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[monks data]
Portland Timbers
Major League Soccer
May 26, 2024 at 3.30am UK
Providence Park
Sporting Kansas

2 - 1

Mora (53'), Evander (83')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Rodriguez (64')
Rodriguez (41')

Preview: Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Major League Soccer clash between Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Portland Timbers are set to host Sporting Kansas City at Providence Park on Sunday in MLS' Western Conference.

Eleventh-placed Portland are just two points ahead of 13th-placed Kansas, and though both are some distance from the automatic MLS Cup playoff spots, the teams are only three and five points away from eighth, the lowest place for entry into the MLS Cup playoff qualifiers.

Match preview

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau© Reuters

The home side have played 14 times this term and have accumulated just 13 points, winning only three times this MLS season.

Portland ended the 2023 campaign with a record of 1.26 points per game compared to 0.93 this term, a figure that will be disappointing to manager Phil Neville.

Neville replaced Giovanni Savarese in November 2023 after the Timbers had missed out on the playoffs in 2022 and Savarese was sacked with his side in 12th-place in August 2023.

It is fair to say that the former Inter Miami manager has not enjoyed a successful tenure at his current club, as the Timbers have won just once in their last 10 games, a run that includes seven losses.

Portland Timbers head coach Phil Neville reacts on May 16, 2024© Reuters

In those 10 games, Portland scored an impressive 21 times but also conceded 25 goals, and when looking at the other 28 teams across the Western and Eastern Conference tables, only Montreal and the San Jose Earthquakes have worse defensive records this league season.

The hosts' form at Providence Park has been mixed, with two wins, two draws and two losses in their last six home fixtures, although this does include a recent win against the San Jose Earthquakes.

As for the away side, Kansas will hope to leapfrog their opponents with a victory and prevent Portland from winning two consecutive home games.

Manager Peter Vermes has been in charge since 2009 and signed a five-year contract extension in February 2023, offering no sign that he is in any rush to step down.

Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes on February 25, 2024© Reuters

However, despite Vermes's long reign at the club, concerns have been raised about his long-term suitability given his side have won just twice in 13 MLS games this season and have lost their last four.

In fact, Kansas have failed to win any of their last seven and sit second bottom of the Western Conference, accumulating just 11 points so far this term.

The visitors come into the game having lost three consecutive MLS away matches, and with only five victories in their previous 31 games on the road.

Despite this poor record, the away team have played a game less than Sunday's opponents and victory will take them above Neville's side.

Regardless of how disappointed both Kansas and Portland will be with their campaigns so far, they will be relieved that they are still within reach of St Louis City, who occupy the final spot for the MLS Cup qualifiers on 16 points.

Portland Timbers Major League Soccer form:

Sporting Kansas City Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Felipe Mora celebrates his goal for the Portland Timbers against the Vancouver Whitecaps on March 31, 2024© Reuters

Portland will have to contend with the absence of former Manchester City and Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who continues his recovery from a leg injury.

Elsewhere, the hosts will be without Miguel Araujo as well as Marvin Loria due to knee issues.

Although striker Felipe Mora blanked in his side's most recent outing, he has scored twice in his last three games and can be expected to lead the line once again.

Meanwhile, the visitors have a similar number of injury concerns although they could be boosted by the return of both Dany Rosero and Remi Walter, who had been out with quad and knee issues respectively.

Unfortunately Kayden Pierre has been ruled out due to an ankle injury, while Logan Ndenbe continues his recovery from the cruciate ligament injury that he suffered in November and is not expected back until July.

Portland Timbers possible starting lineup:
Crepeau; E Miller, K Miller, Zuparic; Mosquera, Paredes, Ayala, Evander, Asprilla; Rodriguez, Mora

Sporting Kansas City possible starting lineup:
Melia; Davis, Castellanos, Fontas, Bassong; Rodriguez, Radoja, Thommy; Russel, Pulido, Salloi

SM words green background

We say: Portland Timbers 2-2 Sporting Kansas City

Neither side have been particularly strong defensively this season, with Portland averaging over two goals conceded per game, while Kansas average just under two goals.

On the other hand, both teams rank among the highest scorers of the Western Conference, so fans could be in for an entertaining matchup.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Eastern Conference

1Inter MiamiInter Miami24155454381650
2FC CincinnatiCincinnati24153643301348
3Columbus Crew22127346202643
4New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls2491143930938
5New York City FCNY City2411493529637
6Charlotte FCCharlotte FC2410682825336
7Orlando City249693837133
8CF MontrealMontreal246993448-1427
10Nashville SCNashville2468102636-1026
11DC United2568113550-1526
12Atlanta UnitedAtlanta2467113335-225
13Chicago Fire2467112940-1125
14Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia2459104242024
15New England RevolutionNew England2271142246-2422

Western Conference

1Los Angeles GalaxyLA Galaxy25137547341346
2Real Salt LakeSalt Lake24128449311844
3Los Angeles FCLos Angeles23135545301544
4Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver2311574031938
5Colorado RapidsColorado2511594741638
6Seattle SoundersSeattle2410773426837
7Portland TimbersPortland2410684839936
8Houston DynamoHouston239773127434
9Minnesota UnitedMinnesota Utd2486103841-330
10Austin FCAustin2486102635-930
12Sporting Kansas CityKansas2565144051-1123
13St Louis City24410103145-1422
14San Jose EarthquakesEarthquakes2442183159-2814

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