Alec Kann delivers on short notice to help Sporting Kansas City top Timbers

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Alec Kann's first MLS victory in goal, Peter Vermes' 100th MLS managerial victory. 

It was a day of momentous occasions, and three important points, for Sporting Kansas City.

Kann, who found out Saturday that he would get the start because of Tim Melia's back spasms, also picked up his first clean sheet in league play with Sunday's 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers.

Afterward, Kann credited Sporting's defense with making his job easier.

“The guys out wide did a good job closing down servers by not letting them whip balls into the box,” Kann said. “I know that was a hard part of the game with [Fanendo] Adi, who was a big presence in the game. They were closing down shots around the perimeter of the box.

“We didn’t really let Adi compose himself on the game and we were able to pick up a lot of the second balls. We didn’t really let them into our half.”

Two recent outings with Swope Park Rangers, Sporting's USL side, also helped him stay sharp in case he was needed, Kann said.

“Just getting games is the biggest thing as a goalkeeper,” he said. “Dressing and traveling for games is nice, but at the end of the day you need to play games. At that level, the coaches do a good job, to make sure that you are ready. It is nice to have those opportunities if games aren’t coming with the first team.”

Kann, making his second MLS start of the year, had to make just one save – but also had to recover from one scary moment of his own making to earn the clean sheet. He nearly put the ball in his own net in the 28th when a routine cross from Adi slipped out of Kann's grip.

Kann was able to recover, however, reaching back with his left hand to scoop the ball away before it could go over the line, and Jacob Peterson – who was nearly subbed off in the first half after a collision near midfield – came back to head home Benny Feilhaber's cross in the 50th minute for the match-winner.

It was Peterson's second straight match with a goal, the first time he has scored in back-to-back outings since 2006 with the Colorado Rapids.

All of Vermes' 100 victories in MLS play have come with Sporting, where he took over in mid-2009. With Sigi Schmid's departure from Seattle this past week, Vermes is now the league's second-longest-tenured manager behind the LA Galaxy's Bruce Arena.

“I didn’t realize it was coming until someone had mentioned it to me the other day,” Vermes said. “That has been one of the biggest things the fact that it has been with one club. I don’t look at myself as a mercenary or someone who goes from place to place. I see myself as more of a builder, and being a part of the growth of this development is probably more of a humbling aspect.”