Sporting Kansas City begins its MLS postseason campaign against the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference Knockout Round at 9 p.m. CT Thursday at Providence Park. The single-elimination match will be televised nationally on UniMas in English and Spanish, in addition to a local broadcast on KMCI-TV 38 The Spot beginning at 8:30 p.m. CT. Listeners can catch the match live on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.
Fresh off Sunday’s 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy, sixth-seeded Sporting KC will make their fifth straight postseason appearance against the third-seeded Timbers. The match pits two teams who have battled three times in the 2015 regular season, two of which ended in scoreless draws (March 21 and Sept. 9) and a third that was decided in the final minutes by Krisztian Nemeth's spectacular game-winner on Oct. 3. We break down the playoff tilt in our By The Numbers Preview...
- Sporting KC and Portland met three times during the 2015 regular season, battling to a pair of scoreless draws (March 21 and Sept. 9) before Krisztian Nemeth scored a stunning game-winner in a 1-0 result on Oct. 3.
- Sporting KC has posted four straight clean sheets against the Timbers in MLS, a shutout streak that spans 392 minutes dating back to 2013.
- Sporting KC is 3-1-1 all-time at Providence Park with three straight clean sheets and an active 319-minute shutout streak at the stadium.
- In six straight meetings between Sporting KC and Portland across all competitions, the home team has failed to win. The last home victory in the series was Portland's 1-0 win in April 2012.
- Tim Melia has earned shutouts in both games at Portland this season, recording a career-high seven saves in a 0-0 draw on Sept. 9 and an additional six on Oct. 3.
- 2015 MLS record: 15-11-8, 53 points (3rd in West)
- 2015 MLS home record: 8-3-6 (23 GF, 13 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 4-1-0, 12 points (W-L-W-W-W)
- Playoff appearance: 2nd (first since 2013)
- Best postseason finish: Western Conference finals (2013)
- Portland scored just 32 goals through their first 32 games but have exploded for nine in their last two, a 5-2 victory at LA (Oct. 18) and a 4-1 win over Colorado (Oct. 25).
- Portland secured 12 points from their final five regular season matches in 2015, most in MLS.
- During the 2015 regular season, Portland was 14-0-2 when scoring first (best in MLS) but 1-11-1 when conceding first (third-worst in MLS).
- Portland scored just 10 first-half goals this season, fewest in MLS, but led the league with 17 goals (of their 41 total) after the 75th minute.
- Portland has a 7-1-8 regular-season home record against teams from the Western Conference dating back to September 2014, with the lone setback coming on Oct. 3 against Sporting KC.
- Fanendo Adi led Portland with 16 MLS goals, including six in the team's last five games. No other Timbers player has more than five.
- Darlington Nagbe has three goals and one assist in his last two games.
- Diego Valeri ranked second in MLS with 2.9 chances created per game. He's seventh in MLS history with 0.47 assists per 90 minutes played.
Sporting Kansas City
- 2015 MLS record: 14-11-9, 51 points (6th in West)
- 2015 MLS away record: 4-9-4 (19 GF, 25 GA)
- Last five MLS matches: 2-2-1, 7 points (T-W-L-L-W)
- Playoff appearance: 14th (t-3rd most in MLS)
- Best postseason finish: MLS Cup champions (2000, 2013)
- SKC is unbeaten in four trips to the Pacific Northwest this season, earning two wins and two draws with shutouts in every match (0-0 draw at Seattle, 1-0 win at Vancouver, 0-0 draw and 1-0 win at Portland).
- Sporting KC has a 2-15-4 all-time road playoff record, with the only two wins coming in 1996 (Dallas) and 2011 (Colorado)
- Sporting KC is making their fifth straight playoff appearance in 2015, tied for the longest streak in club history. Only LA Galaxy (7), Seattle Sounders FC (7) and the New York Red Bulls (6) have longer active streaks.
- Benny Feilhaber's 15 regular season assists were second in MLS this year, while his 20 assists in all competitions are a single-season club record.
- Krisztian Nemeth's 22 combined goals (15) and assists (7) in all competitions are most by a Kansas City newcomer since the inaugural 1996 season.
- Kevin Ellis' four goals were most by an MLS defender in 2015 and tied for the most by a defender in a single regular season during the Opta era (2011-present).
Milestones and miscellaneous
- Matt Besler is one shy of his 219th career appearance for Sporting KC in all competitions, which would pass Jack Jewsbury for seventh most in club history.
- Dom Dwyer is fourth in club history with 45 goals in all competitions, one shy of tying Josh Wolff for third.
- Graham Zusi is one shy of his 50th MLS assist (including postseason), which would move him past Chris Klein and into sole possession of second place in club history.
Team stats (2015 regular season)
MLS rank in parenthesis
|Category (per game)||Sporting KC||Portland|
|Goals scored||1.41 (t-7th)||1.21 (t-17th)|
|Goals conceded||1.32 (t-9th)||1.15 (t-3rd)|
|Shots||11.9 (11th)||14.3 (1st)|
|Shooting accuracy||45.1% (16th)||47.2% (13th)|
|Chances created||9.3 (8th)||11.1 (1st)|
|Successful passes||282 (19th)||309 (12th)|
|Passing accuracy||74.6% (19th)||78.9% (5th)|
|Possession||49.9% (9th)||50.1% (8th)|
Recent #PORvSKC meetings
- All competitions record vs. Portland: 4-3-2 (10 GF, 9 GA)
- All competitions road record at Portland: 3-1-1 (4 GF, 2 GA)
|04/27/2013||L 2-3||Regular season||Sporting Park||Lost|
|06/24/2014||L 1-3||U.S. Open Cup||Sporting Park||Lost|
|06/27/2014||W 1-0||Regular season||Providence Park||Lost|
|03/21/2015||T 0-0||Regular season||Sporting Park||Tied|
|09/09/2015||T 0-0||Regular season||Providence Park||Tied|
|10/03/2015||W 1-0||Regular season||Providence Park||Lost|