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Timbers bid to get back on track vs. Sporting KC

08/13/2022;  Toronto, Ontario, CAN;  Portland Timbers midfielder Santiago Moreno (30) moves the ball during the first half at BMO Field against Toronto FC.  Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers are hoping history repeats itself as they look to return to the track at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.

The Timbers (7-7-12, 33 points) lost 3-1 to Toronto FC last week and are unbeaten in 10 games. Two weeks before their last loss on May 28, Portland scored in a 7-2 home win over Sporting Kansas City, the most goals the club has scored in a game in its MLS history.

Portland fell below the playoff line in the Western Conference after falling to Toronto. The club sit 10th ahead of the weekend, level on points with three other clubs on 33 points.

And while Sporting Kansas City (6-15-5, 23 points) sit last in the West, the Timbers will tread cautiously.

“I said that every game is crucial for us,” said Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese. “It’s not an easy game. Kansas City is a team that has shown they remain competitive and we know it’s going to be a tough game. It’s a difficult game every time we go there. This is a team that will keep fighting to stay competitive.”

Midfielders Sebastian Blanco and Santiago Moreno and striker Dairon Asprilla are tied second in the team with five goals each but have scored just a single goal in the last three competitions, with Moreno counting back on August 3. Jaroslaw Niezgoda leads the Timbers with nine goals.

Sporting KC are feeling good up front, having scored seven goals in their last two games, including three goals in the first half of each competition.

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The production was sparked by the additions of striker William Agada and midfielder Erik Thommy. Agada has three goals in four games with the club.

“When you have another man in midfield who has an attacking mind, you have another man up front who is straight out to score. What’s happening is the other team can’t just focus on Johnny (Russell) and Daniel (Salloi) now,” said SKC head coach Peter Vermes.

While that performance served them well in the 4-2 win over Los Angeles Galaxy on August 6, they couldn’t maintain their lead against Austin FC last week and were eliminated 4-3 after losing the starting gun in runners-up – half stoppage time.

“We had to be a little braver,” said SKC defender Andreu Fontas about the playful lead. “Win the ball, keep the ball, gain long possession.”

Kansas City will be without goaltender Tim Melia (hamstring) and defenseman Kortne Ford (suspension).

–Field level media

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