PORTLAND TIMBERS AT SPORTING KANSAS CITY
WHEN/WHERE: 6 p.m. Saturday, at Children’s Mercy Park
TV/RADIO: ESPN; WHB (810 AM)
ABOUT PORTLAND (7-7-4, 25 points): The Timbers are beat up heading to Kansas City. Defenders Liam Ridgewell and Amobi Okugo, winger Jack Barmby and midfielder Diego Chara are listed as out on the injury reporter, and midfielder Darlington Nagbe is questionable. That leaves the defense particularly thin, and the Timbers have already allowed 28 goals, third-worst in the Western Conference.
ABOUT SPORTING KC (8-4-6, 30 points): The club built a five-point cushion atop the Western Conference standings in large part because of its home record. Sporting KC is 6-0-2 at Children’s Mercy Park, and it is one of two remaining Western Conference teams unbeaten at home. ... It will again be without captain defender Matt Besler, outside back Graham Zusi and forward Dom Dwyer, who are with the U.S. men’s national team. Midfielder Benny Feilhaber (ankle) is listed as questionable. ... Sporting KC has allowed fewer goals (12) than anyone in MLS.
BOTTOM LINE: Although Sporting KC will field a shorthanded lineup, Saturday represents an opportunity to distance itself from a talented Portland team. The Timbers are ravaged by injuries and have won only twice in their past 10 matches.
PREDICTION: Sporting KC 2, Portland 0