Coming off a ton of fireworks in the Conference Semifinals, both the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City came into Leg 1 of the Western Conference Championship searching for a leg up in their Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoff series.
Neither team was able to gain that advantage as the match finished scoreless at Providence Park on Sunday night. The Timbers found the post and saw a goal disallowed due to offside but could not find a goal at home.
Jorge Villafaña nearly provided an opener minutes into the match with his weak foot, as a clearance fell to his right foot and he whistled it past the SKC defense and Tim Melia but it banged off the post instead of settling into the back of the net.
Sporting KC were under pressure for most of the night with a good chance coming at the start of the second half as a Johnny Russell chance sailed over the crossbar. Daniel Salloi had another one in the box in stoppage time, but Liam Ridgewell made a crucial block.
The Timbers thought they took a lead in the 70th minute off a David Guzman set-piece rebound goal. Ridgewell's original shot bounced off the post, and was followed up by Guzman, but the Englishman was correctly ruled to have been offside.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Both teams probably have mixed feelings coming out of the match. Portland could not take a lead at home, but also did not concede an all-important road goal despite losing center back Larrys Mabiala to a leg injury in the first half. SKC will be happy to know a win at home means a trip to MLS Cup, but any goal they concede will be huge.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The disallowed goal provided a lot of excitement and ultimately proved to be the moment that meant this match ended in a scoreless draw.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Splitting this one between the old roommates, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler, as they both provided a strong front defensively as an onslaught ensued.
- Leg 2: Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers — Thursday, Nov. 29 (9:30 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes, TSN2, TVAS2)