HIGHLIGHTS: Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers | August 18, 2021
Salloi’s 12th goal of the year salvaged a point, though the Seattle Sounders vaulted ahead of Sporting for the Western Conference lead with their simultaneous 1-0 win at FC Dallas. And Portland, looking to bounce back from last weekend’s crushing Cascadia rivalry defeat against Seattle, saw another lead slip away to deny them what would’ve been a galvanizing road result.
Portland’s defensive frailties offered a blood-in-the-water moment for Salloi in second-half stoppage time, and the homegrown forward lashed home past goalkeeper Steve Clark at the near post. That gave Sporting a league-leading 18th point from a trailing position this year.
The Timbers started on the front foot when Marvin Loria was the engineer of Felipe Mora’s opener in the 17th minute. His bending cross found the Chile national team forward, who acrobatically headed past goalkeeper Tim Melia for the 1-0 lead. Mora's goal served as his seventh of the year, reinforcing why the one-time Pumas UNAM loanee is now in Portland full-time.
Portland will look agonizingly back on the chance to double their advantage in the 75th minute, when midfielder Diego Valeri’s scoop shot evaded Melia but wandered wide of the far post. The opportunity arose from some high pressure, and Sebastian Blanco picked out Valeri for the near-range look.
Sporting’s best look at a leveler before Salloi’s strike came in the 59th minute through Gadi Kinda, but the Israeli midfielder couldn't capitalize. Right back Graham Zusi whipped in a pinpoint cross that Kinda thumped toward Portland’s goal, only for Clark to save low and then corral the rebound.
SKC center back Andreu Fontas had a goalmouth header in the 98th minute, though he couldn't steer home the pinball-like sequence that would've kept them atop the West. Instead, one point apiece had to suffice.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Try as they may, Sporting and Portland stay true to form. The hosts fought back to earn yet another result from a losing position, while the visitor’s backline gaps proved fatal yet again. This one had Western Conference implications, too, with Sporting slipping from the No. 1 spot and Portland unable to create some cushion above the jam-packed playoff line.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Daniel Salloi, thanks to this stoppage-time equalizer, now has a career-high 12 goals on the year. His low points from 2019 and 2020 feel like ages ago.
GOAL: Daniel Salloi, Sporting Kansas City - 92nd minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Daniel Salloi was SKC’s star player. The Hungary-born wide forward has a combined 18 goals and assists on the year, proving every bit worthy of his place in next week’s MLS All-Star Game presented by Target.