The Portland Timbers looked like they were in trouble in this match only to see a second half surge propel them to a 3-0 win over Sporting Kansas City.
Things started out poorly for the Timbers in what was already a chippy match as Diego Chara picked up a red card in just the 13th minute. Putting pressure on SKC midfielder Benny Feilhaber, Chara took an elbow to the face from the Sporting playmaker and immediately retaliated, hitting Feilhaber in the back of the head. With the incident in plain view, referee Baldomero Toledo had no hesitation in showing Chara red and leaving the Timbers down a man for the remainder of the match.
The Timbers would weather the SKC storm for most of the half as the visitors kept them pinned back in their defensive end. With cross after cross coming in, the Timbers were able to stay strong against SKC in the run of play.
With SKC keeping the pressure on the Timbers, opportunities were few and far between for the home side. Still, the Timbers thought that they would have their break through in the 34th minute as Fanendo Adi got on the end of a through ball from Darlington Nagbe and broke into the SKC box only to see midfielder Soni Mustivar run into him from behind and clip his legs, causing the big man to go down. The Timbers appealed for a penalty, but Toledo was quick to wave them away, motioning for play to continue.
The sides would even up in the 39th minute, however, as Diego Valeri received a rare ball out of the back and broke down the pitch, only to be taken down by Mustivar. As Valeri touched a bouncing ball down the pitch, Mustivar came flying in with his boot in the air, clipping Valeri in the leg with his studs before colliding with the Maestro. Initially Toledo seemed to be reaching for a yellow card, but as a scrum formed around him the ref pushed his way free and brought forth the red, evening up the match at ten players apiece.
The second half would prove to be a wide-open affair, with both sides looking break quickly down the pitch, but struggling to penetrate the other’s solidly organized defense.
As both sides pushed for the opener, it was the Timbers who would break through in the 65th minute. Getting the ball out wide to Vytas making a run down the left flank, the Timbers’ full back had plenty of room to swing a cross into the SKC box. Vytas’s ball found the run of Jack McInerney, but he could only get a slight deflection on the ball. Instead of making its way in on goal, the ball skipped back, bouncing to the run of Valeri at the edge of the SKC box. With the ball setting up perfectly for him, Valeri hit a swerving volley that slammed into the back of the net to give the Timbers the 1-0 lead.
The Timbers would extend their lead in the 88th minute as they found a rare break in the SKC pressure and were able to get a long ball down the pitch to Adi. After some strong hold up play from the big man, the ball eventually found its way to Darlington Nagbe who twisted and turned his way through the SKC box until Jack Jewsbury arrived at the top of the box. Nagbe played a simple pass back to the Salty Dog and, with no pressure around him, Jewsbury hammered a hard shot on goal and past Alec Kann to seal the victory.
Now up two, the Timbers added insult to injury in the first minute of stoppage time, once again finding Adi on the edge of the SKC box. With defenders all around him, Adi dribbled and bulled his way through, finally getting a fortunate bounce that put him in one goal. With only Alec Kann between him and breaking the scoring drought that has plagued him in recent weeks, Adi would not be denied and coolly slipped a side-footed shot past the SKC keeper to make the score 3-0.
With the win the Timbers move into sixth place in the West, leapfrogging the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Timbers play again on Saturday as they head east to take on D.C. United.