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Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers | MLS match preview

SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs PORTLAND TIMBERS

SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.

April 27, 2013 (WEEK 9, MLS Game #76)
7:30 p.m. CT (KSMO; KPDX/Estrella)

Their winning streak and shutout streak put to an end on the back side of a bicoastal road trip, Sporting Kansas City return to home to take on the surging Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at Sporting Park. SKC followed a midweek win in New York with a 2-0 loss at the LA Galaxy in their last contest. The Timbers are unbeaten in their last five, opening their road swing with a 1-1 draw at the San Jose Earthquakes.

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE (PDF)

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. AR1 (bench): Fabio Tovar; AR2 (opposite): Chris Strickland; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 81 games; FC/gm: 24.4; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 15; pens: 11

DISABLED LIST: KC: Teal Bunbury; Jacob Peterson
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic, Oriol Rosell
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: KC: Mikey Lopez (U.S. U-20)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Sporting KC 2 wins, 5 goals … Timbers 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 0
AT KANSAS CITY (1 meeting): Sporting KC 1 win, 3 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS)
4/21: POR 1, KC 0 (own goal 41)

  • This is the only meeting of the season between the two clubs.
  • The Timbers won the only meeting between the teams last year, a 1-0 win April 21 at Jeld-Wen Field that put an end to SKC’s season-opening seven-game winning streak.
  • Sporting won both meetings between the teams in Portland’s inaugural MLS season in 2011.
  • Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. POR: P3 W2 L1 D0 … Caleb Porter vs. KC: first game

SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City saw their three-game winning streak come to an end on the back side of their coast-to-coast road trip, falling 2-0 to the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. Sporting remain in the lead of the Eastern Conference with 14 points from 8 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Galaxy opened the scoring and ended SKC's long shutout streak in the 27th minute. Marcelo Sarvas won a loose ball in midfield and fed Landon Donovan for an open run down the left channel. Donovan took the ball into the box, eluded Aurélien Collin and slotted it into the middle, where Sarvas tapped it home.
  • The Galaxy struck again on the counter in the 74th minute. Sarvas fed Robbie Keane a through ball from Galaxy territory, sending him all alone in behind the Sporting backline. He took the ball to the box and played it to the right for Donovan, who fired into an empty net.
  • Sporting manager Peter Vermes kept the same team for a fourth consecutive match, keeping the group that came away from Red Bull Arena with a 1-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Oriol Rosell (Peterson Joseph 46) - Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber (Bobby Convey 76) - Graham Zusi, Claudio Bieler, C.J. Sapong (Soony Saad 67).

TEAM NEWS
Sporting lost for the first time since March 9, ending a three-game winning streak and five-game undefeated run, in the back end of their bicoastal road trip after a midweek victory in New York.

  • “Obviously the fatigue and the goal opened us up a little bit more. The second goal doesn’t really doesn’t mean anything at the end of the day based on the fact that we were trying to push forward to get back in the game at that point,” said SKC manager Peter Vermes. “It’s a tough road trip the way we had to travel.”
  • SKC saw their shutout streak come to an end after 546 minutes, the fifth-longest streak in MLS history. They had previously been scored upon March 9 in a 2-1 loss at Toronto FC, also their last loss.
  • “I really don’t care personally about the shutout streak. All I care is that if we have a clean sheet at the end of the game, we scored one or two, then obviously we get the points,” Vermes said.
  • Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen faced a season-high five shots on target in the Galaxy loss (matching the total he saw in the season-opening 3-1 win vs. Philadelphia).
  • “It’s disappointing the way we performed, that’s what’s disappointing,” said Nielsen. “Not the shutout [streak ending]. Big games like this, you just don’t play bad like we did today. Right now I’m extremely disappointed and sad that we couldn’t perform better on a fantastic night like this, full stadium, two big teams.”
  • After a five-match absence from action, Bobby Convey made his first appearance since March 9, coming on as a 76th-minute substitute for Benny Feilhaber.
  • Peterson Joseph saw his longest shift of the season, coming on at halftime in place of Oriol Rosell. He had made five appearances totaling 65 minutes before the LA match.
  • “Do you want all of your players available all season? Sure,” Vermes said. “But we knew coming into this year that wasn't going to be the case. But we're in a good place on the table at the moment, and that's the point of all this – trying to keep yourself in a good position, in a good striking distance for everything.”

READ: SKC's Vermes says he would take Kei Kamara "back in a heartbeat"

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers saw their winning streak end but still extended their undefeated run to five games, gaining a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Timbers are in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with 10 points from 7 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Timbers took the lead in the 58th minute when Diego Valeri pounced on a deflected shot by teammate Ryan Johnson and pounded home a bouncing ball from 12 yards out.
  • But the Earthquakes once again showed their remarkable late magic. A long restart from goalkeeper Jon Busch was flicked on and bounded around the box before Chris Wondolowski gave a subtle touch to tee things up for rookie Adam Jahn, who went to his left to beat goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts cleanly.
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made one change to the team that recorded a 1-0 win against San Jose at Jeld-Wen Field. Diego Valeri came back into the team in place of Kalif Alhassan.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Jack Jewsbury, Mikael Silvestre, Mamadou Danso, Michael Harrington - Diego Chara, Will Johnson - Darlington Nagbe (Ben Zemanski 86), Diego Valeri (Kalif Alhassan 76), Rodney Wallace - Ryan Johnson (Frederic Piquionne 78).

READ: Timbers' in-form Ricketts hails Caleb Porter: "He's the reason why I'm here"

TEAM NEWS

  • The Timbers equaled their MLS club record by extending their undefeated streak to five games (2-0-3). The club’s two-game winning streak came to an end in the back half of the home-and-home with San Jose.
  • “We knew it would be really difficult to go into San Jose and get another win, knowing how motivated they would be, knowing how they play and knowing that they’re a good team and good at home,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. “In the end, the perspective is positive that we get a point, but we were a minute away from getting three points. So when you’re so close, it makes it a little tougher.”
  • The Timbers are also still undefeated on their travels, with draws from trips to Seattle, Colorado and San Jose. A year ago, Portland was 1-12-5 away from Jeld-Wen Field; they did not record their third road point until a tie in Toronto on Aug. 15.
  • “What’s even more impressive is we’re not happy with the draws,” Porter said. “That means that you genuinely have belief in your group. These guys, no matter if we’re home or away or who we’re playing, they believe we can get a result.”
  • The Timbers were beaten for a goal for the first time in 312 minutes with the Earthquakes’ late equalizer, the second-longest shutout streak in MLS this season (behing Sporting KC’s 546-minute streak, ended the night before). The 312-minute streak is third-longest in the club’s MLS history.
  • “Caleb knows how to lead his team. He has come in here and treated us greatly and knows how to put together a winning team,” said goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. “Being with him has really gotten me to improve on my skills and to be the better player I always strived to be.”
  • Diego Valeri was able to return to the lineup after missing a game with a concussion suffered vs. Houston on April 6. He netted his second goal of the season, after scoring Portland’s first goal of the year in the 3-3 draw with New York.
  • “These guys have shown all year long that it’s about the team. You take one guy out, next guy in, nothing changes,” said Porter. “We have a system that we play. Everybody knows their role, and it’s not just the first XI. It’s the next XI. Every single day we’re preparing everybody on this team to be able to plug right in our system.”
  • Mamadou “Futty” Danso started for a second match in central defense alongside Mikael Silvestre, again replacing Andrew Jean-Baptiste, who was a late scratch from the first San Jose game with a hip injury. “I like to build off past games, and if Futty is healthy it’s going to be hard to take him out of the lineup,” said Porter.