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Diego Rubio back in Sporting KC’s starting lineup before 2nd leg against Portland

Nov 11, 2018; Kansas City, KS, USA; Sporting Kansas City forward Diego Rubio (11) reacts to a goal by teammate Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi (not pictured) against Real Salt Lake in the first half in the Western Conference semifinal at Children's Mercy Park. Mandatory Credit: Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Diego Rubio is back in Sporting Kansas City’s starting lineup, and his return comes at the perfect time.

SKC will advance to the MLS Cup with a win against Portland on Thursday in the second leg of the Western Conference Finals at Children’s Mercy Park. Having one of the team’s most important attacking players in Rubio (eight goals this year) will be crucial. He sat out the first leg of the conference final thanks to yellow card accumulation.

The rest of Kansas City’s lineup is the exact same as in Sunday’s first leg in Portland. Rounding out the attack are Johnny Russell and the team’s golden boot winner, Daniel Salloi.

Felipe Gutierrez, Ilie Sanchez and Roger Espinoza are in the midfield. And in the back, Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Ike Opara and Graham Zusi make up the defensive region. 

The first leg between Kansas City and Portland ended in a 0-0 tie. If Kansas City wins Thursday, it would advance to the MLS Cup against the winner of an earlier semifinal between Atlanta and the New York Red Bulls. With another 0-0 tie, the teams would go to extra time. A score-draw would result in Portland advancing. 

Portland also released its starting XI: 

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