Sporting Kansas City at Portland Timbers
2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 1
Monday, Feb. 27 | 9 p.m. CT (9:09 kickoff)
Providence Park | Portland, Ore.
Apple TV | Watch free on the Apple TV app
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM
Sporting Kansas City will open the club's highly anticipated 2023 campaign on Monday with a road match against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.
The Western Conference clash comes two days later than originally scheduled after Major League Soccer Soccer announced yesterday the decision to move the match due to severe winter weather that included 10.8 inches of snow on Wednesday in the Portland area.
Kick off is now set for 9:09 p.m. CT on Monday in the MLS is Back finale to cap off a full slate of matches on Matchday 1, all of which will be available on MLS Season Pass - free on the Apple TV app. The MLS Season Pass subscription -- currently available at no cost for all T-Mobile customers - will feature every MLS match in 2023 and fans can watch on billions of devices through the Apple TV app on Apple devices, smart TVs, streaming devices, set-top boxes and game consoles as well as on the web at tv.apple.com.
In addition to the English- and Spanish-language streams available on Apple TV, PORvSKC will also air locally in English on Sports Radio 810 WHB featuring new play-by-play voice Aly Trost Martin and in Spanish on La Grande 1340 AM with both stations streaming live through the Sporting KC app.
Introducing Hoops 4.0
The team's 28th season will begin on Monday as Sporting debuts the new Hoops 4.0 primary kit and looks to start strong after going 6-2-2 in the final 10 games of the 2022 season. Historically, Sporting Kansas City has done just that as the club's 15 season-opening wins and 10 victories in road openers are most all-time in MLS history.
Manager Peter Vermes' roster returns all but three players from the end of 2022 and has been bolstered by the addition of five new signings, headlined by the acquisitions of defensive midfielder Nemanja Radoja and left back Tim Leibold from Europe. Vermes enters his 15th season in 2023 as the longest-tenured head coach in MLS history and is slated to remain at the club through 2028 with a five-year contract extension announced on Wednesday.
As two ambitious clubs in the Western Conference, Sporting and Portland will be eager to bounce back in 2023 after missing the playoffs uncharacteristically last season. 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' offseason was headlined by the signing of 24-year-old Brazilian playmaker Evander on a club-record transfer fee from Danish side FC Midtjylland, where he recorded 50 goals and 38 assists across all competitions from 2018-2022. On the opposite end of the field, Slovenian goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic led MLS with 112 saves in 2022 for a Portland side that conceded the most shots in MLS.
Joining Evander in the midfield is 36-year-old MLS All-Star and MLS Best XI selection Diego Chara, whose 338 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 316 appearances while defender Graham Zusi, in his 15th season, leads the way with 341 games played.
HIGHLIGHTS: Sporting KC 4-1 Portland Timbers | Aug. 21, 2022
Sporting leads the all-time series with an 8-6-6 record against the Timbers in the regular season, however the team is winless in five straight trips to Providence Park and fell 7-2 in front of the Timbers Army in the most recent visit last May. SKC exacted revenge by posting a 4-1 home win over Portland last August with a brace from Willy Agada to go along with a goal apiece from fellow summer signing Erik Thommy and centerback Andreu Fontas.
Both sides will be missing key players for Monday's match due to injury. The Timbers will be without the team's top scorer, Dairon Apsrilla, and their top goal contributor, Sebastian Blanco, from 2022 due to knee injuries, while Ivacic (hand) and left back Claudio Bravo (hamstring) are both questionable on the team's player availability report. Sporting will be missing club captain Johnny Russell (hamstring), as well as defenders Kortne Ford (Achilles) and Logan Ndenbe (hamstring). Designated Players Gadi Kinda (out) and Alan Pulido (questionable) missed all of 2022 with knee injuries and are poised to return to action in 2023.