Sporting Kansas City were really good in the first leg of the Western Conference semi-finals and took a good advantage. They will now return home for the second leg, where they will play host to Real Salt Lake on Sunday. Real Salt Lake have been truly blessed and really lucky to be in this position, but this might be the end of their story. They failed to even win the home match in this tie and will now have a really hard time against a well-oiled Sporting Kansas City side.
Date/Time: 11-11-2018, 16:00 EDT
Spread: Sporting Kansas City -1.25
Total: 3 Goals
Sporting Kansas City extended their great season with a really solid performance on the road against Real Salt Lake. They quickly took the leading role in that match and were creating one shot after another at the first half, a total of 6. But it was their opponents who took the lead at the start of the second half. Sporting Kansas City didn’t take long to respond, as they pulled even at the 60th minute with Rubio. They were equally good in the second half but it was a favorable result so they held on to it. Even a blank draw will be enough for them to move to the Conference Final, and they have been excellent at home. This season they only lost two of their 17 matches at home in the MLS (10-2-5) and one of them was in the premiere. That means that over a course of almost 8 months they have lost just once at home. Impressive.
On the other hand, Real Salt Lake shouldn’t even be here in the first place, so let’s see where will their luck run out. Gifted by the Houston Dynamo at the final match-day, Real Salt Lake managed to defeat LAFC by 3-2 on the road in the knock-out round. They were really weak in that match and pretty much didn’t deserve it. They weren’t even very good in their home match against Sporting Kansas City last week, where they failed to wake up. Real Salt Lake have surely played good soccer in the past, but they are just riding a wave of luck right now. And it will end at some point, but that doesn’t mean that Real Salt Lake won’t snap out of their funk and actually play good. But they have been tragic on the road this season (3-11-3) and won just two of their last ten away matches in the regular season.
Sporting Kansas City have been dominant as hosts against Real Salt Lake over the years (7-3-6), but results in the past five years have been pretty balanced here (2-2-4). Four of the last five matches between the two teams featured goals from both sides, and four of them featured Over 2.5 Goals.
As I said before, Real Salt Lake can wake up at any moment and pull an upset, but I just don’t see it here. Sporting Kansas City have been one of the most steady teams this season and have given us no reason to doubt. The problem is that they don’t need a win to progress, and given their careful approach, I will go with the Under 3 Goals here.
MLS Playoffs Sporting Kansas City vs Real Salt Lake Prediction: Under 3 Goals (-112)
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