May 28, 2024

Sporting Kansas City appears to be in a favorable position to advance to the next round of the MLS Cup Playoffs following a significant away victory against the expansion team, St. Louis City SC, in the first game of their best-of-three series.

Sporting Kansas City (3-1-1), despite finishing eighth in the MLS Western Conference, showcased their strength by defeating St. Louis City SC 4-1 in the opening match of the series. Coach Peter Vermes of Kansas City praised Gadi Kinda’s performance in the game, highlighting his crucial role in the victory.

Kinda contributed one of Kansas City’s four goals in the 4-1 triumph over St. Louis City SC. The intensity displayed by Kansas City may stem from their challenging journey to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs, including a tough match against the San Jose Earthquakes that they won in a penalty shootout.

St. Louis City SC (2-0-3), as an expansion team, achieved a remarkable feat by finishing first in the MLS Western Conference. However, their momentum has dwindled with three consecutive losses, including the first playoff game against Kansas City. Coach Bradley Carnell acknowledged the team’s need to bounce back and learn from the defeat, emphasizing the importance of understanding how to handle losses in the pursuit of becoming champions.

St. Louis faces a daunting task in the upcoming away game, with the team not currently performing at its best. This contrasts with their strong start to the MLS season, where they won their first five games as an expansion team.

Key Players and Injuries:
Both teams have standout players to watch. Alan Pulido leads Kansas City with 14 goals, while Dániel Sallói and Erik Thommy share the lead in assists.

St. Louis boasts a balanced scoring attack, with Nicholas Gioacchini and João Klauss each scoring 10 goals in all competitions. Eduard Löwen is their 2023 assist leader, providing nine assists for the club.

In terms of injuries, Kansas City’s center-back, Kortne Ford, is sidelined due to Achilles tendon surgery. St. Louis’s midfielder Rasmus Elm is unavailable due to a sports hernia.

Historical Matches:
Both teams have met twice at each other’s venues. St. Louis secured two victories at home, with a 4-0 win and a recent 4-1 victory during the regular season against Sporting Kansas City. However, in their sole meeting in Kansas City so far, St. Louis City SC lost 2-1 at Children’s Mercy Park.

In the upcoming game, it’s predicted that Sporting Kansas City and St. Louis City SC will draw 1-1, with Kansas City winning 4-3 in penalties. Sporting Kansas City has an opportunity to eliminate a first-seeded Western Conference team early in the MLS Cup Playoffs, but St. Louis is expected to give their all. The match could go either way, but the home advantage and crowd support may tip the scales in favor of Kansas City in a penalty shootout at Children’s Mercy Park. A loss would mean a return to St. Louis for the final and deciding game of the best-of-three MLS Cup Playoffs series between these two teams.

The game is scheduled to start at 5:00 PM ET (4:00 PM CST in local time) and will be broadcast live on Apple TV.

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