Sporting Kansas City will head to the Pacific Northwest for a Major League Soccer matchup against the Seattle Sounders.
The game will kick off inside Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington Saturday at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Sporting Kansas City is 12th in the Western Conference with 16 points and a less than optimal 4-4-9 record; they have also picked up two wins, two losses, and a draw in their last five matches, the most recent of which ended in a 2-1 victory over Nashville SC.
This team has been struggling to put together any sort of consistently positive form for the entire campaign, and their recent stretch is proof of that.
KC is led by the goal-scorer that is Johnny Russell, who has five goals in 16 matches; Daniel Salloi, who has four goals, is the only other player with more than two to his tally, indicative of the team’s lack of balance and inability to manufacture goals.
They have scored just 16 times as a team, an average of exactly one per match, while their defensive record leaves much more to be desired. The team has conceded 29 times, giving them a goal differential of -13, the worst in the entire league.
This team likes to set out in a 4-2-3-1, which is the most popular formation worldwide and often thought of as the most balanced since it places players in nearly every area of the pitch.
With that being said, the 4-2-3-1 can be dangerous for teams that are not disciplined enough to uphold its defensive structure, a la Kansas City, as any breakdowns in communication or positioning open gaps that are easily penetrable for attackers.
Seattle, one of the better teams in the league in 2021, started its season off quite worryingly but has bounced back, climbing up to seventh (and playoff position) in the West, producing a 6-2-6 overall record.
They also have three wins, one draw, and one loss in their last five matches and are three games unbeaten heading into the weekend clash with Kansas City. It would be accurate to say that this is Seattle’s best run of form this season, and they once again look like a team ready to make noise in the postseason.
The Sounders are led by Raul Ruidiaz, who also has five goals but has only taken eight matches to reach this mark; half the time, it has taken Russell.
The veteran striker has had his share of injury woes, but with him back in the lineup, the profile of the team changes entirely— so much so that they have improved their goals tally to fifth-best in the conference while also allowing the joint-third-fewest goals. They have a goal difference of +3, which is always good for any team with serious aspirations.
The Sounders, surprise surprise, also structure themselves in a 4-2-3-1, which will effectively remove any tactical advantages or disadvantages and instead simply help reveal which team is more disciplined and can execute at a higher level.
The Sounders are decent favorites in the upcoming match, both because they have been better overall but especially better as of late.
A key factor working in the home team’s favor is that, since both teams are essentially running the same formation, they will have the advantage of being better at the system, allowing them to pick apart Kansas City’s porous defense and create goal-scoring chances. The Sounders also have the more in-form goal scorer in Ruidiaz, which is yet another feather in their cap.
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