Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 15
Providence Park - Portland
June 9 – 10:30 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN+, MLS LIVE on DAZN (Canada)
Two Western Conference powers who haven’t lost since April meet up in a Saturday night showdown at Providence Park, with the host Portland Timbers unbeaten in their last seven, while Sporting Kansas City have gone five games without defeat.
Sporting Kansas City have won four of their seven regular season visits to Portland since the Timbers joined MLS in 2011. Real Salt Lake (three) is the only other club with more than two league wins at Providence Park, per Opta.
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Their six-game winning streak came to an end, but Diego Valeri made sure the Timbers (6-3-3) wouldn’t suffer their first defeat since April 8 when he leveled from the penalty spot in the 57th minute to secure a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy on Saturday.
In the draw, though, Diego Chara was booked in the second half — his fifth yellow card of the season — resulting in a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation. How significant is this? According to Jamie Goldberg of The Oregonian, Portland are 0-11-6 with a negative-21 goal differential in 17 games without the defensive midfielder.
“I was very pleased not only because we were able to score the two goals and win the match, but we showed some maturity with a lot of the young guys,” Giovanni Savarese said. “We kept the ball, we knew when to move it, when to go forward and all around I thought it was a great performance by the guys. I’m very proud of the way they played today.”
- Suspended: M - Diego Chara
- Suspended after next caution: D - Larrys Mabiala
- International duty: M - David Guzman, M - Andy Polo
- Injury Report: OUT: D - Roy Miller (left Achilles tendon injury), D - Liam Ridgewell (right quad injury), GK - Jake Gleeson (back injury); QUESTIONABLE: M - Jack Barmby (right lower left injury), D - Alvas Powell (left thigh injury)
Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Jeff Attinella — Bill Tuiloma, Larrys Mabiala, Julio Cascante, Zarek Valentin — Cristhian Paredes, Lawrence Olum, Andres Flores — Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco — Samuel Armenteros
- Notes: Samuel Armenteros is averaging a goal every 117.3 minutes this season, the seventh-best ratio of any player with at least 10 appearances. … Dating back to last season, Portland are unbeaten in their last 11 MLS matches at Providence Park (10W-1D), conceding multiple goals just once in that time.
Sporting Kansas City
After consecutive draws, Sporting Kansas City (8-2-4) decisively defeated Minnesota United FC, 4-1, on Sunday. Goals by Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal and Cristian Lobato three minutes apart late in the first half gave Sporting a commanding 3-1 halftime lead and Diego Rubio’s 81st-minute goal was the icing on the cake.
On Wednesday, Sporting opened defense of their U.S. Open Cup title with a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake in an all-MLS Fourth Round matchup. Johnny Russell opened the scoring two minutes into the second half and Kharlton Belmar added a 74th-minute insurance goal.
“I thought that from Belmar’s perspective, his movement off the ball was really, really good,” Peter Vermes said. “He put a lot of pressure on the two central defenders. He put them under a lot of pressure because of his movement. He's a powerful dude. He's athletic. He's strong. But at the same time, I think he's got good soccer instincts on the field.”
- Suspended: None
- Suspended after next caution: None
- International duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: M - Felipe Gutierrez (sports hernia surgery), D - Jimmy Medranda (knee injury); QUESTIONABLE: D/M - Brad Evans (thigh injury), F - Khiry Shelton (thigh injury), M - Yohan Croizet (hamstring injury), D - Seth Sinovic (undisclosed injury)
Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Tim Melia — Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Jaylin Lindsey — Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez, Yohan Croizet — Johnny Russell, Daniel Salloi, Gerso Fernandes
- Notes: Tim Melia has faced Portland five times before in league play. He has averaged 4.4 saves per game (second most against any MLS club) and has three clean sheets (third most against any MLS club) against the Timbers. … Sporting Kansas City opened 2018 by allowing nine goals in their first four games of the season (2W-1L-1D). They have allowed five goals in the 10 matches since (6W-1L-3D).
- Overall: Portland Timbers 3 wins, 10 goals … Sporting Kansas City 6 wins, 12 goals … 3 draws
- At Portland: Timbers 2 wins, 5 goals … Sporting Kansas City 4 wins, 5 goals … 1 draw
- Last meeting at Portland: Portland Timbers 0, Sporting Kansas City 1 (April 15, 2017)
Referee: Christopher Penso
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Hanson, Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Joseph Dickerson
VAR: Alex Chilowicz