The Portland Timbers’ time in the desert finished up with a back and forth 3-3 draw against Sporting Kansas at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona.
In Portland’s first full 90-minute scrimmage against an MLS side, they played their presumptive starters for the longest stretch so far in the preseason:
That opening group battled out the opening stages of the match, with the first major action for the Timbers coming by way of Felipe Mora firing narrowly wide of the post after a peach of a through ball from Diego Valeri.
Despite the positive play from the Timbers, it would be Sporting Kansas City who would strike first, just before halftime. In the 45th minute, SKC striker and former Oregon State University star Khiry Shelton would get on the end of cross and flick his side ahead 1-0 heading into halftime.
Unfortunately, that scoring trend would continue after the break as well, as Sporting was able to add a second in the 48th minute to make it 2-0. Portland answered right back however, as Mora earned a penalty kick in the 52nd minute. Valeri stepped up to take, and El Maestro did El Maestro things:
The game then appeared to become a back and forth affair, as soon thereafter Sporting would restore their two goal margin in the 64th minute. Now down 3-1, Portland would make two subs, bringing on Eryk Williamson and Dairon Asprilla for Cristhian Paredes and Yimmi Chara. And then, very shortly after coming on, Asprilla would do what Asprilla does best in seasons that have a prefix, as he scored and cut the margin to 3-2.
In the 70th minute, Portland would make wholesale changes to their lineup, subbing out the rest of the starters in favor of second choice players and trialists.
Some more mass subs in the 70th minute, so here's who is on the pitch for the final 20 minutes:— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) March 24, 2021
The Timbers reserves would keep pushing for an equalizer, and then finally in the 88th minute it would come. After earning a free kick just outside of the box, Renzo Zambrano swung in a pinpoint perfect ball that met the head of Bill Tuiloma. SKC backup keeper (and former Timbers 2 starter) Kendall McIntosh made a great reaction save, but couldn’t pounc on the rebound, which Tuiloma scrambled to first and bundled into the net, leveling things a 3-3.
The game would end shortly thereafter, both teams leaving the field with three goals apiece.
Despite giving up three goals, having battling back from a two goal deficit twice will give the Timbers a nice boost in morale and belief as they leave the Grand Canyon State. Portland’s next and final scheduled preseason tune-up is next Tuesday, as they face the Seattle Sounders on March 30 at the Starfire Sports Complex.