MLS Picks Sunday April 9th
It’s Soccer Sunday, which means we’ve got a pair of nationally-televised MLS showdowns on tap. The New York Red Bulls will be looking to finally hit the ground running after a sluggish start to the season when they travel south to take on Orlando City. That one will go down at 4pm Eastern and you can catch the action on ESPN.
In the nightcap, we have a pair of defensive-minded Western Conference foes going head-to-head with Colorado taking on Kansas City. SKC have been involved in three scoreless draws already this season with a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes mixed in. The Rapids, meanwhile, are coming off a rather disappointing 2-2 draw against Minnesota United two weeks ago. This one gets going at 7pm Eastern on Fox Sports 1.
Here’s what to watch for as we close out week 5.
Both of these clubs are coming off of setbacks last week. The Red Bulls were crushed 4-1 against Houston, while City were beaten 2-0 by the red-hot Columbus Crew.
New York was supposed to be one of the highest-scoring teams in the league again this season, but the shooting boots have gone missing in the early stages. The Red Bulls have mustered just five goals through the first four games, and two of those were own goals scored by their opponents. Daniel Wright-Phillips has two of the goals, and he scored the opener last week in Houston.
The talent is still here, it just isn’t producing. This team has succeeded in previous seasons by winning the ball back and creating chances high up the pitch, but that pressing has been absent for the most part this season. For all their struggles they’re still 2-2-1, however, so things could certainly be worse.
The Lions, meanwhile, will continue to play without talisman Kaka, who will miss another game this week as a result of the hamstring injury he suffered in the season opener against NYC. Cyle Larin has been stellar in his place, though Orlando’s attack was stifled last week by an in-form Columbus side.
The Red Bulls will be playing just their second away match of the season after losing in Houston last week. Orlando City has won both of its home matches to this point, and we like them to secure another three points against a NYRB squad still finding its footing.
The weekend’s action ends with Sporting Kansas City hosting the Colorado Rapids in a matchup between two of the league’s most dominant home sides. SKC will do the honors of hosting this one, though, as they continue to ride an insane unbeaten streak at Children’s Mercy Park.
Sporting haven’t lost a home game in each of their last 11 outings, which is one away from matching a club record set back in 2015. However, they’ll have to topple a Colorado team that has won each of the last five regular season meetings between these two clubs. That streak came after KC had gone unbeaten in 11 straight games against Colorado from 2009 until 2015.
These teams have been two of the league’s most impotent thus far. The Rapids have mustered just three goals amid their 1-1-1 start, while Sporting have scored only twice. Kansas City is unbeaten so far, though, with a win along with three draws through four games.
Sporting figures to be more aggressive in attack considering they’re at home, while the Rapids will likely be content to sit back and try to defend their way to a draw on the road. This one has draw written all over it.