Five Things presented by Children’s Mercy Kansas City: Sporting travels to the Pacific Northwest for showdown with Portland | May 25, 2024


Sporting Kansas City is back in MLS action this weekend with a trip to take on the Portland Timbers at Providence Park up in Oregon on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 9:30 p.m. CT and will be available to stream in English and Spanish on MLS Season Pass via Apple TV. The match will also be available on the radio locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish).


Sporting Kansas City enjoyed a much-needed victory on Tuesday night, cruising to a 4-0 victory over FC Tulsa in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 at Children’s Mercy Park behind goals from Felipe Hernandez (2), Stephen Afrifa and Marinos Tzionis.

Sporting, who are winless in seven in MLS regular-season action, hit a season-high with four goals in Tuesday’s victory. Sporting extended an impressive recent run in the Open Cup with 27 victories since the start of 2012 - the most of any team in American soccer. Sporting’s form has been especially excellent at home where the club has advanced on 14 straight occasions in the competition dating back to 2015.

Sporting is in the midst of a stretch that will see the team play five matches in the space of 15 days from May 18 through June 1. Following Saturday’s match against Portland, Sporting will host fellow Cascadia foe the Vancouver Whitecaps at Children’s Mercy Park on Wednesday before traveling to face Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field next Saturday.


Sporting Kansas City will be looking to set the record straight this weekend when the team heads to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Saturday night. Sporting is coming off a morale-boosting 4-0 victory over FC Tulsa in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 on Tuesday night, while Portland fell 2-1 on the road to Minnesota United in their last outing on Saturday night.

Saturday’s match is the second and final meeting of the regular season between Sporting and the Timbers, with the two sides playing out a wild 3-3 draw at Children’s Mercy Park on April 7. Willy Agada scored twice in the first half either side of a Dany Rosero goal to put Sporting into a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the interval. Moments after Agada missed a penalty kick in the second half, Portland roared back into the game and scored three times in 17 minutes through Evander, Felipe Mora and Eric Miller to salvage a draw.

Sporting last visited Providence Park in the 2023 season opener, falling to a 1-0 defeat on Feb. 27, 2023. The game was initially scheduled for Feb. 25 but was postponed two days due to severe weather in the Pacific Northwest. Juan Mosquera scored early for the Timbers and despite Sporting out-shooting Portland on their own ground 12-7, Peter Vermes’ side was unable to find an equalizer.

Sporting leads the all-time series with Portland 9-7-7, including a 4-6-2 mark on the road.


Sporting Kansas City Academy product Felipe Hernandez produced a match-winning performance from midfield on Tuesday night, scoring a pair of goals to lead his side into the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals following a 4-0 victory over FC Tulsa in the Round of 16 at Children’s Mercy Park.

With the score still deadlocked late in the first half, Hernandez whipped a dangerous free kick into the near post that was deflected into the back of the net by a Tulsa defender and the goal was officially credited to Hernandez. In the second half, Hernandez received a pass from Willy Agada, skipped by a defender and rifled a low shot into the corner to make the score 3-0.

It was Hernandez’s first goals of the season and his first for Sporting since May 28, 2023, in a 4-1 MLS win over the Portland Timbers. Hernandez now has eight career goals for Sporting in all competitions, including four in the Open Cup - with all four coming as part of braces having also scored twice in Sporting’s 6-0 win over Union Omaha in the 2022 Open Cup Quarterfinals at Children’s Mercy Park.


Sporting Kansas City forward Stephen Afrifa took advantage of a rare starting opportunity on Tuesday night, scoring a goal and adding an assist in the club’s 4-0 victory over FC Tulsa in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 at Children’s Mercy Park.

Afrifa, who was Sporting’s first round selection in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft out of Florida International University, was making his first start of the 2024 campaign and enjoyed a memorable night, first scoring his first goal for the club with an opportunistic finish inside the area late in the first half before setting up Marinos Tzionis in the second half for his first-ever professional assist.

Afrifa now has two goals at the professional level, having scored once for Sporting KC II in a 7-1 MLS NEXT Pro win over Vancouver Whitecaps 2 on July 2, 2023. The 23-year-old has made seven MLS appearances so far in 2024 but is yet to start a match in league play. Tuesday marked his third start for the club, having also been included in the starting XI in the club’s 1-0 loss to Houston in last year’s Open Cup on May 10, 2023 and in the 2-1 loss to Austin FC in MLS play on July 15, 2023.


Sporting Kansas City midfielder Memo Rodriguez recorded yet another assist last Saturday night, helping set up Johnny Russell’s opener in the 18th minute of the 3-2 loss against Austin FC at Q2 Stadium.

Rodriguez clipped a ball over the top of the Austin defense, picking out Alan Pulido who fed Russell for the goal. Rodriguez, who was credited with a secondary assist on the goal, now has a team-leading four assists on the season, with two coming in the past two matches against his former teams Houston Dynamo FC and Austin FC.

The 28-year-old last tallied assists in back-to-back games on July 23 and Aug. 13, 2022 and has never in his career recorded assists in three consecutive MLS regular-season matches, which he’ll have the chance to do this weekend when Sporting visits the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Saturday night.