New York Red Bulls vs. Sporting Kansas City – MLS, April 17, 2021
The Red Bulls welcome Sporting KC to Harrison on Saturday, April 17, as the 2021 MLS season gets underway.
SKC finished atop the Western Conference last year, edging out Seattle and Portland. The Red Bulls ended up sixth in East last term, although both sides failed to make their mark on the MLS Cup Playoffs.
In this New York Red Bulls vs. Sporting Kansas City betting preview, I analyze the teams, discuss the bookmakers’ odds, and share my prediction and pick for Saturday’s match.
New York Red Bulls vs. SKC Match Preview
Having recorded nine wins and nine defeats during the 2020 regular season, the Red Bulls will undoubtedly be eager to establish a sense of consistency early on in the new campaign.
Chris Armas was fired midway through last term, leaving Gerhard Struber to pick up the pieces. The Austrian head coach certainly steadied the ship, but vast improvements are required this year.
The 2021 New York Red Bulls roster is stacked with top players. In Aaron Long and Kyle Duncan, Struber has two of the league’s best defenders at his disposal, while guys like Sean Davis and Caden Clark are expected to pull strings in midfield. Still, the team lacks goalscorers.
The Red Bulls were the eighth-lowest scorers in the East last season, with Brian White and Daniel Royer netting most of their side’s goals. New signings such as Cameron Harper, Luther Archimede, and Fabio will need to contribute to that department.
On a brighter note, the Red Bulls haven’t lost any of their last four meetings with SKC in all competitions, picking up two wins and two draws in the process.
It's finally matchweek, people.— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) April 12, 2021
No team in Major League Soccer has more season-opening wins than our 14 Ws.
Let's extend that record Saturday, KC. ?https://t.co/KF91uhOAx5
Unlike the Red Bulls, Sporting KC was largely consistent throughout 2020. I mean, you don’t win the Western Conference without being consistent, do you?
Having registered 12 wins, three draws, and six defeats across the regular season, SKC finished with a points per game average of 1.86. The Sounders (1.77) and the Timbers (1.70) also racked up 39 points, but the Wizards’ superior record saw them triumph.
Peter Vermes’ men were by no means prolific in front of goal last term, finishing as the West’s fourth-highest scorers. They also ended up with only the third-best defensive record in the division. However, they frustrated their opponents and continuously found ways to avoid defeat.
Following a hugely efficient regular season, the Wizards eventually crumbled in the playoffs. Needless to say, they will be desperate to make amends this year.
Having said that, SKC’s last MLS victory over the Red Bulls came all the way back in 2017. Vermes’ men have struggled in this fixture in recent years.
Red Bulls vs. Sporting KC Odds
With the home-field advantage on their side, the Red Bulls (2.30) head into Saturday’s clash as narrow favorites. But the leading online sports betting sites clearly believe that SKC (2.70) will put up a fight in Harrison.
As you can see, the odds gap for this matchup is tight. With that in mind, the draw (3.45) could be the way to go here.
My Prediction for Red Bulls vs. SKC
In my opinion, the draw is the best bet for New York Red Bulls vs. Sporting Kansas City. This is one of the toughest games to call on the opening weekend of the 2021 MLS season, making sense to back the draw.
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