The Portland Timbers have started their 2015 campaign in much the same way as 2014 with two draws at home. Despite the disappointing results, draws against RSL and LAG shouldn’t have anyone calling to blow things up just yet. Nagbe looks dangerous as ever and Adi should be hungry for more coming off a brace against the Galaxy.
Oftentimes there’s a touch of apprehension for Timbers fans when playing a club like Sporting Kansas City on the road. However, Portland and SKC mirror each other at Sporting Park. They’ve each won a single match with no draws, and the home club has outscored Portland by just a single goal (5-4 all time). In this series the two clubs have never drawn and road team is actually favored, having won three of five meetings.
While the road team may be favored in this instance, the center back pairing of Matt Belser and Ike Opara scare me. Kansas City overall is a team still working to gel, but Opara’s header in the first match of the season and Besler’s track record on goal are just the things that turn Portland wins into draws and losses.
To answer Phillip Bupp’s question, no, Sporting KC can’t defeat the Portland Timbers. Like a true homer I’m on Caleb Porter’s side this week. Adi and Nagbe looks to be something special and I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Nagbe or Dairon Asprilla get their first goal of the season. Asprilla doesn’t have the level of control that I like to see on the wing, but with the Timbers’ attack being much more direct to start 2015 his speed works well. My outlandish call for the day is a Nagbe goal and Alvas Powell assist.
Portland Timbers: Kwarasey; Villafana, Ridgewell, Borchers, Powell; Jewsbury, Chara; Wallace, Nagbe, Asprilla; Adi
Sporting Kansas City: Marin; de Jong, Besler, Opara, Dia; Nagamura, Feilhaber, Espinoza; Nemeth, Dwyer, Zusi