Sporting KC will resume MLS play Friday night when they take on the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. The match will kick off at 10 p.m. CT on 38 the Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV. Friday's match can also be heard locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Gran D 1340.
Here are five things you should know ahead of Friday's match vs. Portland.
1. The break is over
Seems like forever since Sporting Kansas City took the field for an MLS match. In fact, it's been exactly 21 days. The last time Sporting KC played a League match, they pulled off a dramatic 2-0 win on the road against the Houston Dynamo despite playing down a man for almost 70 minutes.
Sporting KC enters the second portion of the season in third place in the Eastern Conference with 22 points from 15 games. Portland comes into the match with only one loss in their last nine League matches and in sixth place in the Western Conference. Each team played two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup games during the layoff - including one against each other - so there should be little rust when the two teams take the field Friday night.
2. Erase the Open Cup defeat
Speaking of the Open Cup, the Timbers defeated Sporting KC 3-1 on Tuesday to knock the 2012 champions out of the tournament. Gaston Fernandez tallied twice and Will Johnson converted a penalty kick to send the Timbers through to the Open Cup quarterfinals.
One bright spot for Sporting Kansas City was Soony Saad, who converted his penalty kick for this third goal in three games in all competitions. With Graham Zusi still with the U.S. Men's National Team at the World Cup and Antonio Dovale suspended with a red card against Houston, Saad will need to step up again to help Sporting KC stay in contention in the Eastern Conference.
3. An enigma at home
The numbers speak for themselves; Portland has scores and conceded 19 goals at home in 2014. Both of those numbers lead MLS. Despite having one of the best home atmospheres in Major League Soccer, Portland has managed only one win at Providence Park this season and has a 1-1-7 record at home.
4. Familiar faces
Sporting KC and the Portland Timbers have only played each other four times in MLS play, but there are a few players on each team that are more than familiar with the opposition.
Let's start with Portland's roster that features Michael Harrington and Jack Jewsbury. Kansas City drafted Jewsbury in 2003 and the Joplin, Missouri native when on to play more than 200 games for the club in all competitions. Kansas City drafted Harrington with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. Harrington featured more than 150 times for the club in all competitions before being traded to the Timbers following the 2012 season.
On Sporting Kansas City's roster, Sal Zizzo joined the Timbers in 2011 following a short stint with Chivas USA. Zizzo spent three years in Portland, tallying two goals in 60 MLS appearances.
5. Johnny's Tavern Watch Party
Fans are encouraged to join the club’s official watch party tonight at Johnny’s Tavern in Power and Light District and in Overland Park (119 Street). Select Boulevard draft specials will be available, as well as the “Blue Believer” signature cocktail. In addition, the fans at Johnny's Tavern in the Power and Light District will be entered to win four tickets to Sporting KC's July friendly vs. Manchester City.
For full coverage of the match, visit SportingKC.com/Gameon.