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Timbers make a statement with impressive road win vs. Sporting KC

WillJohnson1 (PortlandTimbers)


For their three MLS seasons, the Portland Timbers have been searching for a statement road victory. And a statement win is exactly what the club delivered Saturday against Sporting Kansas City.

In one of the more entertaining games of the MLS season, Portland knocked off host Sporting Kansas City, 3-2, in front of a sellout crowd at Sporting Park.

Sporting Kansas City twice took the lead on goals from Chance Myers, but was unable to hold off the Timbers attack. Ryan Johnson, Darlington Nagbe, and Rodney Wallace found the back of the net for the Timbers, who got just their fourth road victory in 38 MLS away matches.

For all the talk in Timbers camp of being a new team in 2013, the club had yet to deliver a signature victory. While home wins against Houston and San Jose were nice, a victory in Kansas City signifies a massive change in the Timbers culture.

The Timbers almost left the midwest with a draw, but Donovan Ricketts got his right hand on a Aurelien Collin header during stoppage time to preserve the victory. Ricketts save capped a roller-coaster match that saw Sporting Kansas City go ahead 43 seconds into the match.

While the smoke from pre-game fireworks lingered on the field, Myers headed in a Matt Besler throw-in. It was Myers first career MLS goal and he doubled his career total 28 minutes later after a SKC free kick.

But Myers goals were not enough to stop a Timbers team that turned its high pressure into three goals. For the first time in 2013, Portland did not hold the edge in possession, but that will be an afterthought to gaining the three points.

Ryan Johnson delivered both a goal and an assist for the Timbers and was a major pain to the Kansas City backline. The Jamaican International was able to use his speed to beat Collin on multiple occasions including on the buildup to his assist on Nagbe’s goal.

After a four-goal first half, the winner came 13 minutes after the restart with Rodney Wallace finding the back-of-the net after a midfield SKC turnover. Wallace is enjoying the best stretch of his career and has been a key part in the Timbers current six-game unbeaten streak. The streak is the longest in the club’s MLS history.

Sporting Kansas City also took more shots than Timbers (18 to 12), but the club dropped its second straight match. It was also the first time this season that Sporting Kansas City has conceded at home.

Sporting Kansas City (4-3-2, 14 points) will look to bounce back next Sunday when Chivas USA visits Sporting Park. Meanwhile, the Timbers (3-1-4, 13 points) will return home to take on the New England Revolution in a Thursday night matchup at Jeld-Wen Field.

Here are the game highlights:


  1. Even though my team lost, it was a great game of soccer last night. Congrats to Portland, they played very well. SKC will only get to the championship when Vermes realizes how to change strategies when a team figures out how to beat the pressure play and high defensive line he favors.

  2. It seems that so far, at least, Caleb Porter has turned this Timbers team around. Maybe he is as good a coach as Klinsmann thinks. There was another coach who came from a top collegiate team then won a couple of MLS titles and then became national team coach–Bruce Arena. Could Porter follow in his footsteps?

  3. great game. how much heart does Portland take out of it going forward? probably quite a bit. Porter on the sidleine was more animated and outwardly emotional as I’ve seen. Dude was fired up last night and his team responded

    • Hopefully they take a lot of heart, because in addition to weak D, a lack of heart has been one of their biggest problems in the recent past (last season they had no heart most games)

  4. Is it time for Peter Vermes to bench Feilhaber, move Zusi back into the midfield where he played so well the last two seasons, and try out some of his forward depth for the Kei Kamara position that Zusi’s been occupying?

    Two losses in a row with the same starting 11 would seem to call for some tinkering.

  5. Just saw highlights, and not the game, but I have a question: Is Rodney Wallace that good, or is the defending for SKC on their right side that bad?

    • Rodney has been a different player since Porter came to town. Last season he always looked nervous on the ball and was prone to defensive errors. This season, playing out on the wing he’s had confidence and now scored two really good goals. It’s been a shocking turn around for a player most fans would have been happy to see cast aside in the off season.

      • Wallace has always been class for the Costa Rican National Team. He’s just been systematically played in poor positions for his skill set while with the Timbers from moment one it seems. I too was disappointed to not see him leave when Palmer went at the end of last season and I’m glad to see how wrong I was.

    • What makes SKC poor babies? They got flat out beat at their own game. No disrespect. Portland came to play.

      Very entertaining game.

      As an SKC fan, I’m rooting for Portland on the Westside all day.

  6. The “fourth road victory in 38 MLS away matches” line is really astonishing. I almost forgot how awful they were on the road for the last two years. What a massive win for the Timbers.

    • Minus the audio for the first 20 minutes; it sounded like Robbie and Strong were broadcasting from a helicopter over the pitch.


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