Competition: MLS Playoffs Knockout Round – Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City
Venue: Providence Park – Thursday, October 29 – 22:00 ET (02:00 GMT)
Match Odds: Portland Timbers 5/6 – Draw 5/2 – Sporting Kansas City 100/30
Separated by just two points in the regular season, Portland come into the game with the worrying stat that they haven’t scored in all three matches with SKC this season hanging over them.
Remarkably, Portland’s home form has been worse than their away form this year. So an away win for SKC is definitely not out of the question.
Portland Timbers’ 2015 MLS Record: P34 – W15 – D8 – L11
This will be just Portland’s second MLS Playoff campaign. They made it to the Western Conference finals in 2013 as Sporting Kansas City went on to lift the MLS Cup.
Sporting Kansas City managed to win the last meeting between the sides on October 4 so they have the advantage in that respect.
They come into this game off the back of a 2-1 win over LA Galaxy on Sunday and will hope that a poor second half of the season can be put behind them now they’ve made the playoffs.
Sporting Kansas City’s 2015 MLS Record in MLS: P34 – W14 – D9 – L11Embed from Getty Images
With just three wins from their last twelve, they are fortunate to have made the postseason and can be thankful for their very good start to the season.
These sides met three times during the regular season, with just one goal being scored over the 270 minutes as two 0-0 draws were followed by a 1-0 SKC win in Portland at the start of October.
Portland Timbers are without Ben Zemanski who is still recovering from an ACL injury, while Will Johnson is still a doubt with a leg injury.
Sporting Kansas City have four injury concerns. Ike Opara, Roger Espinoza, Seth Sinovic and Amadou Dia are all set to miss out as Peter Vermes may go with an unchanged team to the one that won on Sunday.
Portland Timbers’ last five: W/L/W/W/W
Sporting Kansas City’s last five: D/W/L/L/W
Key Stat: Portland Timbers haven’t beaten Sporting KC in any of the last four games between the two sides. There has only been a total two goals in those matches.
Key Player: Benny Feilhaber – The USMNT midfielder has been the outstanding player in this SKC squad this season and if they are to progress he will need to play a huge part.Embed from Getty Images
Portland Timbers 2-1 Sporting Kansas City – With the better form, Portland are favourites for this one. Although in a one-off playoff game, anything can happen. Sporting Kansas City will be in good spirits after Sunday’s win over the Galaxy but we’re edging more towards Portland than Kansas City here.