The Portland Timbers lost their undefeated streak at Providence Park today, dropping a 1-0 result to Sporting Kansas City on the strength of a Dom Dwyer goal.
As with every match between these two sides, tonight was chippy and contentious from the get-go with neither side willing to back down.
A high pressure approach from Sporting has the Timbers on the back foot to start the match, seeing the visitors hold possession for most of the first half an hour. Kansas City’s best chances came from a series of dangerous free kicks, won largely through the efforts of Dwyer on the edge of the Timbers’ box, but resulting in no shots on goal, despite one header from Ilie Sanchez that came close to skimming the top of the bar.
The Timbers were able to put their stamp on the game as it wore on, however, getting on the ball and managing to put together a series of half-chances as the match progressed.
The side’s best opportunity of the first half came on the break as Diego Valeri ran onto a ball that was overhit through the Sporting box, corralling it near the end line. With a quick turn and pass, the Maestro found the run of Adi at the near post and the Timbers’ all-time leading scorer was able to connect with the ball but could not keep his shot down, instead putting it up and over the bar as the chance went wanting.
In the second half, however, Sporting would reassert themselves and open the scoring in the 53rd minute off a Dwyer header. With the ball at the feet of Benny Feilhaber at the top of the Timbers’ box, the Kansas City No. 10 played a simple pass out wide to the feet of winger Jimmy Medranda. Medranda would hit the ball first time, finding the head of of Dwyer for the nodded-on finish.
After a frustrating fifteen minutes of trying to fight their way back into the game, the Timbers finally looked like they might make a match of it with ten minutes to go in the second half and it was Darlington Nagbe who almost pulled them level. With space in the Kansas City half, Nagbe stepped up and unleashed a thunderous shot from long range, dipping shot that Tim Melia was able to get a fingertip to, deflecting it off the underside of the bar and away from goal.
From there the Timbers would push for an equalizer, but none was forthcoming and the side would head into the showers with zero points to show for their efforts.
The Timbers are at home again next weekend, hosting the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, April 22nd for their first Cascadia Cup match of the season.