Sporting Kansas City and Montreal Impact will both be hoping to secure a playoff berth come the end of the season, but which of the two sides will come out on top in this weekend’s fixture? Read on for some expert analysis that will help with your Sporting Kansas City vs. Montreal impact prediction.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Montreal Impact odds
The market is strongly suggesting Sporting KC will come away with three points from this fixture - they are currently being given around a 57% chance of winning the match. Home field advantage could be a crucial factor in this match and this is evidenced by the travelling side being given just 22% chance of getting three points, according the odds.
Sporting KC were one of the strongest attacking sides in the MLS last season, averaging 1.91 goals per game. Montreal Impact, on the other hand, struggled in front of goal in 2018, as they averaged just 1.38 goals per game (putting them in the bottom five for attacking output across all MLS teams.
Both teams were fairly average in terms of defensive strength so it’s not surprising to see the Over/Under on the high end at 3 goals.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Montreal Impact: Key information
Date: Saturday, March 30
Time: 20:00 (UTC) kickoff
Venue: Children's Mercy Park
Sporting Kansas City vs. Montreal Impact predicted lineups
Sporting Kansas City
4-3-3: Melia (GK), Sinovic, Besler, Barath, Zusi, Gutierrez, Ilie, Espinoza, Gerso, Nemeth, Rowe
4-3-3: Bush (GK), Lovitz, Raitala, Cabrera, Sagna, Taider, Piette, Azira, Piatti, Urruti, Okonkwo
Why you can’t afford a slow start
We might only be four games into the 2019 MLS season but we’ve already learnt a lot about how teams might fare this season. Sporting KC started the season with some lofty expectations, and now they will need to put in performances that justify why many believe they should make it to the playoffs. Montreal Impact won’t be expected to achieve much but they will hope they can be this year’s surprise package.
While last season’s results suggest that Sporting KC are the stronger side, it’s actually Montreal Impact who have made the slightly better start to the season. A 2-1 defeat away to Houston Dynamo is the only blemish on their record so far.
However, their two wins against San Jose Earthquakes (2-1) and Orlando City (3-1) weren’t exactly major upsets given that the betting market had them at a 33% and 30% chance to win each respective game.
Sporting KC have won one, drawn one and lost one of their opening three games. Although LAFC are currently undefeated and top of the Western Conference, Sporting KC would still have been disappointed to start their season with a loss.
Since then, they have beaten Philadelphia Union and salvaged a last-minute draw away to Colorado Rapids, with a two-legged victories over Deportivo Toluca and Independiente in the CONCACAF Champions League sandwiched in between their domestic fixtures.
It wouldn’t be a season-ending loss by any stretch but both of these sides will be looking towards this weekend’s fixture as one to push up the table at this early stage of the season. If you can grab a playoff spot early on, it’s much easier to keep hold of it than if you’re playing catch up.
Can Sporting KC replicate last season’s success?
After finishing top of the Western Conference, qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League and just losing out in the Conference Finals last year, Sporting Kansas City would have been heading into this season full of confidence.
However, a closer look at their underlying performance in 2018 suggests they will do well to achieve something similar this year.
The team led by Peter Vermes notched 65 goals and conceded 40 in their 34 regular season games last season. However, their expected goals figures had them down as scoring 58 and conceding 41 - this suggests they were fortunate to finish in such a good position.
There were a few roster changes in the offseason for Sporting KC with Khiry Shelton, Diego Rubio and Ike Opara departing and Kelyn Rowe, Botond Barath Abdul Rwatubyaye (along with a few others) coming in.
Sporting KC doesn’t possess one of the MLS star-studded lineups, but they do have some decent experience, consistent performers, and some potential game changers in there.
Montreal Impact’s expected goal difference (xGD) was a fairly close match to thier actual performance. Their good fortune in offensive output (45 actual goals against 40.3 expected) was evened out with some apparent bad luck in defence (conceding 50 despite an expected goals against total of 44.2).
There were plenty of ins and outs for the Impact during the offseason, but these were primarily fringe players heading out and homegrown players being promoted to the first team squad. Montreal just missed out on a playoff spot in 2018, but will hope their consistent performances will be enough to get them there this year.
Can Montreal Impact spring a surprise?
Despite their early season form showing hints of regression from last season, which could also be the CONCACAF Champions League commitments taking their toll, many will still be expecting Sporting KC to come away with a home win and stay in amongst the playoff contenders.
The odds on Montreal Impact, and their good start to the season, will likely tempt plenty of people into making a play on the away side but it seems like the value still sits with the home team. Those looking for slightly better odds may also want to consider -0.5 and -1 Handicap at 1.884*.
Although it’s difficult to see Montreal Impact getting anything out of this game (especially when they have to travel over 2,000km), they still might be considered one of the outsiders to follow as we near the end of the season.