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Sporting KC v Portland Timbers: Preview, Predictions, Starting XI, Stats, Injuries

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The penultimate match of the season, will Sporting KC play the youth or go all out to knock out a rival?

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC vs Portland Timbers (#SKCvPOR)

When: Sunday, September 29th, 2019 at 6:30 PM CT

Where: Children’s Mercy Park

How to Watch/Stream: Fox Sporting KC | ESPN+
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM

Sporting Kansas City host Western Conference rival Portland Sunday in the last home match for 2019. Sporting KC was officially knocked out of the playoffs when they gave up a lead in their fourth straight match. Goals in the 70th and 90th for Minnesota United sealed their playoff spot and ended Sporting KC’s eight year run in postseason play.

Surrendering late goals have been an uncharacteristic trait for Sporting KC in 2019.

While there is no postseason on the line for the home team, the visiting Timbers have everything on the line still. Portland sits in the sixth spot in the Western Conference, tied with FC Dallas at 45 points and just 1 above San Jose.

Playoff scenario: Portland will clinch a berth in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs if:

  • Portland win vs. Sporting KC AND ...
  • FC Dallas lose vs. Colorado

– OR –

  • Portland win vs. Sporting KC AND ...
  • San Jose lose vs. Seattle

Interesting Stats

  • Sporting are 5-2-4 in their last 11 regular season meetings against Portland since 2014.
  • Across all competitions, the home team in the series has won just four of the last 16 meetings.
  • Sporting own a 3-1-2 regular season home record against Portland, with the Timbers’ lone triumph at Children’s Mercy Park coming in 2013.

Last two meetings:

  • September 7, 2019: Sporting KC had the lead in Portland on a Benny Feilhaber goal in the 65th minute. Portland scored in the 83rd and 94th to snatch all three points.
  • Portland last visited Kansas City in November during the second leg of the 2018 Western Conference Championship. A pair from Diego Valeri and an amazing Sebastian Blanco goal knocked Sporting KC out of the playoffs.

Injuries

Sporting KC

OUT: Benny Feilhaber (Quad Strain), Andreu Fontas (Achilles Injury), Rodney Wallace (Hip Injury)

QUESTIONABLE: • Adrian Zendejas (Back Injury)

Portland

OUT - None

QUESTIONABLE - Wilfried Moimbe (left leg injury)

Suspensions

SUSPENDED: POR: Larrys Mabiala (caution accumulation)

WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Gerso Fernandes

Stats

Portland

  • 2019 MLS record: 13-13-6 (45 points, 6th in Western Conference)
  • 2019 MLS away record: 6-8-2 (21 GF, 27 GA)

Sporting KC

  • 2019 MLS record: 10-15-7, 37 points (11th in Western Conference)
  • 2019 MLS home record: 7-6-3 (28 GF, 28 GA)

Officials:

Ref: Allen Chapman

AR1 (bench): Adam Wienckowski

AR2 (opposite): Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho

4th: Lorant Varga

VAR: Armando Villarreal

AVAR: Jozef Batko

Starting XI Predictions

I have the feeling that Vermes will still go for the win and not play all the kids but at he same time I would not be surprised to see a couple of the younger players in the starting 11.

Melia

Lindsey - Barath - Besler - Martins

Gutierrez

Busio - Medranda

Russell - Nemeth - Gerso

It could happen....

Fan Starting XI

The fan vote did not give a clear lineup with many wanting youth to play or just someone different. In the midfield Zelalem, Hernandez, Kuzain and Medranda all received more votes than veteran Espinoza. Ilie barely received more votes than Zelalem and even Gutierrez was just a little over half. Clearly some change wanted.

Goalkeeper: Melia (62.7%), Zendejas (25.5%) and Dick (11.8%)

Defense: Lindsey (82.4%), Barath (76.5%), Besler (74.5%) and Martins (72.5%)

Midfield: Busio (78.4%), Gutierrez (58.8%), Ilie (37.3%)

Wingers: Fernandes (76.5%), Russell 96.8%)

Center Forward: Nemeth (41.2%)

Prediction

I am on the record that I hate predictions. Too many variables in a sport where just one goal makes all the difference in most games. But since I have to make a prediction, here goes.

Sporting KC 2 - 2 Portland —— SKC takes the lead but gives up a late goal to allow the tie but not take the loss.

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