Preview: Sporting continues preseason Wednesday vs. Portland Timbers in Arizona

Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers
2021 Preseason presented by Children’s Mercy
Wednesday, March 24 | 1 p.m. CT
Kino North Complex | Tucson, Arizona
Live Updates: @SKCMatchday on Twitter

A battle between perennial Western Conference contenders will unfold Wednesday when Sporting Kansas City faces the Portland Timbers in the third exhibition match of the club's 2021 preseason, presented by Children's Mercy. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. CT at Kino North Complex in Tucson, Arizona, with live updates available via Twitter at @SKCMatchday.

Led by 13th-year manager Peter Vermes, Sporting have split their first two preseason fixtures after cruising past Phoenix Rising FC on March 13 and narrowly falling to the Colorado Rapids last Saturday. Vermes has distributed playing time evenly among the traveling squad thus far, with most players logging 30 minutes in the 4-0 win over Phoenix and 45 minutes in the 1-0 decision against Colorado.

Newly acquired French midfielder Remi Walter notably made his preseason debut for Sporting versus Colorado, showcasing his versatility in the center of the pitch. His fellow countryman, center back Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, was an equally momentous offseason addition to Sporting's roster and is unlikely to feature Wednesday as he undergoes a quarantine period in Arizona before joining the team for training in the coming days.

The Timbers earned a third-place finish in the 2020 Western Conference standings, finishing equal on points with first-place Sporting but with two more games played. Fourth-year head coach Giovani Savarese led Portland to the MLS is Back Tournament title last summer in Walt Disney World, and although the Timbers continued to hover near the top of the West well into the fall, they were undone in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs after losing to FC Dallas on penalties.

Portland enters 2021 with playmaker Diego Valeri, one of the most prolific players in MLS history, donning the captain's armband. The Argentine has amassed 84 goals and 88 assists over the last eight regular seasons, leading the Timbers to MLS Cup glory in 2015. On the opposite sideline, Sporting has bestowed the captaincy to Scottish winger Johnny Russell, a dynamic attacker who has been remarkably productive since joining the club in 2018 with 23 goals and 25 assists in all competitions.

Sporting and Portland did not meet in 2020 due to MLS scheduling modifications tied to the pandemic, however they are likely to resume their rivalry with multiple regular season matchups in 2021.

Sporting KC 2021 Preseason Schedule
(subject to change)

Date Time (CT) Opponent Location/Result
Saturday, March 13 12 p.m. Phoenix Rising FC W 4-0
Saturday, March 20 5 p.m. Colorado Rapids L 0-1
Wednesday, March 24 1 p.m. Portland Timbers Kino North Complex (Tucson, Ariz.)
Saturday, April 3 2 p.m. LA Galaxy Kino North Complex (Tucson, Ariz.)

Sporting KC 2021 Preseason Roster

# Player Position Age
2 Jaylin Lindsey Defender 20
3 Andreu Fontas Defender 31
4 Roberto Puncec Defender 29
5 Nicolas Isimat-Mirin Defender 29
6 Ilie Sanchez Midfielder 30
7 Johnny Russell Forward 30
8 Graham Zusi Defender 34
9 Alan Pulido Forward 30
10 Gianluca Busio Midfielder 18
11 Khiry Shelton Forward 27
13 Amadou Dia Defender 27
15 Roger Espinoza Midfielder 34
16 Graham Smith Defender 25
17 Gadi Kinda Midfielder 27
19 Grayson Barber Midfielder 20
20 Daniel Salloi Forward 24
21 Felipe Hernandez Midfielder 22
22 Kendall McIntosh Goalkeeper 27
23 Tyler Freeman Forward 18
24 John Pulskamp Goalkeeper 19
25 Ozzie Cisneros Forward 17
28 Cam Duke Midfielder 20
29 Tim Melia Goalkeeper 34
33 Danny Barbir * Defender 23
34 Dominik Resetar * Forward 20
36 Luis Martins Defender 28
46 Jake Davis * Midfielder 19
48 Kaveh Rad * Defender 19
54 Remi Walter Midfielder 25
55 Gavin Krenecki ** Goalkeeper 18
57 Kayden Pierre ** Defender 18
96 Wilson Harris Forward 21
  Matt Constant *** Defender 22
  Travian Sousa * Defender 19

* Sporting KC II player
** Sporting KC Academy player
*** Unsigned MLS Super Draft pick