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Sporting KC, Timbers both pushing for much-needed win

Apr 30, 2022; Kansas City, Kansas, USA; Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi (20) celebrates with defender Logan Ndenbe (18) after scoring against FC Dallas during the second half at Children's Mercy Park. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly one-third of the way through the MLS season, Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers have two wins apiece.

That’s not how anyone expected things to play out for the two perennial Western Conference powers.

Both teams are in dire need of a victory when they meet Saturday night in Portland.

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The Timbers (2-3-6, 12 points) and Kansas City (2-6-3, 9 points) are in 10th and 12th place, respectively, in the conference.

“You go into these games thinking that you’re in the same spot and you have to get a win. If not against these teams, then who?” Sporting KC winger Daniel Salloi said. “But at the same time, there are no easy games. There are no games you are expected to really win.

“It’s tough everywhere. Plus, you’re going on the road so anything can happen.”

Kansas City has had three consecutive draws in MLS and has scored just eight goals through 11 matches. Salloi, Johnny Russell and Remi Walter share the team lead with two goals apiece.

“We continue to push each other week in and week out, knowing that something’s gonna come from it,” said forward Khiry Shelton, who has yet to record a point this season. “There’s no negative energy here. We know when we click, it’s over for most teams. We just haven’t had it yet.”

The Timbers, who are winless in their past four MLS matches (0-1-3) feel much the same way, as they’re averaging 1.0 goals per match with 11 goals this season.

Portland will be without forward Felipe Mora because of a knee injury, and Jaroslaw Niezgoda — who is tied for the team lead with Yimmi Chara with three goals — came off late in a 2-0 U.S. Open Cup loss Tuesday against Los Angeles FC with an apparent groin injury.

“He felt a little something and decided to come out,” Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said of Niezgoda. “Hopefully he can bounce back and be ready for this weekend.”

–Field Level Media