Timbers benefit from friendly fire, 1-0 over Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City came into Portland with a 7-0-0 record, the second best start to a season in MLS history. The Timbers were riding a four game losing streak, having given up leads in their past three matches, but for Timbers fans it had the feel of when flying-high Los Angeles came to Portland last year, after the Timbers had been slumping, and like last year the Timbers would play giant-killers, knocking off Sporting Kansas City by 1-0 score on a Chance Myers own goal in front of another sellout crowd of 20,438 at Portland’s JELD-WEN Field.
The first half would have few good scoring chances, with the first chance going to Kansas City in the 9th minute, when CJ Sapong found Kei Kamara open near the penalty spot, but his one-timer was right at Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins and easily saved. In the 20th minute, the visitors had another good chance when Sapong got his head on a free kick, but put it well wide left.
In the 24th minute there was a bizarre moment when it appears Timbers defender Hanyer Mosquera accidentally knocked the ball out of Perkins’ hand when he was attempting to throw it, but the center referee apparently didn’t get a good view of it, and called it a foul on the visitors, to the disgust of Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes.
The Timbers finally got a shot on goal in the 25th minute, but it wasn’t much of one, when a failed clearance fell to the foot of Eric Brunner, but his shot didn’t have much on it and was easily saved by Kansas City goalkepeer Jimmy Nielson.
In the 41st minute, the Timbers would take on a bizarre play when after Timbers forward Kris Boyd crossed the ball to the far post, with no Timbers in the area, Sporting midfielder Julio Cesar and defender Chance Myers got in each other’s way, and Myers ended up heading the ball into his own net with pace, slipping just inside the left post, but the own goal had given the Timbers a 1-0 lead. It was the first own goal by a Timbers opponent since former Timber Stephen Keel scored an own goal for New York last year in Portland.
Kansas City did get one more good chance to end the half, with Bobby Convey‘s shot being blocked by a sliding Steve Purdy, but the Timbers defense would hold and they’d go into halftime up by a 1-0 score.
Just 90 seconds in the second half, the Timbers had a great chance to double their lead when Diego Chara played a nice diagonal ball into the run of Boyd, but his one-time shot was blocked by a charging Nielson. In the 55th minute, Kansas City had another good chance on a dangerous cross through the Timbers box, but Sapong’s header was wide right, and a follow-up Sporting shot was well over the crossbar.
In the 69th minute, the Timbers once again had a chance to double their lead, this time after Chara did well to elude a Kansas City defender near the sideline, and played a pass to Jack Jewsbury who was open at the top of the box, but his shot was deflected wide off a defender’s foot.
But in order to protect the own-goal-induced lead, the Timbers would have to withstand a late charge from Kansas City, which started in the 87th minute with a few chances being blocked by Brunner. One minute later, it was Teal Bunbury with a chance for Sporting from near the penalty spot, but the shot was blocked by a Timbers defender and cleared.
Inside the four minutes of stoppage time, the visitors looked ready to break the hearts of Timbers fans when on a very long throw by Kansas City’s Matt Besler, Perkins went high for the ball but let it slip through his hands, but Mosquera was on the line and stopped the shot, and Perkins was able to recover to smother the ball. The Timbers were able to kill off the rest of the stoppage time and held on for the 1-0 win, breaking their first MLS four game losing streak, and giving Sporting Kansas City the first blemish on their record fro the 2012 season.