Professional Soccer

Timbers Fall 1-0 to Sporting KC

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Thumbnail Photo is Courtesy of the Portland Timbers

PORTLAND, Ore. – Despite controlling a majority of the possession and registering a 17-8 advantage in shots, the Portland Timbers conceded a goal late in the second half in a 1-0 loss against Western Conference side Sporting Kansas City in front of a sellout crowd of 21,144 fans at Providence Park on Saturday night.

With three games remaining on the regular-season schedule, Portland (12-11-8, 44pts) is tied on points with San Jose in sixth place in the Western Conference with a game hand. Heading into Sunday’s matches, the Timbers sit two points behind fifth-place Seattle Sounders FC (46pts) and three points behind fourth-place FC Dallas (47pts) in the tight conference standings.

Controlling the possession in the first half, Portland registered a 7-2 advantage in shots, while holding Sporting KC without a shot after the 19th minute in the half. Midfielder Diego Valeri forced a diving stop by Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia on a powerful shot from close range in the 27th minute. In the 44th minute, Valeri pounced on a loose ball after midfielder Darlington Nagbe’s initial shot was blocked, but Melia paried away the attempt.

Remaining on the front foot in the second half, Nagbe stole the ball at midfield and found forward Lucas Melano as he split two defenders with a through ball into the box. Melano ran in stride and hit a shot on frame, but Melia slid out at the last moment to knock the ball away in the 65th minute. In the 71st minute, Nagbe found space again, dribbling around multiple defenders, delivering a powerful strike towards the upper-left corner and forced a leaping save by Melia.

Defensively, Portland surrendered just one shot on target early in the first half, and held Sporting Kansas City without a shot on goal for more than 45 minutes, before goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey made a key stop late in the second half. Midfielder Mikey Lopez directed a bouncing clearance on frame with a half-volley and Kwarasey rose to tip the attempt over the crossbar.

Sporting KC (13-9-9, 48pts) grabbed the lead late in the 83rd minute as forward Krisztian Nemeth dribbled into the box, placing a low, hard shot into the bottom-left corner of the goal.

The Timbers pushed looking for a goal late in the match. Melano saw a header just miss over the top of the crossbar off a corner kick in the 80th minute, while forward Maximiliano Urruti sent a low, hard shot from just inside the box inches wide of the left post in the 84th minute.

Next up, the Timbers travel to take on Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah; kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (Pacific). The Oct. 14 match will feature a live broadcast on ROOT SPORTS with a local radio broadcast on 750/102.9 The Game and in Spanish on La GranD 93.5 FM.