Monday, April 29, 2013

Sporting KC falls to Portland

Sporting Kansas City fell 3-2 to the Portland Timbers in front of a sold-out crowd at Sporting Park on Saturday night. Chance Myers notched the first career Major League Soccer goal of his career just 40 seconds into the match and followed up with a second goal in the 29th minute of play.

Despite the brace, the visiting Timbers responded  with first-half goals from Ryan Johnson and Darlington Nagbe to set the stage for Rodney Wallace's match-winner in the 58th minute.

The tone for what proved to be an exciting match was set from the opening whistle when  Myers scored inside the first minute.

A long throw-in from Matt Besler found Myers making his run in the box and the former No. 1 overall pick directed his header past goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. The goal marked Myers first career goal in an MLS match and was also the third-fastest goal in club history, including the earliest goal scored at  Sporting Park since it opened in 2011.

Three minutes later, Diego Valeri nearly bagged a goal for the visitors when his blazing shot was deflected by the woodwork.  The Timbers threatened again in the 15th minute when  Nagbe made a run down the right flank, drawing goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen off his line, and fired a low shot that Nielsen slid to save.

The 23rd minute saw another chance for Sporting KC when Claudio Bieler cut the ball to C.J. Sapong in the box, but his floating volley was punched away by Ricketts.

A minute later Wallace nearly claimed a goal when he sent in a long-range shot from the left corner of the box that was parried over the bar by Nielsen. Portland found their equalizer  a minute later when Johnson headed home a corner kick from Valeri.

The back-and-forth action continued when Myers notched a second goal for Sporting Kansas City in the 29th minute. Benny Feilhaber clipped the ball to the far post and Aurelien Collin squared it to Myers, who calmly struck it past Ricketts.

Four minutes later, the Timbers were level again after Johnson made a run down the left flank, cut the ball the Nagbe who poked the ball into the open net.

Sporting nearly went up a goal for a third time in the 40th minute when a free kick from Graham Zusi found Sapong at the far post, but Ricketts blocked his header expertly.

The second half maintained the fervor from both sides but it was Portland with a goal in the 58th minute. Midfielder Diego Chara played a through ball to Wallace, who tucked it past Nielsen, scoring his second goal of the season.

Ten minutes later, Sporting KC got a chance of their own when Zusi curled a ball to the far post to Besler, but the center back couldn’t direct his header on goal. The 73rd minute nearly saw a goal from Collin when the ball pin-balled around the box before he made a diving header that nearly slipped past Ricketts.

Five minutes later, Jacob Peterson, in his first appearance since his off-season surgery to repair his subluxed right shoulder, drilled the ball down the right flank and cut to the middle and shot, but his goal was just wide of the near post.

Sporting KC was back at it in the 82nd minute when Besler crossed the ball to his center back companion Collin, whose slicing shot was just wide of the post.

The Timbers responded three minutes later when Frederic Piquionne made a run down the left and cut to the center before curling in a low, firing shot that narrowly missed the goal.

The dying minutes of the match saw several last-ditch efforts from the home side, notably in the second minute of stoppage time when Seth Sinovic crossed in a ball from the left to Collin, whose header was bound for the net but blocked by Ricketts.

Despite their efforts, Sporting Kansas City could not find a late equalizer and suffered their first loss at home in the past 10 MLS regular season matches.

Sporting Kansas City will host Chivas USA at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday, May 5, at Sporting Park. Tickets are available in limited supply through Ticketmaster and at the Sporting Park Box Offices.