PORTLAND, Ore. – Sporting Kansas City’s scorching start to the season had to come to an end sometime.
They probably didn’t expect, however, to fall by their own hand.
An own goal by Chance Myers while trying to clear a Kris Boyd cross led to a 1-0 victory for the Portland Timbers on Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field and the end to Sporting’s season-opening seven-game winning streak.
There was nothing pretty about the scrappy, defense-orientated match, but the Portland Timbers will most certainly take the result. The victory, Portland’s first since their season opener against Philadelphia on March 12, endded a four-game losing streak.
And while nobody in green found the back of the net, the way in which victory was secured will be most pleasing to Portland. The Timbers had squandered leads in their previous three games.
After the own goal in the 41st minute, Portland gamely survived an onslaught from Sporting’s C.J. Sapong, Kei Kamara and company. With Kansas City living in Portland’s half in the final 15 minutes, they nearly equalized in the 80th minute when a free kick from Graham Zusi just into stoppage time fell free into traffic after goalkeeper Troy Perkins was unable to secure the ball. But Portland defender Eric Brunner was able to nudge it clear in time for Perkins to gobble it up.
With the Timbers deciding on a more defensive lineup, moving outside defender Lovel Palmer up to midfield and defensive midfielder Diego Chara shifting wide, the game had its moments of physicality, highlighted by several shoving matches between the two sides.
And with Sporting playing its third game in eight days, there were times when Portland took the fight to Kansas City. Portland was whistled for 15 fouls to SKC’s 12.
Portland broke through the impasse with the vistors' help when Boyd ran down a long pass to the right corner from Diego Chara. Boyd tried to find Perlaza on a cross, and Myers and Julio Cesar collided while trying to clear, leading to the own goal charged to Myers.
In the end, both teams combined for just five shots on goal, three for Sporting Kansas City.
Neither team made a move in the standings, however. Portland remain in ninth place in the Western Conference with seven points from seven games and Kansas City remain far atop the Eastern Conference table with 21 points from eight games.
Next up for Portland is a road match Saturday against the Montreal Impact. After SKC’s long week, they’ll get a week to rest before returning to action May 5 when they play host to Montreal.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Jack Jewsbury||Helped Portland boss the midfield and kept Sporting on their toes with some long-range efforts|
|2||Diego Chara||A force in the Portland midfield. Contributed in the buildup to the Timbers' goal and disrupted Sporting's rhythm.|
|3||Aurelien Collin||French center back continued to excel despite the loss, he had a handle on Kris Boyd throughout the entire game.|