Adam Chernoff returns with a weekend MLS selection.
Great start to the MLS season with back to back winning weeks to begin the season. A comfortable win for Real Salt Lake over Vancouver last Saturday brings my overall record to 2-1 (+1.17x).
Prices are a little bit tighter in Week 3, but I have found an advantage with the final match of the weekend and look to continue the profitable run with Sporting Kansas City.
I think it is important to get the scheduling quirk out of the way to set the stage for this match. Sporting Kansas City is still alive in the CONCACAF Champions League. On Thursday evening they hosted Independiente from Panama in the second leg (I am writing this on Thursday afternoon, so the result of that is to be determined). Because of the quick 72 hour turn around for Sporting KC and a full week of rest for Colorado, the market is not nearly as short as it should be.
All notes that I read indicate no drastic lineup changes for Kansas City, so I believe it is worthwhile to trust the info and take this price now, as there should be a drop on Sunday when the majority of starters are ruled in, which will make the initial price look even worse than it already is.
This bet is equally a fade of Colorado as it is a stake on Sporting Kansas City.
The Rapids are…horrendous.
The majority of their issues are on the back line. It is bad enough to give up 5 goals in two matches, but looking further illustrates just how poor this team is. Portland and Seattle in the first two matches of the season combined for 39 shots against Colorado. Of the 39 shots, 30 of them were taken inside the 18-yard box. Far and away the worst average shot proximity in the MLS thus far. In midfield, there was zero resistance too as Portland completed 88% of their passes, and Seattle completed 87%.
Despite giving up the 5 goals in two matches, shot based expectancy suggests they should have given up 6.1 while non-shot based expectancy suggests they should have given up 5.9. Incredibly, the start should be much worse than it is.
I quite like the appeal of Sporting Kansas City in this match because of how balanced they are.
The back line featuring Besler, Zusi and SInovic is very solid. Ilie Sanchez in the middle is great tactically but can also provide extra support in defence. The size and speed to defend Kamara and Rubio is certainly there. Although Portland and Seattle both played with an attacker in front, it was the attacking midfield that had the most success. Valeri and Blanco played extremely well for Portland were able to get anything they wanted creatively against Rapids centrebacks Sjoberg and Wynne.
Seattle had the same success with Lodeiro and Morris finding success behind Ruidiaz. Kansas City in both of their matches has played a rigid 4-3-3. Manager Peter Vermes has the ability to use natural wingers Russell and Fernandes to stretch Colorado laterally where they are most vulnerable.
Aside from early in the first half against Portland in the snow, the Rapids have not been able to sustain pressure. Kansas City midfielders are all defensive conservative, which should allow them to take control of this match quickly and turn Colorado over. The tactical play and precision passing are going to allow Kansas City to continuously build up play in their own end and transition through midfield.
While they have an advantage out wide on the wings, Kansas City is not a cross heavy team. Instead, look for them to work the ball back into the middle late and walk it right between the liability in the middle of the Rapids backline. All Kansas City needs to do is stay balanced and be patient. If they take care of the ball, they should certainly grab the three points away from home.
There’s a whole lot of Value on Kansas City at any price better than 2.00.
- Sporting Kansas City (2.20). Risking 1.20x.