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Sporting KC v Portland Timbers: Preview, Injuries & Predictions

Sporting Kansas City host the Portland Timbers in the first of three straight home games for the Western Conference contenders.



Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting KC vs Portland Timbers

When: Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 12:30 PM CT (12:55 kickoff)

Where: Children’s Mercy Park

How to Watch/Stream: Apple MLS Season Pass (FREE)

Sporting Kansas City sit just three points out of first place in the Western Conference. They trail the LA Galaxy, who stole three points from KC just a couple weeks ago. And while Sporting KC have dropped seven points from winning positions already this season, they took a huge step in the right direction this past weekend against Toronto FC.

Their victory over Toronto was buoyed by three Kansas City goals, all in the second half. It was the first time KC has scored in the second half since the opener against the Houston Dynamo. It caps a three-game stretch where the team has scored seven goals after scoring just twice in their opening three games.

They will welcome to town the Portland Timbers who are also scoring a lot of goals but conceding far more. The Timbers have lost three straight and will be looking to rebound in KC. However, playing in Kansas has historically been a tough out for the Timbers. At least in league play. They are 0-4-4 in their last eight regular season trips to KC, including back-to-back 4-1 defeats.

All of that was under former coach Gio Savarese, who departed the club after 2023. Former Inter Miami man, Phil Neville, now leads the Timbers as they embark on yet another road game.

What’s new for Portland in 2024?

The aforementioned Neville will be manning the sidelines, but there are other changes afoot in Portland.

IN: Most notably, the team just added Designated Player striker, Jonathan Rodriguez from Liga MX giants Club America (Mexico). While he just arrived, he’s already found the back of the net for the Timbers and frankly should have earned a PK against the Vancouver Whitecaps last weekened.

Outside of Rodriguez, Portland have remade their goalkeeper room adding three new keepers, including starter Maxime Crepeau (free agent from LAFC). The team also traded for Kamal Miller from Inter Miami.

OUT: The out list is significantly longer for Portland, but it’s mostly players that failed to thrive in the Pacific Northwest. They turned over their goalkeeper room, including letting David Bingham walk and waiving Aljaz Ivacic. They sold former DP Yimmi Chara to Junior FC (Colombia) who never lived up to the Designated Player tag or got out of the shadow of his brother Diego who is still thriving. The team also declined the option on yet another failed forward signing in Jaroslaw Niezgoda.

Not to be left out is Kansas City killer Sebastian Blanco who was out of contract and ended up back in Argentina playing for San Lorenzo.

Kansas City’s Form

  • March 2nd vs Philadelphia Union – 1-1 Draw
  • March 9th @ LAFC – 0-0 Draw
  • March 16th vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 2-1 Win
  • March 23rd vs. LA Galaxy – 2-3 Loss
  • March 30th @ Toronto FC – 3-1 Win

Portland’s Recent Form

  • March 2nd vs. D.C. United – 2-2 Draw
  • March 9th @ NYCFC – 2-1 Win
  • March 16th @ Houston Dynamo – 0-1 Loss
  • March 23rd vs. Philadelphia Union – 1-3 Loss
  • March 30th @ Vancouver Whitecaps – 2-3 Loss

Sporting KC seem to be catching Portland at the right time as they ride a three-game losing skid into Kansas City. That said, it’s still their best start to a season in years.

Injury/Availability Report

Official injury reports aren’t available until matchday minus one, so here are last week’s reports sprinkled in with anything else we’ve learned through the week. Come back Saturday for updates. 

Updated 4/7/2024

Sporting KC:

  • OUT – Logan Ndenbe (Torn ACL), Johnny Russell (hamstring)
  • QUESTIONABLE – Khiry Shelton (ankle surgery)

I moved all the “outs” from the last injury report to questionable except Johnny and Logan, based on Thad’s reporting from Tuesday. The next media availability is Friday due to the Sunday game.


  • OUT – Marvin Loria (Knee), Larrys Mabiala (Leg), Zac McGraw (head)


Sporting KC: None

Portland: None


Sporting KC

Goals: Remi Walter (2), Erik Thommy, Jake Davis, Willy Agada, Alan Pulido, Nemanja Radoja, Alenis Vargas (1)

Assists: Davis (2), Agada, Memo Rodriguez, Johnny Russell, Daniel Salloi (1)


Goals: Antony (3), Evander (2), five with one (1)

Assists: Santi Moreno (4), Dairon Asprilla, Evander, Eric Miller, Juan Mosquera, Cristian Paredes (2), two with one (1)


The Portland Timbers haven’t won a regular season game at Children’s Mercy Park since April 27, 2013. Sporting KC went on to win MLS Cup that year. So, if it all goes wrong on Sunday, I’m sure that means KC will win another cup…

It’s probably best to look at 2024, instead. Portland have scored 11 and allowed 11. Four of the goals scored have come on the road over their three trips away from Providence Park. They are clearly capable of scoring. Sporting KC have only managed one clean sheet this season, which came on the road. They nearly added another against Toronto, but an offside goal was incorrectly allowed.

Factoring all that in, it seems likely Portland will find the back of the net. Then it becomes a question of, ‘can Sporting outscore them?’ and I think they can. The leaky Timbers defense seems ripe for exposure. With SKC being a little inconsistent the last couple game, you just don’t know what team you are going to get. They should be able to win this game and you have to win your home games. With a 1-1-1 record at home so far, this feels like the right day to get that corrected.

Then again, you never know what will happen when these teams meet.

PREDICTION: 2-1 Sporting KC Win

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