Major League Soccer - Providence Park
9/9/2015 7:30pm: Partly Cloudy & Mild, 21C/70F
Pre-game records: Portland Timbers (W11-D7-L9-40pts) vs. Sporting Kansas City (W11-D7-L7-40pts)
Portland Timbers – GLK Adam Larsen Kwarasey, DEF Taylor Peay, DEF Norberto Paparatto, DEF Nat Borchers, DEF Jorge Villafana, MID George Fochive, MID Jack Jewsbury, MID Diego Valeri, MID Darlington Nagbe, MID Lucas Melano, FWD Fanendo Adi. Formation: 4-2-3-1.
Sporting Kansas City: GLK, Tim Melia DEF Seth Sinovic, DEF Matt Besler, DEF Kevin Ellis, DEF Saad Abdul-Salaam, MID Benny Feilhaber, MID Paulo Nagamura, MID Soni Mustivar, FWD Dominic Dwyer, FWD Graham Zusi, FWD Jacob Peterson. Formation: 4-3-3
As the feel of fall began to settle on the Rose City, the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City prepared to do battle in this important Western Conference encounter at Providence Park. Both teams were sitting on 40 points coming into this game with Sporting having played 2 games fewer than their opponents. Both team form had not been particularly inspiring of late with Portland losing despite a dominant performance in Seattle by 2 goals to 1 and Sporting KC losing by the same score line to the Colorado Rapids in their last outing making it 3 defeats on the spin for them. Both teams were looking for a victory tonight as the San Jose Earthquakes were only 2 points behind these two going into the game ensuring that both of these sides were keeping an eye over their shoulders in the race for play-off spots.
Portland boss Caleb Porter had to reshuffle the pack tonight as both Liam Ridgewell and Diego Chara were suspended while Alvas Powell was still on international duty with Jamaica as was Will Johnson so Porter brought in Jack Jewsbury and George Fochive who performed well against the Seattle Sounders in their last match along with Taylor Peay and Norberto Paparatto. Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes also had Kristian Nemeth out of the line up as he played for Hungary on Monday night and he brought in Jacob Peterson to replace him up front alongside Graham Zusi and Dominic Dwyer in a 4-3-3 formation.
5 mins: A pretty lively start from both sides and Lucas Melano found himself in plenty of space and took a shot from 30 yards out, hit the shot but misconnected and it rolled comfortable into the arms of Tim Melia
15 mins: A fairly scrappy period of the game that had lots of effort but lacked in quality early doors but Darlington Nagbe brought the ball out from defense and found Diego Valeri whose pass found Fanendo Adi out wide. Adi stumbled his way forward and tried to find Lucas Melano but his pass was too late and Melano was offside. Scrappy opening.
18 mins: A simple looping ball was heading towards Kwarasey for a comfortable catch but Paparatto must not have gotten the call. The players both made contact with the ball and it went out for a corner but Sporting KC could not make it count and the corner was poor.
29 mins: The first real clear cut chance of the game and Adi and Valeri play a one-two and Adi finds himself through and shot from the edge of the box, Melia was up to the task and saved with his feet to his lower left. From the resulting Valeri corner, Paparatto met the ball but was unable to keep the ball down and headed it well over the crossbar.
33 mins: A throw in deep into the left hand side of attack for Sporting KC and Matt Besler sent it long toward the near post but neither Borchers nor Paparatto could get to it before Abdul-Salaam who flicked it with his head fortunately for the home side straight to the arms of Portland keeper Kwarasey. The away side were looking more and more comfortable on the ball and looking more like the home side as the half wore on. Worrying signs for Coach Porter.
40 mins: From a Sporting KC throw in that bobbled around in the penalty area, Darlington Nagbe toe poked it on paced and onrushing attacker and broke with real pace, slid it to Valeri just past the halfway line as Nagbe was floored by Nagumara who was booked in the aftermath. The move went on as the referee allowed advantage and Valeri played through Adi who could not get the ball past Melia once again, this time from 8 yards out. Best attack of the game up to this point.
Half Time Score: Portland Timbers 0-0 Sporting Kansas City
Shots: Portland Timbers 8 (2) – 2 (2) Sporting Kansas City
Possession: Portland Timbers 46%-54% Sporting Kansas City
49 mins: Some excellent build up play from the Portland Timbers as they push men forward straight from kick off and George Fochive found himself 30 yards out and spread the ball to Villafana who sent in an early cross. Fanendo Adi met it sweetly with his head from 6 yards out but once again Melia foiled his effort and clutched onto the ball. A lively start to the 2nd half from the home side.
57 mins: As the Sporting defense thought that they had quelled any danger from another Portland attack, Valeri snuck around his man and slid an excellent through ball in for Lucas Melano who took a touch and hit it but straight at Melia who was in inspired form tonight. Valeri took the corner and Adi met it but yet again Melia got his hands onto the ball. Melano really should have scored moments earlier but Melia was keeping this to 0-0 somehow.
64 mins: Both teams fancied this one and as Graham Zusi made an excellent turn and strike to hit the post from around the penalty spot. Truly excellent skill from Zusi. Nagbe picks up the ball and spun away from two to send the ball up the line, Adi nodded it on around the halfway line and Valeri powered on through, his pass low found Melano through on the right hand side. This time he tried to take on Melia but once again the goalkeeper won the duel. Portland were really beginning to get on top at this stage and one felt it was just a matter of time until a goal came as surely Melia can only keep so many shots out.
68 mins: Chance after chance for the Portland Timbers as Valeri swung over a free kick to beyond the far post and Paparatto headed it back across goal, Nat Borchers followed in just past the other post but couldn’t direct a difficult header onto goal. Portland were completely dominant at this point.
73 mins: An interesting substitution as Caleb Porter took off Adi and brought on Asprilla switching Melano to the front man with Asprilla on the right hand side as Portland sought out a goal. Incredible that this game was still 0-0, mostly thanks to Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia.
80 mins: Another excellent steal from Diego Valeri who was orchestrating everything that Portland threw at SKC, his pass found Jack Jewsbury in space who charged forward. The home crowd were crying out for him to shoot and he obliged, but his shot was way wide and over the crossbar. Portland had been dominant in the last third of this game but was it to be yet another frustrating night for Caleb Porter and his men?
83 mins: Last throw of the dice for Caleb Porter and Portland as they brought on Urruti and Wallace for Fochive and Melano. Within 90 seconds Wallace flew down the left flank and squared the ball back for Urruti but he squalls the shot wide of goal.
90 mins: A complete miskick from a Sporting defender allows Dairon Asprilla to charge forward on the right hand side. His cross found Urruti’s head but guess what, Tim Melia plucked it out of the air to truly claim this as his night.
Full Time Score: Portland Timbers 0-0 Sporting Kansas City
Shots: Portland Timbers 18 (7)–8 (2) Sporting Kansas City
Possession: Portland Timbers 48% – 52% Sporting Kansas City
MOTM: Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City
Well, the game certainly livened up in the 2nd
half but it was the same old story for the Portland Timbers who enjoyed many, many chances in this game but just could not put the ball into the net but not the want of trying. Tim Melia had an absolutely barnstorming game and kept out at least half a dozen clear cut chances to earn his side a hard fought draw. Coach Porter of Portland will have badly wanted the points tonight and he could not have done much more with the players available to him. In the 2nd
half it was backs to the wall for Sporting KC as Portland came at them wave after wave but they held on for a crucial point in the race for the play offs. For Coach Porter? They are still very much in the play offs but with difficult games to come, they must pick up more points to earn