Photo by Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Sporting KC @LAFC

When: Wednesday, August 4, 2021 at 9:30 PM CT (Kickoff 9:38)

Where: Banc of California Stadium

How to Watch/Stream: Bally Sports KC Plus (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 continue a brutal stretch of games where they will play seven times in 22 days. A lot of attention has been given to the Olympics where this happens, but it’s happening right, smack dab, in the middle of the Major League Soccer season to KC.

Wednesday’s game against Los Angeles FC is the second of those seven games. Sporting KC still find themselves in second place in the West despite a disappointing result against FC Dallas at home. SKC still have a game in hand on Seattle too, but those only matter if you win them. The Seattle Sounders are off this weekend (KC are on the road again) so they have to make these next two road games count.

Both teams have fallen behind the New England Revolution who sit on 36 points in a weaker Eastern Conference (Seattle have 32, KC have 30, good for second and third in MLS).

LAFC are currently 5th in the West with 23 points through 16 games. A disappointing start, no doubt, but LAFC have improved their positioning from their early season slump. Wednesday marks the midpoint of both of these clubs this season.

LAFC’s Recent Form

After losing to Sporting KC on June 26th, LAFC went on a small run winning three straight before faltering and going 0-1-2 since that streak ended. They still seem like a team trying to find their way.

LAFC have played nine of their 16 games at home and they are 4-1-4, but have drawn two straight. Both teams are in a weird spot entering Wednesday’s game. Who are these teams?

What’s changed for LAFC since these teams first met?

Los Angeles have made a couple big moves since these teams first met a little over a month ago. (For all their prior moves, head this way.)

IN: The big (and only) addition since that meeting is forward Cristian Arango. He just officially arrived yesterday (August 2nd) via transfer from Millonarios FC (Columbia). He is thought to be the striker (though he sometimes plays underneath a striker) that the team has been missing. His fee is rumored at $2.5 million.

OUT: To make room in the budget, LAFC dealt two big name players in trades within the league for nearly $2 million in allocation money. First, they traded Corey Baird to the Houston Dynamo for more money than they paid RSL to get him in the offseason. Then they traded Mark-Anthony Kaye to the Colorado Rapids for $1 million in GAM (among other assets). LAFC believe they have depth at those positions and could afford to move on. Both seem like good business, especially considering it got them GAM to buy down salaries to make room for Arango and because Kaye was an impending free agent.

Injuries/Availability*

Sporting KC

OUT - Felipe Hernandez (personal reasons), Amadou Dia (Health & Safety Protocols), Grayson Barber (Health & Safety Protocols)

QUESTIONABLE - Cam Duke (hamstring)

*This will be updated based on the official injury report.

LAFC

OUT - Mahala Opoku (left knee), Eddie Segura (right knee)

QUESTIONABLE - None

Stats

Sporting KC

GOALS: Daniel Salloi (9), Alan Pulido (6), Johnny Russell, Gadi Kinda (3), Gianluca Busio, Jaylin Lindsey (2), Ilie Sanchez, Felipe Hernandez, Khiry Shelton, Cam Duke (1)

ASSISTS: Khiry Shelton, Daniel Salloi, Johnny Russell (4), Gianluca Busio (3), Felipe Hernandez, Gadi Kinda (2), Alan Pulido, Andreu Fontas, Luis Martins, Jaylin Lindsey, Graham Zusi (1)

LAFC

GOALS: Jose Cifuentes, Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela (5), Corey Baird (3), four with one (1)

ASSISTS: Vela (5), Eduard Atuesta (4), Cifuentes (3), Baird, Latif Blessing, Eddie Segura (2), eight with one (1)

Starting XI Predictions

That will have it’s own story, as always. Look out for it soon.

Score Predictions

The underlying numbers say that Sporting Kansas City are a good team. However, it’s hard to know what to make of them after their last week and a half. They drew at home to the San Jose Earthquakes. Go on the road and beat the Seattle Sounders by two goals (the first team in five years with a multi-goal win at Seattle). Then they lose at home to lowly FC Dallas who, just two games ago, were in last place.

Their xG against Dallas still says they should have won (2.17 to 0.88).

Add to that the fact that Alan Pulido (and maybe Gianluca Busio) will return to the club after the 2021 Gold Cup concluded. And Pulido should be fresh as he never got on for more than mop-up duty. I have my doubts we’ll see Busio.

However, I’ll factor in that it’s a road game and the second game in just a few days and say KC will settle for a road point.

2-2 Draw

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

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