New York Red Bull vs Sporting Kansas CityMLS, KO: 01:00 Apr 18, 2021, Red Bull Arena
After their impressive showing last season, Sporting Kansas City kick off the new season with a trip to New York Red Bulls in their opening match of the 2021 MLS season. With the hosts likely to need a bedding in period following some major overhaul in the close season, Kansas are likely to have the edge in this first encounter.
New York Red Buls go into the new season hoping to put last term's poor showing behind them. They endured a disappointing campaign last time out, finishing in 13th place overall after coming sixth in the Eastern Conference.
This will be the first full season for manager Gerhard Struber, who was appointed towards the end of the previous campaign. The Austrian is already overseeing an overhaul of the squad with around 10 new players arriving in the close season and others potentially to follow while mainstays like Tim Parker and Kaku have been allowed to leave.
Despite all the freshness in the squad, New York were not overly impressive in preseason, claiming a win and a draw from their two matches. They are often inconsistent at home and have claimed just three wins in their last eight MLS matches at the Red Bull Arena with a 3-0 defeat to Philadelphia Union and a 1-0 loss to Inter Miami among their results in that run.
Sporting Kansas City were one of the more impressive sides in the MLS last season, winning the Western Conference and finishing third overall. They were slightly inconsistent in preseason with two wins and a draw from four matches, although they earned a 1-0 victory over LA Galaxy in their final preparatory fixture.
The Wizards also made some changes to their squad during the close season, letting go of some of the older heads for the younger generation. Fan favourite Matt Besler was among those allowed to leave alongside Winston Reid, Erik Hurtado and Felipe Gutierrez.
Key for Sporting Kansas City is retaining manager Peter Vermes who was at the heart of last season’s impressive showing. They have won their last two away matches in the MLS and will be confident of gaining the upper hand in New York.
How the bookies view it
The bookies appear to be split on this one with New York Red Bulls priced at 10/7 by Vbet to win while a victory for Sporting Kansas is valued at 15/8 by bet365. A draw is set at odds of 27/10 by betfair.
With Sporting Kansas City expected to be one of the contenders this season, I am tipping them to begin their campaign with a win.
Head to head
Sporting Kansas City have a slight edge in this fixture with 24 wins from 61 previous matches. New York Red Bulls have 23 wins while there have been 15 draws between both teams.
New York Red Bulls earned a 2-1 victory in the last meeting between both teams during last season’s Mobile Mini Sun Cup.
Players to watch
Following their overhaul in the close season, New York Red Bulls go into the new season with a number of young unknowns. They will be hoping Brazilian striker Fabio Roberto Gomes can hit the ground running with bet365 offering 13/8 in the anytime goalscorer market.
Despite making changes to their squad, Sporting Kansas still retained a majority of their starters from last season. Johnny Russell is still expected to lead the line and is priced at 13/5 by Paddy Power to score anytime.
Anything else catch the eye?
With New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City often adopting an attacking style, it could be worth picking both teams to score at 5/8 with Vbet. Over 2.5 goals could also be an option at 8/11 with bet365 while Unibet is offering 19/10 for over 3.5 goals.
Sporting Kansas City could also be backed to score first at 11/10 with bet365.
This MLS match between New York Red Bull and Sporting Kansas City will be played on Apr 18, 2021 and kick off at 01:00. Check below for our tipsters best New York Red Bull vs Sporting Kansas City prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.