The Portland Timbers entered last weekend on an 18-game home scoring streak and had no intentions of ending the run Saturday when they hosted Sporting Kansas City at Providence Park.
Ike Opara had other ideas.
The reigning 2017 MLS Defender of the Year delivered an excellent performance as the backline anchor in Sporting KC's 0-0 draw, which produced a valuable point that kept Manager Peter Vermes' men at the summit of the Western Conference.
Opara earned MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week honors today for his contributions to Sporting KC's eighth clean sheet in their last 12 games across all competitions. The center back ended the night with five clearances, four aerials won, two recoveries and 91.2-percent passing accuracy as Portland failed to score in a regular season home game for the first time since April 15, 2017, coincidentally a 1-0 defeat to Sporting KC.
Landing a spot on the Team of the Week bench was goalkeeper Tim Melia, who posted his fourth shutout in as many regular season visits to Providence Park. Saturday's scoreless stalemate continued a remarkable trend in which Sporting KC has successfully stifled the Timbers on their home turf:
- Sporting KC has earned shutouts in five of their last six regular season visits to Providence Park.
- Since September 2015, Portland has failed to score in five regular season home games. Four of those have come against Sporting KC, including each of the last three.
- Since the start of 2014, Portland has averaged more than two goals per regular season home against opponents not named Sporting KC. That number falls to 0.5 goals per game against Vermes' side.
With a two-game road trip in the rearview mirror, Sporting KC will return to Children’s Mercy Park this Saturday to continue their defense of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The reigning champions are set to face FC Dallas in the Round of 16 at 8 p.m. CT in a rematch of last season’s epic Open Cup quarterfinal that saw Sporting KC endure most of regulation down a man before scoring three extra-time goals en route to an emotional 3-0 home victory. Tickets for the matchup are included in Sporting KC Season Ticket Member packages and available via