Match Preview

Match Preview: Sporting KC hosts Portland on Sunday in nationally-televised Western Conference match-up

Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers
2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 15
Sunday, May 28 | 2 p.m. CT (2:25 kickoff)
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kan.

Broadcast Schedule:
National TV | FOX & FOX Deportes
Apple TV | Free on MLS Season Pass
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM

Sporting Kansas City will host the Portland Timbers at 2:25 p.m. CT on Sunday at Children's Mercy Park in a nationally-televised match-up on FOX and FOX Deportes. Sunday's showdown will also stream free on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app in both English and Spanish in addition to local radio coverage on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM with streams available in the Sporting KC app.

Tickets for the Memorial Day weekend match-up are available online at SeatGeek, including the Sporting U Pass featuring $15 Supporters' Stand tickets for college students.

Prior to the match, the KC Cauldron will host a tailgate starting at 10 a.m. CT in the White Lot at Kansas Speedway. All fans who give a donation of $10 or more can enjoy brunch stations with 100% of all proceeds going to ReDiscover in support of Mental Health Awareness Month. Following the match, fans are encouraged to stay in their seats for the annual Special Olympics match featuring local athletes competing on the field as part of an immersive matchday experience at Children's Mercy Park.

All fans in attendance on Sunday can also take advantage of buy one, get one 50% off all headwear at SportingStyle retail locations. In addition, Children's Mercy Park concessions will be offering $2 off Corona and Modelo products throughout Sunday's match.

Sporting KC returns home this weekend after a grueling schedule that saw the club play five games in 14 days, including four matches away from home, but after a full week of rest SKC will now begin a stretch highlighted by six home matches in the next five weeks.

Sporting saw the team's recent three-game unbeaten run snapped with a disappointing 4-0 loss to St. Louis CITY SC at CITYPARK last Saturday. The club is currently six points below the playoff line and six points behind the Timbers, who suffered a 1-0 loss at home against Minnesota United last Saturday after conceding in the 95th minute.

The two sides will meet for a second time this season on Sunday. The clubs played on Matchday 1 - albeit two days later than originally scheduled due to winter weather in Portland - as the Timbers earned a 1-0 home win behind Juan David Mosquera's early goal on Feb. 27 at Providence Park. Sporting holds a narrow 8-7-6 advantage in the all-time regular season series against the Timbers, including a 4-1-4 record at Children's Mercy Park where Portland hasn't won in the regular season since 2013.

Sporting has gone 3-0-4 in the last seven regular season home match-ups with Portland and posted a 4-1 victory in the most recent contest at Children's Mercy Park on Aug. 21, 2022.  Willy Agada scored a brace with goals on either side of halftime, while Andreu Fontas and Erik Thommy also got on the scoresheet before Sebastian Blanco notched a consolation for the Timbers deep into stoppage time. The defeat is the Timbers' lone loss in the last nine meetings (5-1-3) between the clubs across all competitions.

Both sides have experienced lofty championship highs over the last decade, with Sporting capturing four major titles since 2012 and Portland making three MLS Cup appearances in the last eight years to go along with an MLS is Back Tournament title in 2020. The Timbers roster is headlined by 24-year-old Brazilian playmaker Evander, who was acquired on a club-record transfer fee and has contributed four goals and two assists so far in his debut MLS season.

Joining Evander in the midfield is 37-year-old MLS All-Star and MLS Best XI selection Diego Chara, whose 352 regular season appearances for Portland are second most among one-club players in MLS history. Rounding out the top three are two Sporting KC veterans as midfielder Roger Espinoza, in his 14th season, has made 326 appearances while defender Graham Zusi, in his 15th season, leads the way with 353 games played.

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese and Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes -- teammates with the NY/NJ MetroStars during Major League Soccer’s inaugural season in 1996 -- will both be shorthanded on Sunday while missing a handful of players on their respective rosters. The Timbers will be without Felipe Mora (knee), David Ayala (knee), Eryk Williamson (knee), Pablo Bonilla (hamstring) and Dario Zuparic (suspension). Sporting has eight players on this week's player availability report as Willy Agada (tibia), Kayden Pierre (hamstring), Kortne Ford (Achilles) and Tim Melia remain out due to injuries, while Logan Ndenbe (ankle), Dany Rosero (adductor), Alan Pulido (quad) and Khiry Shelton (adductor) are listed as questionable.