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Storylines: Sporting Kansas City vs Portland Timbers

Off to see the Wiz

MLS: Sporting KC at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Story So Far

I don’t even know where to start with Wednesday night’s dismantling at the hands of Wayne Rooney and D.C. United. Outside of the match against the Red Bulls, this has to be one of the worst performances this team has put together this season. Terrible football from start to finish. The loss drops the Timbers from 2nd in the West to 5th.

The Timbers will be looking to rebound at Children’s Mercy Park against Sporting Kansas City. It’s time to have a short memory, put Wednesday in its place, and move forward.

Sporting KC on Saturday night handed Los Angeles Football Club their first home loss of the season with a 2-0 victory. SKC is currently sitting in second place behind FC Dallas by three points, and could take over the Western Conference with a win.

Paris Of The Plains

Peter Vermes and his squad come into this weekend’s game with a 2-3-1 record in their last six, including back to back wins. So, they come into this match riding a two game winning streak and are hungry to add to it and possibly rise to the top of the table.

They’ll be missing a couple key players in Jimmy Medranda (knee injury) and Khiry Shelton (right MCL tear, lateral meniscus tear), though they don’t seem to be missing the two of them very much with the way they’ve played recently.

This is a tough team to beat, on the road or at home. The last time these two teams met it was back in June and it resulted in a 0-0 draw at Providence Park. It’s quite a clog at the top of the table, Timbers win and they leapfrog out of 5th and back into 2nd place in the west. A draw and the Timbers only move past the LA Galaxy into 4th.


Sporting Kansas City will come out in their familiar 4-3-3 formation. Look for Diego Rubio to get the start at striker, with Shelton being on the shelf for the rest of the season. They have speed and scoring threats out on the wing in Daniel Salloi and Gerso Fernandes. Johnny Russell has known to get starts in Geros’ spot as well.

Look for the outside backs to get forward in the attack, especially Graham Zusi. He’ll even drift inside to the midfield looking for an outlet pass or to score himself. He’s not shy in this regard, so keeping an eye on him should be key for the Timbers. Normally Medranda would start opposite Zusi but he too is out like I mentioned. So Medranda’s duties will be handed over to Seth Sinovic. He won’t move up as far on the pitch as Zusi, but still the Timbers will need to be on the lookout.

Their midfield is one of the strongest in the West in my opinion. Against LAFC they ran out a midfield of Ilie Sánchez, Roger Espinoza and Felipe Gutiérrez. You could throw in Yohan Croizet in one of those slots instead, possibly in Gutiérrez’s place. They’re the key to linking up with the forwards, offering through passes meant to split the center-backs, and getting men in on goal. Mabiala and Cascante are going to have to stay frosty for those through passes and putting those fires out.

Sánchez controls the KC midfield, he sets the tempo for the rest of the team. Upset his rhythm and you upset the team. Tim Melia is the reigning goalkeeper of the year, and while he hasn’t had a brilliant season, the team is tied for the league with nine clean sheets. Zack Steffen of the Columbus Crew also has nine.

In their last six, the Timbers are 2-2-2, overall they have a 3-4-4 road record. Three points would be what the club should look to get out of this, but a point on the road wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. It may be only a two match road trip, but I’d rather they return to Portland with at least some points. We could see a back three again, on the road - in K.C., needing a result - or back to the bread and butter 4-3-2-1.

Log Slices

In an interesting development, both Samuel Armenteros (thigh injury) and Liam Ridgewell (lower left leg injury) are listed as questionable for the match. It would be nice to see either Jorge Villafana or Lucas Melano - but as far as I know they didn’t travel. And they’re going to need to rotate a bit because of Wednesdays match, with only going on a couple days rest - some are not going to be ready for Saturday.

If Armenteros isn’t ready to go, we’ll most likely see Dairon Asprilla get the start at striker. Which is still a head scratcher for me, he’s obviously not a striker and it shows. I guess it bugs me that Jeremy Ebobisse isn’t utilized enough in spots like this. I trust Gio though and if he thinks Ebobisse isn’t ready to start for him, then he’s not ready. But it’s still frustrating knowing we have another striker - but we’ll convert a winger instead.

After two straight losses, the Timbers need to get their collective shit together. As I mentioned in the open, I haven’t seen a display like that since the New York Red Bulls match at the start of the season. Silly mistakes means dropping points to the worst team in the Eastern Conference. While we as fans can to a point dwell on this, the Timbers can’t. As they say, “you have to have a short memory” when it comes to losses.

On the bright side this road trip comes to an end with the Timbers having to return home for a Cascadia Derby with the Fishing Village, but we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it. Right now it’s all about the Wiz.


What kind of result will the Timbers get?

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