Los Angeles FC were one of the biggest surprises of 2018. LAFC were picked to finish near the bottom of the league by many experts in the preseason, as many believed the expansion franchise just didn’t have enough guns to compete. They proved everyone wrong by finishing in third place in the loaded Western Conference, before being stunned by Real Salt Lake in the playoffs. The club has been able to keep their core together and they will look to start off with a win against Sporting Kansas City.
Don't miss the Major League Soccer action from Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 3, 2019. Catch every moment of the match live on ESPN.
MLS Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
Los Angeles FC -103
Sporting Kansas City +253
Sporting Kansas City finished last season as the top team in the Western Conference in the regular season, and they are looking for more success in the postseason this year. They were bounced in the Western Conference Finals by the Portland Timbers, and that loss stuck with them throughout the offseason.
The big issue for Sporting KC will be replacing top center back Ike Opara. Sporting KC had the best defense in the league in 2018, and Opara was a major part of it. He was traded to Minnesota for allocation money, and Andreu Fontas will get first crack at his spot in the lineup.
If LAFC can fix their issues in the back end, they could be the best team in the West. They had one of the best attacks in the league last year, but the defense failed them on multiple occasions. Only one starter from last season, midfielder Benny Feilhaber, is gone from 2018, so the big story will be offseason growth.
There is no one injured on the side of Sporting KC, but LAFC suffered a big blow last week. Carlos Vela picked up a knee knock, and he will miss at least this match. Vela is the team’s top playmaker, and LAFC could struggle to create offense without him in the lineup.
Matchup to Watch
The interesting thing to watch here will be the battle between LAFC’s offense and Sporting KC’s defense. LAFC had the most prolific offense in the Western Conference last season. They averaged two goals per game, and three separate players scored at least 10 goals. Carlos Vela led the way with 14 goals, while Diego Rossi and Adama Diomande each had a dozen goals in league play, so this is an offense that will have power even without Vela.
Meanwhile, Sporting KC had the second-best defense in the Western Conference according to goals allowed. They allowed just 40 goals on the season, and they were great in shutting down LAFC’s attack in two meetings. LAFC could muster just one goal over two games, and that led to Sporting KC winning both tilts, including the match at the end of the year that earned them the No. 1 seed in the West.
MLS Prop Bet – Under 3 and 3.5 -133
I’m a little taken aback that the total is so high here considering Vela’s injury. He was the magic man in the middle for LAFC, and they had plenty of trouble scoring against Sporting KC even when he was in the lineup last year. Without him, I think this is a low scoring affair.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
The under is my favorite play in this match, but I also like Sporting Kansas City on the goal line. LAFC has a good home field advantage, but not having Vela will cost them.
Major League Soccer Odds: Los Angeles FC 1, Sporting Kansas City 1
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