Sporting Kansas City vs New York City FC | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Sporting Kansas City vs New York City FC

Children’s Mercy Park – Sunday, March 4th 2018 – 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT)

Sporting Kansas City vs New York City FC: Preview

Sunday evening sees two sides tipped for big things this season start their 2018 campaign. Sporting Kansas City wouldn’t have placed New York City FC too high in the list for teams they wanted to face on opening weekend.

Sporting KC had the best MLS defence of 2017, but ultimately didn’t have the firepower in attack to lead them to glory.

In an ever competitive Western Conference, Peter Vermes and his side will have to be at it from the off to ensure they don’t get left behind in the race for top spot. They have made some high quality signings but have also seen some key players depart, so it’s going to be interesting to see how they line up come Sunday.

New York City FC need this to be a big season. It’s their fourth MLS campaign and last season was the first time they really started to look a classy outfit on a consistent basis.

Patrick Vieira has done a good job as NYCFC head coach so far, helped in part by his big names performing – but now they need to step up and make it their business to top the Eastern Conference.

Key faces like Andrea Pirlo and Jack Harrison have departed through retirement and transfers respectively but with some youthful attacking additions, along with talisman and consistent performer David Villa, they should be a force to be reckoned with.

Sporting Kansas City vs New York City FC: Team News

Sporting Kansas City

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: None

(Take a look at all Sporting Kansas City’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

New York City FC

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: Jo Inge Berget (right quad strain)

(Take a look at all New York City’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

Sporting Kansas City vs New York City FC: Key Stats

Sporting Kansas City’s MLS form: N/A

New York City FC’s MLS form: N/A

Key stat: Fortress – SKC are unbeaten in 16 of their last 17 home games.

Sporting Kansas City vs New York City FC: Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 1-1 New York City FC: This is a difficult one to call. Given SKC’s defensive solidarity and NYCFC’s attacking prowess it may be a case of the two powers meeting their match. Neither side will be happy starting their campaign without a win, but given the magnitude of this fixture, avoiding defeat in week one would be a welcomed outcome. Definitely a game to watch.

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Orlando City vs DC United | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Orlando City vs DC United

Orlando City Stadium – Saturday, March 3rd 2018 – 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT)

Orlando City vs DC United: Preview

The opening game of Orlando City’s 2018 MLS season is to be played at home. They welcome fellow Eastern Conference side DC United to Orlando City Stadium as both sides kick off the new season with reason for optimism.

There have been some major changes to the Orlando roster during the offseason. Kaka has retired after his contract ended, which is a huge blow for the Lions. However, they have acted quickly to bring in a quality replacement in the form of Sacha Kljestan.

Orlando are yet to make it to the playoffs since their inception into MLS three years ago. The pressure is on them to make that happen this season. Jason Kreis has revamped his midfield and knows his side need to be more consistent. A home win in their season opener would go a long way to giving his new look side, and the fans, confidence.

DC United are in a similar position to Orlando for the start of the new season. They too have made improvements to their roster in the offseason. These were the bottom two sides in the East last season and will both be eager to show they are going to have a better 2018.

Making the playoffs will be the main aim for DC this campaign. They won’t want to make it two on the bounce where they fail to make the post season competition.

Ben Olsen will be expecting his side to show what they can do in this tie. However, DC have only won once in Orlando and they’re going to need to make a vast improvement on their away form from last season, where they came away with all three points on just three occasions.

Orlando City vs DC United: Team News

Orlando City

❌ Suspensions: Sacha Kljestan (Red Card) – following his red card for his altercation with Jozy Altidore in the Eastern Conference semifinal, Kljestan serves the first of his two match ban.

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: Uri Rosell (fitness), Dillon Powers (ankle), Josue Colman (thigh bruise) and Dom Dwyer (quad strain)

(Take a look at all Orlando City’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

DC United

❌ Suspensions: Luciano Acosta (Red Card)

❓ Doubts: Darren Mattocks (Calf)

🚑 Out: Russell Canouse (knee sprain) and Taylor Kemp (sports hernia surgery)

(Take a look at all DC United’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

Orlando City vs DC United: Key Stats

Orlando City’s MLS form: N/A

DC United’s MLS form: N/A

Key stat: Orlando City have won their last three home games against DC United.

Orlando City vs DC United: Prediction

Orlando City 2-1 DC United: An opening weekend win for Orlando looks a likely outcome for this one. Both sides are missing key playmakers through suspension but given DC’s poor away record last season and their inability, so far, to cause Orlando major problems, this is a game may well follow suit.

David Villa vs Sebastian Giovinco: How the strikers compare

Two sides expected to battle for MLS supremacy in 2018 will go head-to-head in the Eastern Conference again. It’s New York City FC vs Toronto FC and that also means David Villa vs Sebastian Giovinco in the scoring charts.

Toronto kick things off with the season opener on Saturday at home against Columbus Crew, while NYCFC aren’t in action until Sunday evening. They face a trip to SKC.

They were the top two sides in the East last season, however Toronto finished 12 points ahead, winning the Supporters’ Shield. Interestingly the pressure on Villa to deliver the good is seemingly more than Giovinco. NYCFC scored 56 goals last season, compared to Toronto’s 74.

Both players head into their fourth season. Villa is yet to win any silverware, while Giovinco and Toronto are looking to defend their historic treble from 2017. There is no doubting how influential they both are and how much of an impact they can have on how their side performs respectively. But how do the two compare?

David Villa vs Sebastian Giovinco in stats

David Villa vs Sebastian Giovinco compared

Their stats are incredibly similar. Villa has played in an additional eight games, mainly due to Giovinco’s injury struggles last season. Villa’s goal output is higher, having scored eight more goals.

However, Giovinco’s direct involvement in overall goals is where he comes into his own. In his 86 appearances he has contributed to 92 goals, with his 37 assists nearly doubling Villa’s 21.

Villa does however have a better minutes per goal ratio, making him the more clinical of the two with his chances.

Last season Villa finished on 22 goals, while Gio netted 16. They were outscored by Nemanja Nikolic, who topped the standings with 24. Both players will have an eye on winning the golden boot this season. Although personal accolades aren’t going to be their main aim, it’s going to be an interesting battle to watch.

Who will score more goals this season? 

Will there be a new all-time MLS leading goal scorer in the 2018 campaign?

The excitement is ramping up as the 2018 Major League Soccer season is just five days away. Clubs have been busy and it looks set to be one of the most competitive seasons ever given the influx of quality players into the league. However, one of the veterans could become the new all-time MLS leading goal scorer if stats are anything to go by.

That man is Chris Wondolowski. The San Jose Earthquakes forward is on an impressive 134 goals in 293 MLS games. The current record holder, Landon Donovan, sits top of the pile on 145, meaning Wondo needs just 12 goals to break the record.

Wondo’s form over the last five seasons suggests he is on course to net the 11 goals needed to equal the record. Age hasn’t yet been an issue for him either, despite celebrating his 35 birthday in the offseason, his form has been extremely consistent since turning 30 in 2013.

MLS leading goal scorer: Can Wondo break the record?

He has averaged 13.2 goals across his last five seasons. Wondo has not scored less than 11 goals in a season since 2009. He didn’t become a regular scorer until the 2010 season so the stats make for positive reading.

While Wondolowski won’t be playing for just personal accolades, he will surely have an eye on the record and will hope he can hit the ground running when MLS kicks off in less than a week.

Will Wondo break the all-time MLS leading goal scorer record this season?