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A few much-needed positive results in the last five games have helped Sporting Kansas City overtake LA Galaxy and move one position above the bottom of the Western Conference. However, LA Galaxy have a game in hand and could push Sporting Kansas City back to the bottom of the pile. However, the hosts will be focused on their own games as they have secured all three points against teams like Seattle Sounders and Minnesota United. They also held defending champions Los Angeles FC to a draw before losing to St. Louis City last week.
Meanwhile, Portland Timbers have lost just one out of their last five MLS games, which came last weekend against Minnesota United. During this run, Portland Timbers won an away game against the prolific St. Louis City and held Salt Lake City to a goalless draw in their previous away game. The club is desperately trying to improve their form on the road, but unfortunately for them, the victory against St. Louis City is their only away win in the MLS so far. However, they could nab a second against a struggling Sporting Kansas City side.
In this match, both sides are looking for all available points. The hosts are certainly more desperate, considering their position on the table. Meanwhile, the visitors would like to stay in the playoff qualification spots. This could be one of those games where both teams cancel each other out and are forced to settle for a frustrating stalemate.
After playing each other 24 times in the MLS, the head-to-head record between these two sides is evenly balanced. Both teams have won eight games each, and the remaining eight have ended in a stalemate.
At the Children’s Mercy Park last season, Sporting Kansas City notched a comfortable 4-1 win over Portland Timbers. This came after Portland Timbers thrashed them 7-2 at Providence Park earlier that season.
This year, Portland Timbers played Sporting Kansas City in what was the opening game of the new season for both sides. Juan Mosquera’s sixth-minute goal turned out to be the only goal of the match, as the hosts clinched crucial three points.
Sporting Kansas City have only won one out of the last five MLS games against Portland Timbers. Furthermore, the hosts do not possess a promising home record against Portland Timbers. The hosts have won four times in ten home games, while the visitors have won thrice.
After starting the season with an abysmal ten-game winless streak, Sporting Kansas City shocked the spectators when they beat title contenders Seattle Sounders in their own backyard to nab their first win of the season after seven losses and three draws.
Building on the momentum gained from the crucial victory in Seattle, Sporting Kansas City returned home to clinch a second successive win in the league against Minnesota United. They also managed to keep their fourth clean sheet of the season.
A third win on the trot seemed like a far-fetched dream as they were up against defending champions Los Angeles FC. As the odds and pundits backed the favorites, Sporting Kansas City held them to a 1-1 draw away from home.
The win against Minnesota United also ended Sporting Kansas City’s four-game winless streak at home in the MLS. After that game, the side were on the road for their last two games and are back at the Children’s Mercy Park to face Portland Timbers.
This would be the perfect occasion to rectify their home form as a victory against the visitors would hand Sporting Kansas City back-to-back home wins in the MLS for the first time since October.
Sporting Kansas City have scored just nine goals in 14 MLS games. They are the only side whose goals tally is still in single digits. William Agada’s broken foot has added to the problems in attack.
Agada was the club’s joint-top scorer last season after featuring in only 12 games. However, this season the striker scored just once in six games before getting injured. Now the goalscoring onus is on Johnny Russel and Daniel Salloi.
In the opening fixture of the season, against their next opponents, Portland Timbers nabbed a narrow win with a clean sheet. Their next shutout came four games later in a goalless draw against strugglers LA Galaxy.
Seven games later, last week, they secured their third cleansheet of the season in a goalless draw against Real Salt Lake. Apart from these three games, the defense has struggled to keep attackers at bay.
Even during games that Portland Timbers have won, the defense has been breached at least once on almost all occasions. Due to this, their goal concession rate is slightly higher (1.4 goals per match) than their goal-scoring rate, which is 1.3 goals per match.
To make matters worse, ahead of the crunch encounter against Sporting Kansas City, Portland Timbers are coming into this game after failing to score in the last two MLS games. This is the first time the club has gone two successive games without a goal since April last year.
The last time it happened, the Portland Timbers failed to find the back of the net in three consecutive games in the MLS. The club will do everything in their power to dodge a repeat of that unwanted feat.
Evander Ferreira has scored four goals and pocketed a couple of assists in 11 appearances for Portland Timbers this season in the MLS. Two of those goals came against the Vancouver Whitecaps almost two weeks ago.
In the game before that, the Brazilian assisted both Portland Timbers’ goals in the 2-2 draw against Austin FC. He fired blanks in the last two games and will certainly be hungry to add to his contributions tally against Sporting Kansas City.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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