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

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

Portland Timbers AND Kansas City sportswoman will kick off their Major League Soccer campaigns Sunday when they line up at the curtain call at Providence Park.

Both teams missed the playoffs last time out and will struggle to make a successful start to the new season.

Game preview

After six consecutive top-six and playoff finishes in the MLS Western Conference, including the 2021 season in which they reached the MLS Cup Final and fell short, the Portland Timbers now kick off the new season on the back of a disappointing performance last time out, as they narrowly missed out on making the playoffs.

The Timbers put themselves in a strong position to go through with four successive league wins between August and September, but as they have managed just one draw and two defeats from their last three league games, John SavareseThe team would ultimately finish one point behind Real Salt Lake and fail to progress as a result.

After wrapping up that campaign and turning their attention to 2023, the Oregon team kicked off preseason with a meeting with the Los Angeles Galaxy in mid-February and came away with 4-1 winners, before tying 2 -2 against Toronto three days later.

Savarese’s men would finalize their pre-season preparations with a match against New York City last Saturday, and would emerge victorious as Zac McGraw he headed in the match’s only goal in the second half.

Now coming off a strong string of friendlies and with a need to return to the playoff roster this season, the Portland Timbers will be desperate to make a successful start to the campaign at Providence Park.

They meet a Sporting Kansas City team that is also struggling to recover from a disappointing campaign, as, after finishing third in the Western Conference in 2021, they would have sunk to 12th in the 14-team division last time out.

That milestone was only made possible by a strong finish to the season by the Wizards, who won five of their last eight league games of the season while only losing on the final day, but still managed to finish just six points behind their opponents on Sunday. and seven out of the playoffs.

Peter VermesThe team also now heads into the weekend on the back of an undefeated pre-season, drawing for the first time 2-2 with Louisville City in early February.

Sporting then met Real Salt Lake and tied by the same scoreline, as Johnny Russell AND Willy Agada went on the scoresheet, before ending the friendly series with a 4-2 win over USL Championship side Phoenix Rising on Saturday.

Now facing an Opening Day trip to Oregon, needing to start the campaign much better than last time out to have a chance of making the playoffs, Vermes’ team will be aiming to start with a three-point haul this end. week.

Portland Timbers form (all competitions):

Sporting Kansas City form (all competitions):

Team news

The Portland Timbers’ January signing Evander he’s set to play a big part in his first MLS game for the club on Sunday, likely operating at the tip of midfield.

Jaroslaw Niezgoda should lead the line, having scored nine MLS goals last season, with Ymmi Chara AND Marvin Loria set up to offer additional attacking support from the flanks.

Somewhere else, Diego Chara AND Erik Williamson he will likely partner at the base of midfield with Dario Zuparic ready to join Zac McGraw in the middle of a back four.

Sporting Kansas City took turns meeting Real Salt Lake in preseason, but the starting XI in that game will likely be the one Vermes will field to raise the curtain, with Roberto Voloder AND Andreu Fontas ready to collaborate in defense in front of the goalkeeper John Pulskamp.

Johnny Russell will re-assume the captaincy for the start of the new term, after the Scottish winger scored eight MLS goals last season and 16 in the 2021 season.

Willy Agada should continue to lead the line, having also last scored eight league goals in just 12 appearances following his move from Hapoel Jerusalem.

Possible starting lineup for the Portland Timbers:Bingham; Bonilla, Zuparic, McGraw, Rasmussen; D Chara, Williamson; Y Chara, Evander, Loria; Niezgoda

Possible starting lineup for Sporting Kansas City:Pulskamp; Zusi, Fontas, Voloder, Leibold; Espinoza, Walter, Davis; Russell, Agada, Salloi

Let’s say: Portland Timbers 2-1 Sporting Kansas City

The Portland Timbers fared better than their opponents last season and certainly boast the quality to move back into the top tier of the conference, particularly with the addition of Evander, and we hope they start with a win at home against Sporting Kansas City this weekend .

How to watch

You can watch Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City and every MLS game this season live on Apple TV. Click here for more details on how to sign up.

For data breakdown on most likely outcomes, scores and more for this match, click here.

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