Real Salt Lake defender Aaron Herrera, left, gains control of the ball from Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi during the first half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, in Kansas City, Kan. (AP Photo/Nick Tre. Smith)
- Third-seeded Sporting KC are the highest Western seed remaining after elimination of Colorado, Seattle
- Seventh-seeded Real Salt Lake now stand between them and Western Conference final
- Read on for Sporting KC vs RSL odds, a full preview, and the best bet for Sunday’s MLS playoff meeting
In a postseason of twists and upsets, Real Salt Lake, who only snuck into the postseason with one of the last kicks of the regular season – against Sporting KC no less – made even more history in the opening round. In an MLS Cup playoff first, RSL became the first team to advance without taking a shot, eliminating the two-time champion Seattle Sounders on penalty kicks.
Of course, that makes RSL a massive +500 underdog for their Western Conference semifinal clash with Sporting KC on Sunday, November 28, at 3 p.m. EST. After seeing off the Vancouver Whitecaps in the first round, third-seeded KC is now the highest ranked team in the West, after the shock exit of Colorado to Portland, which now awaits the winner of this match in the conference final.
Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake Odds
|Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake||SKC -1.5 (+135) | RSL +1.5 (-155)||SKC -195 | RSL +500 | DRAW +360||Ov 2.5 (-155) | Un 2.5 (+125)|
Odds as of November 27th at DraftKings.
Home Sweet Home?
Sporting KC may technically be the home team on Sunday, but RSL has felt right at home at Children’s Mercy Park ever since it’s lost in the 2013 MLS Cup there in a dramatic shootout against KC.
Since that match, Salt Lake has gone 4-1-3 at the venue, capped most recently by that epic 1-0 victory on Decision Day on November 7th, when Damir Kreilach scored the only goal in the 95th minute to send RSL to the playoffs. The only RSL loss at KC since that MLS Cup loss was in 2017, when Sporting ran out a comfortable 3-0 victor.
Both home and away, Real Salt Lake also hold the historic edge over the Sporting KC too. In 34 all-time head-to-head contests, RSL has won 15, losing 11 and drawing eight. The team has won both contests this season as well, winning 3-1 at home in addition to the recent 1-0 victory.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 27, 2021
However, when it comes to playoff contests, there’s no contest. In addition to edging RSL in the 2013 MLS Cup title match, KC also emerged triumphant from a two-legged tie in the 2018 Western Conference playoffs, earning a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Salt Lake before advancing behind a 4-2 home win for a 5-3 aggregate victory.
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Sporting Scoring For Fun
If there’s one characteristic that Sporting’s 2021 season is built on it’s the team’s potent offense. KC scored 58 goals in the regular season, second behind only New England’s 65. Behind the scoring prowess of Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell, who combined for 31 goals, in addition to 16 assists.
The dynamic duo, back at it again!
Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell start on the wings this afternoon.
— Sporting Matchday (@SKCmatchday) November 20, 2021
That prolific offense certainly powered Sporting’s ability to win games this year. Following the team’s 3-1 playoff-opening win over Vancouver, KC is now 18-0 this season when it scores multiple times in a game. In addition, the team is 12-0-1 when leading at halftime.
Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake 2021 Stats
|17-10-7||2021 MLS Record||14-14-6|
|49.2||Expected Goals Against||48.8|
|WLLLW||Form This Season||WLLWW|
Up against Sporting’s lethal attack, RSL will be happy to let its defense lead the way, just as it did against Seattle in the last round. Salt Lake coach Pablo Mastroeni will be content to let his players frustrate the opposition, particularly given they haven’t conceded a goal in their past 255 minutes.
Real Salt Lake beating Seattle Sounders on penalties without taking a single shot for 120 minutes is what football is all about 😅 pic.twitter.com/sML4LZsWCb
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 24, 2021
However, their defense is not exactly world class, having conceded 54 goals this season, tied for fourth-most in the league, in addition to conceding 13 goals in the last 15 minutes of games, tied for the second-most in MLS.
But it’s been good enough to keep RSL in games, with the team dropping 11 one-goal games, and given the intensity of the playoffs, one-goal games are very much en vogue.
Best bet: Sporting KC -1.5 (+135)
For the last 20 years, Paul Attfield has worked in sports media. Starting out in his native Britain with the likes of The Independent, he eventually switched continents, with his work appearing in the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Yahoo Sports since.