After a thrilling first round of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, just eight teams remain as we are officially on to the Conference Semifinals.
Houston Dynamo FC are coming off a wild Round One series against Real Salt Lake, which went the full three games and included two penalty shootouts, one won by each side.
As for Sporting Kansas City, they continued a Cinderella run that started with a penalty shootout win of their own in the one-game Wild Card round and continued with two thumping wins over top-seeded St. Louis in the second round.
After knocking off the team many considered title favorites, who knows what Kansas City can accomplish next?
This is Will Schwartz from The Game Day, with your breakdown on a fascinating match between two red-hot clubs with a spot in the Western Conference Final on the line.
Don’t miss this match in Houston on Sunday, Nov. 26, at 7:00 pm EST.
Houston Dynamo FC vs. Sporting Kansas City Odds
MLS lines used for Kansas City @ Houston were current as of Nov. 16 at 5:00 p.m. EST on FanDuel Sportsbook.
- Moneyline: Houston (-140) • Draw (+270) • Kansas City (+310)
- Total Goals: Over 2.5 (-136) • Under 2.5 (+112)
- Both Teams to Score: Yes (-146) • No (+114)
This is a three-way moneyline, meaning it’s hard to hit, but the payoff can be great.
Houston is a significant favorite, with better odds than Kansas City and the draw combined, while the game is expected to be relatively low-scoring, as the over for 2.5 goals is barely favored.
Houston Dynamo FC vs. Sporting Kansas City Prediction
Houston Dynamo 2-1 Sporting Kansas City
On paper, this should be a relative non-contest. Houston finished with the Western Conference's third-best goal differential (+13), while Kansas City's was -3.
But none of that matters now – in fact, Kansas City had a much more impressive Round One performance. They knocked off the top seed in the conference and didn’t need a third game or penalty shootout to do it.
These teams also accumulated a very competitive head-to-head record this season. They played three times, twice in MLS and once in the US Open Cup.
One of those meetings was a draw, and the other two were one-goal margins, one win for each team. In both of those instances, the winning team triumphed despite dealing with a first-half red card.
While Kansas City have proven themselves to be quite a handful, Houston will surely feel lucky to have dodged St. Louis on their potential path to winning MLS Cup for the first time since finishing off a successful title defense in 2007.
They haven’t been in the playoffs since 2017, so they’ve already made significant progress in their first postseason opportunity in quite some time.
As for Kansas City, they last held this trophy back in 2013, so they’d love to make a deep run as well, but after a challenging 2022 season, this has already been a fantastic bounce-back campaign.
This should be a solid display of attacking football, as Kansas City ripped in 48 goals this season and six in just a pair of games against St. Louis en route to that first-round upset.
Houston was even better in the regular season, scoring 51 goals, exactly how many Kansas City allowed. But if there's a solid gap between these two clubs, it's in defense; where Houston’s back line held up much better in the regular season, allowing just 38 goals.
Kansas City’s heroes in the first round were winger Dániel Sallói and defender Logan Ndenbe, who each scored in both games against St. Louis.
Ndenbe’s performance was a surprising one, as he didn't score once two regular seasons with SKC prior. But it also marked the end of his season as he tragically tore his ACL.
In the regular season, Mexico’s Alan Pulido was the team’s top scorer, and while he didn’t get on the scoresheet against St. Louis, he contributed three assists across the pair of games.
For Houston, attacking midfielder Amine Bassi scored in two of the three games, providing some much-needed offense.
At the same time, European club veteran Héctor Herrera chipped in a goal and assist and averaged a FotMob rating of 8.25 across the series. There’s plenty of talent on both sides in this matchup, which should be a thrilling, hard-fought one, but ultimately, SKC’s weakness at the back end will likely cost them against a varied Houston attack.
With a tough potential match looming against either defending champ LAFC or perennial contender Seattle, it will be critical for both squads to stay focused on the task at hand rather than looking ahead.
Houston Dynamo FC vs. Sporting Kansas City Best Bets
Over 2.5 Goals (-136) • FanDuel Sportsbook
It would be tempting to grab the “both teams to score” prop in this spot, which has hit in each of the last six Houston games dating back to the regular season, but there’s probably more value in the over, which has hit in seven of KC’s past eight matches.
The KC attack could get shut down or limited by a stifling Houston defense, which is better than what they saw even against St. Louis, but they’ve also shown an ability to absolutely snap off goals, as happened in the first round.
Conversely, there should be essentially no way Houston gets held off the scoresheet; they haven’t been limited to a clean sheet since September and were able to create offense routinely against a Salt Lake defense that relates very closely to Kansas City’s.
Houston Dynamo FC Moneyline (-140) • FanDuel Sportsbook
Houston was one of my favorite picks in the first round, and little has changed that would shift my opinion. I hesitated to advise upon betting on them to lift the Cup, citing the dangers of a single-elimination match at one of the league’s best teams.
Well, now Kansas City is facing that same situation as they’ll travel to Houston, and it’s still a significant negative.
Kansas City have shown that their hot finish to the year was no fluke; they’ve more than earned their place at the table at this point.
But the run stops here, as Houston’s superiority in midfield and especially at the back will be enough to see them through to the Western Conference Semifinal.