3998 minutes. For Sporting KC, that’s the amount of time between kickoff against Austin and a devastating penalty kick knockout in the U.S. Open against Sacramento Republic FC that included backflips, Panekas, and a single miss. There was basically no rotation for Sporting KC in that match either, meaning they’re carrying tired legs into a matchup against a team that has MLS’s 4th highest possession stat.
Sporting KC are statistically the worst team in the West, and it’s not particularly close. At 0.87 points per game, they trail the next closest team by almost 0.2, and their goal differential of -21 is so bad it looks like a typo. The advanced analytics don’t do them any favors either. Their season-long xG of 18.7 is a full 6 xG behind the next closest team.
In addition to not being able to put balls in the back of the net, they’re leaking like a sieve on the defensive end — allowing the 4th most goals/90. To compound those issues, their goalkeeping hasn’t been stellar either. As our analysis last week pointed out, Tim Melia has the league’s 2nd worst post-shot xG-G, an indication that he’s giving up goals he shouldn’t.
The big Austin FC news this week was the signing of Argentinian winger Emiliano Rigoni from Brazilian side São Paulo. Earliest indications seem to point to the new signing not being available for a few weeks as visa, fitness, and chemistry issues are worked through. Expect his former Zenit teammate, Sebastian Driussi, to steal the headlines in the meantime. With the exit of Taty Castellanos, Austin’s playmaker now sits at the top of the league with 13 goals. Austin’s next three games are Sporting KC, San Jose, and Sporting again; with a run of dominant performances, Seba could position himself in the driver seat of the MVP race.
LNV is on vacation this week, so we’ve focused just on the matchup against Sporting KC. We’ve got something cooking for the San Jose matchup, however, so watch this space!