MLS Las Vegas Free Picks: FC Dallas vs Sporting Kansas City
Sunday, March 25, 2012
by Joe Rodriguez
Kansas City has picked up in 2012 right where it left off in 2011. A strong finish down the stretch last season has given way to an unblemished start to the new campaign as Sporting is 2-0-0.
Along with Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Houston Dynamo, Sporting is also one of only three teams that has not given up a goal thus far.
"It's such a long season," defender Matt Besler said. "There's going to be ups and downs. But we've been saying all along, through the preseason, that we really feel ahead of where we've ever been, and we're two-for-two in showing that.
"That's the most important part, getting the shutouts. If you don't give up a goal, you can't lose and I don't mind not losing."
Sporting has looked worthy contenders for MLS Cup in the early stages of the season, dictating play in both of its matches. At D.C. United in its opening contest, Sporting stole three points thanks to a late goal from C.J. Sapong, but in its home opener against the New England Revolution, Kansas City cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win following the early sending off of Stephen McCarthy.
"When you're winning and you're keeping the ball, you have a lot more energy than when you're defending all the time," said Sporting defender Chance Myers. "I think everybody was having fun out there [on Saturday], but our mentality was right too. We were ready to come out here and perform [vs. New England]."
Sunday should prove to be Sporting greatest test to this point in the season though as it will square off against a stronger opponent in FC Dallas.
Dallas had two home matches to open the season, defeating Red Bull New York, 2-1, in its first match before being held to a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers last time out.
The draw against Portland had its positives and negatives. It was a disappointing outcome when you consider that Dallas took the lead in the match, but according to head coach Schellas Hyndman, missing three star players meant that a draw was not a terrible result.
"It was a good result for us considering we were without three of our most important attacking phase players: Fabian Castillo, Brek Shea and David Ferreira," Hyndman said. "I was really pleased with the effort the boys put in. I was very happy we fought all the way to the last second."
Dallas will need Panamanian international Blas Perez to have a good game on Sunday if the club harbors any hope of coming away from Sporting's fortress with any points. Perez provided the assists on both of the club's goals in the defeat of New York before going on to score the lone goal against Portland.
"I feel good [about how I've played so far]," Perez said. "I know there are going to be difficult moments in every game, but you have to be mentally and physically prepared. You have to be mature in the sense that when difficult times come, you have to overcome them."
Las Vegas Sports Betting MLS Prediction: Kansas City 1, Dallas 1
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