A sold out Sporting Park crowd saw Sporting Kansas City miss out on three points in an exciting match against Western Conference foes, Portland Timbers on Saturday, their second straight loss. After taking the lead twice, Portland answered and left Kansas City on a high.
Chance Myers got Sporting Kansas City off to a roaring start when he grabbed the first goal only 40 seconds into the match off of a long throw-in from fellow defender Matt Besler. The goal was Myers’ first career MLS goal, something that had been coming for a long time considering his ability to get forward from the back. It is also the third fastest goal in club history.
Portland nearly responded in quick fashion when three minutes later Diego Valeri hit a rocket into the woodwork of Sporting KC’s goal. The Timbers threatened to equalize again in the 15th minute when a run down the side gave Darlington Nagbe the opportunity to send a low shot at goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, only to be saved.
Sporting Kansas City had a chance to take a two goal lead in the 23rd minute. Forward Claudio Bieler was able to find teammate C.J. Sapong in the box but Sapong’s volley was punched away by the Portland goalkeeper, Donovan Ricketts.
Just two minutes later, Portland got the equalizer they had threatened earlier. On a corner earned after Jimmy Nielsen was forced to parry a save over his own goal, Valeri found Ryan Johnson in the box where he headed it past Nielsen and into the net to make it 1-1.
It was just five minutes later, in the 29th minute, that Chance Myers got his second on the night to take the lead back for Sporting Kansas City. Benny Feilhaber crossed the ball to the far post to Aurelien Collin, who squared the ball nicely for Myers to kick past Ricketts for a 2-1 lead.
The scoring continued with nearly no break, as Portland was level again in the 33rd minute. Goal-scorer Ryan Johnson made a nice run down the left before sending a cutting ball in to Nagbe, who calmly put the ball into an open net.
Before half, Sporting Kansas City nearly grabbed the lead again off of a Graham Zusi header in the 40th minute, but Ricketts blocked the shot.
The second half continued in the same fashion, with both sides pressuring their opponent’s goal. It was Portland that found their way through in the 58th minute. Diego Chara played an incisive through ball forward to Rodney Wallace, who knocked it past Nielsen to take Portland’s first lead and the three points from the match.
Sporting Kansas City fans will be happy to have seen Jacob Peterson make his first appearance of the season after off-season shoulder surgery, and he nearly equalized but sent the ball just wide of the post. Sporting Kansas City were not giving up, and in the 82nd minute a cross from Besler found Collin, who sliced his shot wide.
In the second minute of injury time, a Seth Sinovic cross found Collin again but his goal-bound header was blocked by Ricketts. The save locked up the three points and victory for Portland Timbers.
Sporting Kansas City’s loss is the first at Sporting Park in the last 10 regular-season MLS matches. The team currently hold 3rd place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points from 9 matches.
The next match is against Chivas USA
on Sunday, May 4th at Sporting Park.