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Match Recap & (lack of) Highlights: Portland Timbers 1 - 4 Sporting Kansas City

A lifeless first-half against the worst team in the West pulverizes Portland’s playoff pursuit.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Sporting Kansas City Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

A must-win match against the Western Conference cellar-dwelling Sporting Kansas City ended in a stunning 4-1 defeat for the Portland Timbers, whose playoff ambitions look to be sinking without a trace.


Eryk Williamson made his first start in about a month after fully recovering from a lingering hamstring injury, and Larrys Mabiala returned to the starting XI after Giovanni Savarese opted to start Bill Tuiloma last week for the club’s 10 game unbeaten streak-snapping loss away in Toronto.

The opening 10 minutes of the match were relatively dull with the only notable chance coming from Sporting KC through Andreu Fontas, who missed a header after a near-post flick from a corner. What followed was a nightmare first-half performance which saw the Timbers concede three goals in a span of 11 minutes that may well have nixed any chance of a playoff berth for the Timbers.

Portland started the second half like a house on fire after making three substitutions during the break, but the damage sustained in the opening 45 minutes was too tall of a task to overcome for a Timbers team that quite frankly looked disinterested in winning. One last goal from William Agada in the 75th minute compounded the Timbers’ misery and ensured that any hope of a comeback was squashed. Sebastian Blanco pulled back the saddest of consolation goals in the 90th minute after a VAR review, but the result was never in doubt. The game finished 4-1 in favor of the hosts.


  • 10’ The Timbers had a nervy moment in the 10th minute from, you guessed it, a Sporting KC set-piece. Roger Espinoza glanced a near-post header into the box, but Andreu Fontas was unable to send a header of his own on target.
  • 16’ William Agada had a chance to open the scoring for SKC after Larrys Mabiala misread a relatively simple through-ball, which allowed Agada a free run at goal. Thankfully for the Timbers, one too many touches from the SKC forward allowed Ivacic to make a comfortable save.
  • 20’ Santiago Moreno nearly capitalized on a miscue from SKC captain Graham Zusi with the Timbers’ first shot of the game in the 20th minute, but the shot curled wide of the right-hand post.
  • 31’ GOAL SPORTING KANSAS CITY, 1-0 It would be the hosts who took the lead just after the half-hour mark through Agada after a massive mistake from Larrys Mabiala in the box. The Timbers’ centerback completely whiffed a clearance following a deep cross from the right wing, and Agada blasted the ball past a helpless Ivacic.
  • 40’ GOAL SPORTING KANSAS CITY, 2-0 Andreu Fontas would double the hosts’ lead nine minutes later after a failed clearance from yet another set-piece fell to Zusi outside of the box. Zusi hit a left-footed shot into a crowd of traffic, before Fontas dug the ball out from under his feet and fired a left-footed shot past Ivacic.
  • 42’ GOAL SPORTING KANSAS CITY, 3-0 Erik Thommy compiled the misery two minutes later as he extended SKC’s lead to three, curling a beautiful strike past Ivacic with absolutely zero pressure from anyone in green and gold.

After one minute of stoppage time, the Timbers ended the half down 3-0. After a horrendous defensive performance, Savarese brought off Mabiala, Josecarlos Van Rankin, and Jaroslaw Niezgoda, who were replaced by Zac McGraw, Bill Tuiloma, and Dairon Asprilla.

  • 47’ Sebastian Blanco was denied an absolute wondergoal by SKC ‘keeper John Pulskamp, who recovered extraordinarily to palm Blanco’s deep, looping shot over the bar after pushing the ball away from Yimmi Chara in the buildup.
  • 48’ Moments later Dairon Asprilla had a golden opportunity to pull a goal back for the Timbers with all the time in the world in the center of the box, but his deflected shot was saved by Pulskamp. There were appeals for a handball from Timbers players after the ball appeared to hit the arm of the SKC defender, but no penalty was awarded.
  • 50’ Sebastian Blanco sent a wicked cross into the box with two Timbers waiting at the back post, but once again Pulskamp got a hand to the ball to avert any and all danger.
  • 57’ Zac McGraw was issued a yellow card for a foul just before the hour mark.
  • 63’ Santiago Moreno rifled a shot over the bar from the edge of the box that didn’t miss the goal by much.
  • 64’ Claudio Bravo, in my opinion the only Timbers defender who could take any pride in their performance, was substituted for Marvin Loria.
  • 72’ Dairon Asprilla missed another glorious chance to score for the Timbers after the ball made its way to him in the box, but with the entirety of the goal to aim at, Asprilla scuffed a shot directly at Pulskamp and the chance came to nothing.
  • 75’ GOAL SPORTING KANSAS CITY, 4-0 All of the good work done by the Timbers in the second half was undone by William Agada, who strolled into the box and fired home SKC’s fourth goal of the night.
  • 80’ Eryk Williamson was replaced by the returning Cristhian Paredes.
  • 87’ Diego Chara was cautioned for a foul on the wing.
  • 90+1 GOAL PORTLAND TIMBERS, 4-1 Sebastian Blanco scored the consolation goal of all consolation goals to ruin SKC’s clean sheet, but it was far too little, far too late. Much like the offside call that was overturned by VAR which allowed the goal to stand.

In case you were wondering if things got any easier for the Timbers, they don’t! The Seattle Sounders come to town next, with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PST on Friday, August 26. Although that game is also being broadcasted through FOX Sports, so who knows when the match will actually start at Providence Park.