Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City | MLS Match Preview

PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY
PROVIDENCE PARK, Portland, Ore.
June 27, 2014 (WEEK 16, MLS Game #140) 11 p.m. ET (KPTV FOX 12; KMCI-38)

Meeting for the second time in four days, this time in league play, the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City resume their seasons following the World Cup break when they meet Friday evening at Providence Park. The teams met Tuesday in a U.S. Open Cup fifth-round match, Portland winning 3-1 at Kansas City. The Timbers come into the game after salvaging yet another late point in a draw with FC Dallas, while Sporting put a stop to a five-game winless run with a 2-0 home win vs. the Houston Dynamo.

REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Mike Kampmeinert; AR2 (opposite): Jeremy Hanson; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
Villarreal MLS Career: 35 games; FC/gm: 23.7; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 14; pens: 10

SUSPENDED: KC: Antonio Dovale (through June 29)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Pa Modou Kah, Diego Chara
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Norberto Paparatto … KC: Benny Feilhaber, Paulo Nagamura, Antonio Dovale, Eric Kronberg
DISABLED LIST: KC: Peterson Joseph, Ike Opara, Chance Myers
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: KC: Graham Zusi, Matt Besler (USA)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Timbers 2 wins, 6 goals … Sporting KC 2 wins, 7 goals … Ties 0
AT PORTLAND (2 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 2 goals … Sporting KC 1 win, 2 goals …Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS)
4/27: KC 2, POR 3 (Myers 1, 29 – R. Johnson 24; Nagbe 33; Wallace 58)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season. The teams are meeting for the second time this week after playing a Round-of-16 match in the US Open Cup in Kansas City on Tuesday.
  • The Timbers have won the last two meetings between the clubs over the last two seasons, including a 3-2 victory last April 27 at Sporting Park in the only encounter between the clubs.
  • Sporting won the first two meetings between the teams in the Timbers' first MLS season in 2011.
  • Coaches' records: Caleb Porter vs. KC: P1 W1 L0 T0 … Peter Vermes vs. POR: P4 W2 L2 T0

US OPEN CUP

  • Just four days before their league match, the teams met in a fifth-round match in the US Open Cup, the Timbers advancing with a 3-1 victory at Sporting Park. Gastón Fernández scored a pair of goals (30, 69), while Will Johnson converted a penalty kick (57) as Portland raced out to a three-goal lead. Soony Saad scored the lone SKC goal.
  • The Timbers will now face the Seattle Sounders in the quarterfinals on July 9 at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY: Andy Gruenebaum; Kevin Ellis, Aurelien Collin, Erik Palmer-Brown, Seth Sinovic, Lawrence Olum, Paulo Nagamura (Alex Martinez 84), Antonio Dovale, Sal Zizzo (Jacob Peterson 60), Dom Dwyer (C.J. Sapong 71), Soony Saad
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS: Andrew Weber; Talor Peay, Danny O'Rourke, Norberto Paparatto (Rauwshan McKenzie 29), Jorge Villafana, Jack Jewsbury, Will Johnson, Gaston Fernandez, Kalif Alhassan, Maximiliano Urruti, Steve Zakuani (Michael Harrington 64)

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers once again provided some late heroics, getting another late goal to come back for a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas on June 11 at Providence Park. The Timbers are in sixth place in the Western Conference with 20 points from 16 games.

LAST MLS MATCH

  • FC Dallas took the lead in the 27th minute. Fabian Castillo chested down a perfectly placed chip by Blas Pérez while charging down the right flank, then tucked the ball neatly past a diving Donovan Ricketts.
  • Dallas added on in the 39th minute when rookie Tesho Akindele made a run down the right and sent a pass back through the middle of the area which was first dummied by Castillo before Pérez sent a blast past Ricketts top-shelf.
  • The Timbers began their comeback in the 79th minute when Dallas defender Je-Vaughn Watson took down Fanendo Adi in the box and referee Alan Kelly pointed to the spot, with the penalty converted easily by Will Johnson.
  • FCD were put under further pressure in the 87th minute when Moises Hernandez was shown a red card for a dangerous challenge on second-half substitute Danny O’Rourke, and then Pérez was sent off in stoppage time for stomping Pa Modou Kah to put the visitors two men down.
  • The dramatic equalizer came before the final whistle after a rebound from a Maximiliano Urruti shot fell right to Kah in front of goal, and he calmly finished into an open goal from close range.
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made three changes to the team that defeated Real Salt Lake 3-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Michael Harrington and Pa Modou Kah came into the back four for Jack Jewsbury and Norberto Paparatto, and Steve Zakuani started in place of Gaston Fernandez.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Michael Harrington (Maximiliano Urruti 82), Rauwshan McKenzie (Danny O'Rourke 46), Pa Modou Kah, Jorge Villafana - Will Johnson, Diego Chara - Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri, Steve Zakuani (Gaston Fernandez 60) - Fanendo Adi.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Timbers' late goal on June 11 was their fourth goal in stoppage time this season to secure a late result, snatching draws vs. Philadelphia, LA Galaxy and FC Dallas, and a win vs. D.C. United – with all of those games at Providence Park.
  • The Timbers have scored 10 goals in the final 15 minutes plus added time in MLS games, tied with the Seattle Sounders for the most in the league.
  • “We set a club record for shots, 30 shots [most in MLS this season]. They gave everything they had, couldn’t give anything more. Got that on one hand and on the other hand, just a lot of disappointment,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “... We didn’t allow Dallas to get three points, so they didn’t make up any ground on us. Under the circumstances, to do what we did second half down 2-0 to get the tie, you have to feel not satisfied, but it was a positive result under the circumstances.”
  • The Timbers have drawn seven of their nine matches this season at Providence Park – winning just once and losing just once. The MLS record for home draws in a season is nine, set in 2011 by both Philadelphia and Colorado.
  • Pa Modou Kah scored his first MLS goal, netting the equalizer for his first tally in 39 competitive appearances since coming to the Timbers.
  • Will Johnson scored a goal for a third consecutive match – the last two from the penalty spot. Johnson then made it four straight games with a goal in all competitions when he converted from the spot in the Open Cup tie vs. Sporting KC.
  • Michael Harrington made his first start since being forced from the field injured in the May 11 game vs. LA Galaxy, coming in at right back.
  • “First half was disappointing, it was embarrassing, it was abysmal defending,” Porter said. “But that will be corrected, no doubt about it. The good thing is we have a good team. We have all the makings of a championship team, except for two things and those things will be corrected.”
  • With a view to the league match ahead, Porter traveled to the Open Cup match at KC without key players including attackers Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe, defensive midfielder Diego Chara and starting goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
  • “Now we have those guys fresh,” Porter said. “It’s going to make for an interesting second match, how many guys they rotate and play, how many guys we do, what the tactics are, whether we change our tactics.”
  • Before the Open Cup win vs. Sporting KC, the Timbers advanced past their first hurdle in a 3-0 win against the Orlando City under-23 side of USL PRO in the fourth round at Providence Park. Gaston Fernandez scored twice (11, 36) and Taylor Peay added his first professional goal.
  • Here’s the Timbers team: Weber, Powell (Peay, 56), O’Rourke, McKenzie, Harrington, Jewsbury, Fernández (Fochive, 71), Nanchoff, Alhassan, Urruti, Wallace (Tshuma, 80)

SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City put an end to their winless run after five matches, defeating the Houston Dynamo 2-0 on June 6 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Sporting sit in third place in the Eastern Conference with 22 points from 15 games.

LAST MLS MATCH

  • Sporting went a man down in the 21st minute when Toni Dovale was sent off by referee Juan Guzman for an apparent off-the-ball elbow against Dynamo midfielder Alex Lopez.
  • But the visitors took the lead just before the halftime break. Just minutes after clearing a ball off the line, Dynamo defender Eric Brunner miscontrolled the ball on the edge of his box and it fell to Soony Saad, who coolly stroked a low shot into the far corner.
  • Sporting doubled their despite the manpower disadvantage in the 70th minute after rookie center back A.J. Cochran was adjudged to have handled in the penalty area and Dom Dwyer converted the spot kick.
  • Sporting manager Peter Vermes made three changes to the team that dropped a 1-0 decision to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Erik Palmer-Brown came into central defense for Aurelien Collin, Lawrence Olum started in midfield in place of Alex Martinez, and Soony Saad came back in up top for Jacob Peterson.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Eric Kronberg - Igor Juliao (Jacob Peterson 46), Erik Palmer-Brown, Kevin Ellis, Seth Sinovic - Lawrence Olum - Benny Feilhaber (Sal Zizzo 46), Paulo Nagamura (Alex Martinez 7) - Antonio Dovale (ejected 21), Dom Dwyer, Soony Saad.

TEAM NEWS

  • Sporting won for the first time in league play since May 10, when they won 3-0 at the Montréal Impact, having lost three games and drawn two in over their winless run.
  • “This group of guys, they really deserved three points,” SKC manager Peter Vermes said. “They really did. They've deserved three points here in the last so many games that we've played. They've played well. I'm hoping this is a good confidence-builder for them, because they deserve it. Their commitment, the way they played, was excellent.”
  • Dom Dwyer moved back into a tie with New York’s Bradley Wright-Phillips atop the MLS Golden Boot standings with his 11th goal of the season, his first in three games (since May 23).
  • Soony Saad scored his first league goal of the season against Houston, his first in MLS play since last Sept. 7. He has also netted goals in each of SKC’s two Open Cup ties.
  • “I'm not even concerned with the goal thing,” said Saad. “I'm just disappointed that we aren't going to participate in the U.S. Open Cup further this year. We really took pride in that tournament, so it doesn't really matter to me right now.”
  • With Aurelien Collin sidelined with a recurring hamstring injury, Vermes started an all-Homegrown Player central defense pair of Erik Palmer-Brown and Kevin Ellis. The pair had played together for the final 81 minutes of the 1-0 loss at D.C. United after Collin was forced from the field.
  • Returning from international duty with Kenya, Lawrence Olum made his first league start since May 4, coming into a holding midfield role.
  • Benny Feilhaber was forced from the field at halftime with a shoulder injury, but further tests indicated surgery will not be necessary.
  • “I didn't know what it was, because I've never injured my shoulder,” Feilhaber said. “But I knew something was wrong because of the pain I felt right away. It felt like something popped out of place, something like that. I didn't know what it was, though.”
  • There was another early injury substitution as Paulo Nagamura had to come off after just seven minutes with a head injury.
  • Before the Open Cup match vs. Portland, Sporting won their fourth-round tie in a 2-0 win vs. Minnesota United of the NASL. Soony Saad and Alex Martinez scored late to secure the KC victory.
  • Here’s the Sporting team: Andy Gruenebaum; Jacob Peterson, Erik Palmer-Brown, Kevin Ellis, Seth Sinovic, Victor Munoz (Alex Martinez 36), Lawrence Olum, Claudio Bieler (Sal Zizzo 62), Toni Dovale, Dom Dwyer, Soony Saad (C.J. Sapong 88)