Photo by Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports
BY MIKE DONOVAN
When the Portland Timbers conceded a goal less than a minute into Saturday night’s match against Sporting Kansas City, it didn’t seem like that the first road victory of the season would be in store. However, the situation seemed to have little effect on the Timbers and their gameplan.
“I wasn’t concerned actually,” head coach Caleb Porter said “We were going to have to score a goal anyway to win.”
Despite Porter’s lack of concern, history was not on his side. Prior to Saturday night, no MLS team had ever lost a home game when scoring in the first minute of a match.
It was the fifth time this season that Portland has conceded the first goal of the match. Their record in those matches is a respectable 1-1-3.
“We’ve been in this situation in many games so all of those (events) helped mold us into a team that could handle this situation,” Ryan Johnson said. “We were fine and we knew that we were going to get back and we did.”
Here are some more notes from Saturday’s Timbers win in Kansas City:
With the victory, the Timbers ran their road unbeaten streak to five games, dating back to last season. Portland remains the only team in the league that hasn’t lost on the road in 2013.
This a far cry from the Timbers of years past. The six road points this season leaves the club just one point shy of their away point total from all of last season.
“It’s a huge result for us to come on the road and to get a win against a team of the caliber of Sporting Kansas City,” Porter said. “We know they’re one of the best teams in the league and I think we showed tonight that we’re also one of the best teams in the league.”
Last year Portland didn’t capture a road victory until its away finale in Vancouver. But the team has gone through a complete makeover from last season.
Out of the 14 Portland players who saw the pitch in Kansas City, half of them were brought to the club in the offseason. Along with a new coach and personnel, the team has undergone an attitude adjustment as well.
“We don’t fear anybody,” Ryan Johnson said. “Home or away we’re going to look to play, we’re going to look to press and we wanted to make a statement tonight and we did.”
INJURIES AND OTHER NOTES
Futty Danso, who was celebrating his 30th birthday Saturday, left the field in the 71st minute after sustaining an apparent leg injury. Danso was inserted into the starting lineup three games ago due to injuries to Andrew Jean-Baptiste and David Horst.
Jean-Baptiste, who was dealing with an adductor strain, replaced Danso in the match.
The victory runs the Timbers unbeaten streak to six consecutive games, which is their longest since joining the MLS in 2011. Portland will look to extend that run to seven games when it takes on the New England Revolution on Thursday night at Jeld-Wen Field.
Portland is a fun team to watch this season. Caleb Porter has turned an eyesore into something entertaining and competitive.