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Preview: Los Angeles FC vs. Sporting Kansas City

Preview: Los Angeles FC vs. Sporting Kansas City

Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Major League Soccer clash between Los Angeles FC and Sporting Kansas City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Los Angeles FC can maintain their 100% record at BMO Stadium this season when they take on Sporting Kansas City in MLS action on Saturday.

The Black and Gold suffered their first defeat of the domestic campaign last weekend, losing 3-0 to Real Salt Lake, while KC played to a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union.

Match preview

Los Angeles FC (LAFC) head coach Steve Cherundolo before the match on February 25, 2024© Reuters

The blistery winter conditions and lengthy delays seemed to impact LA last weekend as they were beaten comprehensively in Salt Lake City.

That was the first time that Steve Cherundolo had seen his side concede three or more goals in a domestic contest away from home since suffering a 4-0 defeat versus the Houston Dynamo in June 2023.

After two matches this year, they already have a defeat under their belt, the earliest this side have ever lost an MLS encounter since entering the league in 2018.

Los Angeles will enter this contest having won four successive matches played at BMO Stadium versus MLS opponents in the regular season and playoffs, including a 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders to kick off the 2024 domestic campaign.

The Black and Gold have never lost a regular-season fixture when leading at the half since September 2022, when they conceded two late strikes to Dallas in a 2-1 defeat.

They have points in four consecutive MLS fixtures versus Sporting KC, including their last three contests against them at BMO Stadium.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Erik Thommy (26) celebrates on February 25, 2024© Reuters

For a second successive campaign, Kansas City have begun an MLS regular season poorly, winless in their opening two domestic contests this year.

Their two points however are as many as they accumulated after five domestic encounters in 2023, with Peter Vermes‘ men squandering four points from a leading position so far.

Sporting Kansas City have not been behind in any of their last four regular season encounters, dating back to October of the previous campaign.

KC went winless in their opening seven away fixtures of the 2023 MLS campaign but have collected at least a point in three of their previous four road games in the regular season.

While they have only netted twice to this point of the 2024 domestic season, it is already as many goals as they had managed from their opening seven league contests a year ago.

They have not won an away match versus LAFC since the 2021 domestic season (4-1), having been outscored by a combined margin of 8-2 in their last three visits to BMO Stadium.

Los Angeles FC Major League Soccer form:

Sporting Kansas City Major League Soccer form:

Los Angeles FC (LAFC) midfielder Timothy Tillman (11) celebrates on February 25, 2024© Reuters

Sergi Palencia will be questionable for the Black and Gold this weekend due to an illness, while Lorenzo Dellavalle is dealing with a right knee injury.

LAFC recently signed Luca Bombino and Diego Rosales to short-term contracts from their LAFC2 squad, but both were on the bench for 90 minutes against RSL.

Hugo Lloris conceded three goals on six shots last Saturday, while the reigning MLS Golden Boot winner Denis Bouanga has failed to score in consecutive regular-season fixtures for the first time since LAFC were shut out in three successive league contests from late September to early October 2023.

Johnny Russell played the full 90 minutes against the Union despite a minor groin strain, Khiry Shelton sat out with a sore ankle and Logan Ndenbe is dealing with an ACL injury.

Zorhan Bassong is still seeking his first start since joining SKC over the off-season, sitting on the bench for their entire match versus Philly, Memo Rodriguez has yet to start for his new club, coming on as a substitute in both of their encounters this season in place of Erik Thommy.

Remi Walter netted his first of the campaign last weekend, Russell has 56 regular season goals, one fewer than Dom Dwyer for the second-most in club history, while Willy Agada is one goal away from 50 at club level.

Los Angeles FC possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Hollingshead, Murillo, Long, Segura; Tillman, Sanchez, Ordaz; Olivera, Bogusz, Bouanga

Sporting Kansas City possible starting lineup:
Melia; Davis, Rosero, Fontas, Leibold; Rodriguez, Radoja, Walter; Russell, Pulido, Salloi

SM words green background

We say: Los Angeles FC 3-1 Sporting Kansas City

While LAFC have given up their share of chances, SKC have been inconsistent defensively, and a striker with the quality of Bouanga could give the Black and Gold an edge in this match.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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