Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers
Venue: Sporting Park – Saturday, March 21 – 20:30 ET (00:30 GMT – Sunday 22)
Match Odds: Sporting Kansas City 1/1 – Draw 12/5 – Portland Timbers 11/4
Both sides need to get that first win to avoid any psychological issues setting in and to relieve any early pressure.
Sporting Kansas City have had a tough start to the season so could be forgiven for being at the foot of the Western Conference at this early stage, but there are still a couple of positives from their results.Embed from Getty Images
Drawing in the opener to New York Red Bulls with ten men was a good point. Losing away at FC Dallas, but still managing to get on the scoresheet, shows they are capable of breaking down stronger sides and had Dom Dwyer scored his penalty, they could have got more from the game.
Portland Timbers’ opening two fixtures have been no easier, so their two draws against Real Salt Lake and MLS Cup holders LA Galaxy are not to be frowned upon.
The Timbers were so close to upsetting Galaxy after scoring late on and were desperately unlucky to concede in the last seconds of the game.
Sporting KC will need to make their home advantage count and they cannot afford to lose to sides close to them in the table as they will be further distanced from the pack in what is a highly competitive Western Conference.
The quicker they can get points on the board, the less chasing they’ll have to do in an attempt to make up the difference. Head coach Peter Vermes will have players aware of the importance of winning this game despite it being just their third of the year.Embed from Getty Images
The Timbers will be hopeful of another fine performance in front of goal from Fanendo Adi and after his brace against Galaxy his confidence will be sky high.
Kansas City will be hopeful that last season’s goal machine, Dom Dwyer, can get off the mark this weekend as his goals will play a vital part to how their campaign unfolds.
Sporting Kansas City will still be without Chance Myers although Matt Besler is available after his suspension and should slot back into the heart of defence.Embed from Getty Images
Portland Timbers have three major injuries to worry about as Will Johnson, Diego Valeri and Ben Zemanski are all still out. Michael Nanchoff has a hip flexor strain and could also miss the trip.
Sporting Kansas City’s form: D/L
Portland Timbers’ form: D/D
Key Stat: Sporting Kansas City haven’t beaten Portland Timbers in their last three meetings at Sporting Park and will be looking to put an end to that run.
Key Player: Fanendo Adi – The Timbers forward will be hopeful of kicking on after netting his first two of the campaign last week and SKC will be fully aware of his threat in and around the box.
Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Portland Timbers – Sporting KC have a great chance for that first win of their season here and need to work their way up the table to the top five as quickly as possible. Portland will be disappointed not to have got three points last weekend and face a tough task in getting a result from Kansas City this Saturday.