Israel at Portugal
Wednesday, June 9, 2021 | 1:45 p.m. CT
Estadio Jose Alvalade | Lisbon, Portugal
English | ESPN Plus
Spanish | TUDN, TUDN.com
After marking his international debut with a stunning long-range goal on Saturday, Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gadi Kinda has traveled with the Israel Men's National Team for a friendly against European powerhouse Portugal on Wednesday at Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon. The match will kick off at 1:45 p.m. CT with live coverage on ESPN Plus in English and TUDN and TUDN.com in Spanish.
Kinda earned his first senior cap for Israel on Saturday, coming off the bench to score brilliantly in the 91st minute of an impressive 3-1 friendly win at Montenegro. Eran Zahavi and Manor Solomon had scored in the 67th and 69th minutes to give Israel a 2-0 cushion before the hosts pulled one back on a Fatos Bećiraj penalty kick after 81 minutes.
Kinda, 27, returned to the Israeli national team last week for the first time since 2019 when he was named to the squad for UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying. He had previously represented Israel at the U-18, U-19 and U-21 youth levels but waited until Saturday for his full debut, an occasion of which he took full advantage.
Kinda's wonder strike puts the talented playmaker in contention for an increased role Wednesday when the Israelis meet Portugal, one of the most talented national teams in the world. Ranked No. 5 in the world and led by head coach Fernando Santos, the Portuguese boast the likes of world superstar and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Atletico Madrid attacker Joao Felix, Manchester United playmaker Bruno Fernandes and Manchester City defender Ruben Dias, the reigning English Premier League Player of the Year.
Portugal will use Wednesday's contest as a tune-up for UEFA Euro 2020, where they will look to defend their title against 2018 World Cup champion France, 2014 World Cup champion Germany and Hungary in a daunting Group F.
Under the guidance of head coach Willibald Ruttensteiner, Israel sit 85th in the latest FIFA rankings and are preparing to resume 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying in September. Israel currently occupy third place in Group F after three of 10 qualifiers and will need to finish in a top-two position to keep hopes alive for the nation's first World Cup berth since 1970.
Born in Ethiopia and raised in Israel, Kinda has reclaimed a national team spot thanks to strong displays as an integral member of Sporting. The versatile player has recorded three goals and one assist in eight appearances this season. He opened his 2021 scoring account in a 2-1 victory at the New York Red Bulls on April 17 and tallied game-winning goals in home triumphs over Austin FC on May 9 and Houston Dynamo FC on May 29.
Kinda signed for Sporting in January 2020 after logging over 200 professional appearances in Israel with FC Ashdod and Beitar Jerusalem. An impressive debut season in MLS saw Kinda receive Sporting KC Newcomer of the Year honors last year with six goals and four assists. He placed sixth among MLS newcomers in 2020 with 10 combined goals and assists while also creating 26 scoring chances, second-most on the team behind Johnny Russell.