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Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers | 2016 MLS Match Preview

SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs. PORTLAND TIMBERS
CHILDREN’S MERCY PARK | Kansas City, Kansas
July 31, 2016 | Week 21 | MLS Game #210
2 pm ET (FOX in the US, MLS LIVE in Canada)

Two teams right at the red line in the Western Conference meet for the first time this season in a crucial contest as Sporting Kansas City play host to the Portland Timbers on Sunday afternoon at Children's Mercy Park before a FOX audience. Sporting are in a tie for fourth place in the conference, just one point ahead of the drop zone, following their 3-0 win against Seattle Sounders FC last weekend in KC. The Timbers sit a point outside of the top six in defense of their MLS Cup crown, their nine-game undefeated run put to an end in a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy at Providence Park last weekend.

  • Sporting Kansas City broke their two-game losing skid in emphatic fashion on Sunday, topping the Seattle Sounders 3-0 at Children’s Mercy Park last Sunday. Forward Dom Dwyer scored two goals for SKC, giving him 10 goals on the year and moving Sporting into fourth-place in the West.
  • Portland’s nine-game unbeaten streak came to a halt last Saturday, as LA Galaxy stars Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes both scored early goals to hand the Timbers a 2-1 defeat at Providence Park. The loss, which saw Portland defender Nat Borchers go down with a torn Achilles, dropped the Timbers to seventh in the West, one point behind Vancouver for the sixth and final playoff spot.
  • Sunday’s match will be the first meeting of 2016 between Portland and SKC and the first of two-straight matches between the clubs, who will meet again on August 7 at Providence Park. It’s also the first meeting between the clubs since their classic Knockout Round encounter in the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs, which saw Portland defeat SKC in an epic shootout en route to their run to the MLS Cup title.

REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. AR1 (bench): Peter Balciunas; AR2 (opposite): Cameron Blanchard; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 222 games; FC/gm: 26.5; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 64; pens: 76

SUSPENDED: KC: Matt Besler (All-Star Game absence; through July 31) -- POR: Liam Ridgewell (All-Star Game absence; through July 31)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Jimmy Medranda -- POR: Alvas Powell
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Matt Besler, Dom Dwyer, Lawrence Olum, Roger Espinoza
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Sporting KC 4 wins, 9 goals -- Timbers 2 wins, 6 goals -- Ties 2
AT KC (3 meetings): Sporting KC 1 win, 5 goals -- Timbers 1 win, 4 goals -- Ties 1
RETURN MATCH: 8/7: Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN1)

  • The teams are meeting for the first time this season, the front end of a home-and-home series, the second and final league meeting next weekend at Providence Park.
  • The road team has won four of the eight meetings all-time in the series. Sporting have come away with points on four of their five visits to Providence Park, including three victories. The Timbers have come away with points on each of their last two visits to Sporting Park. 
  • Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. KC: P5 W1 L2 D2 -- Peter Vermes vs. POR: P8 W4 L2 D2

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