Sporting Kansas City saved itself from what could have been its first home loss this season with a second half strike from an unlikely hero in the form of 20-year-old striker Daniel Salloi.
Salloi, the second option off the bench behind Diego Rubio, entered the match for injured Gerso Fernandes in the 35th minute and scored an important equalizer in the 60th minute. Goalkeeper Tim Melia also saved a penalty in the second half as Sporting KC claimed a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers at Children’s Mercy Park.
With the point, Sporting KC rises a little higher at the top of the Western Conference. The Timbers remain in third place, five points behind the leaders.
Diego Valeri took the initiative in the first half for the Timbers with a belting strike from about 25 yards off the crossbar to make it 1-0. The Timbers controlled most of the first half, then let the match slip in the second half.
Salloi’s deft touch and finish provided the equalizer for Sporting, but then the Timbers squandered two golden chances to take a road victory. It would have ended a 17-match home unbeaten streak for Sporting.
The first of those opportunities came as Melia appeared to drag Fanendo Adi’s foot as he broke free in front of an open goal. It wasn’t clear whether Melia actually committed the foul, but the penalty was given. However, Diego Valeri went for a chip into the top corner and had his spot kick easily saved by Melia.
Seconds later, Ben Zemanski cycled the ball back in and found a wide open Lawrence Olum diving for the header. Olum skied the header well over the crossbar.
Midfielders Benny Feilhaber and Darlington Nagbe were both listed questionable on the injury report prior to the game but started. Feilhaber went 80 minutes and Nagbe the full 90. Sporting KC operated shorthanded on the day, with Graham Zusi, Matt Besler and Dom Dwyer away with the USMNT on international duty.
The Timbers return home to face Eastern Conference contenders Chicago Fire at Providence Park on Wednesday. Sporting KC will stay home to face the Philadelphia Union on Thursday.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Sporting KC created few chances in the match, with the exception being Daniel Salloi‘s first MLS goal for the club.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Portland found yet another chance to grab the away win when they won a penalty in the second half. Tim Melia, however saved Valeri’s spot kick with ease.
MATCH TO FORGET
Former Sporting KC midfielder Lawrence Olum could have scored the winner against his former club, but somehow sent a point blank header well above the goal.