For the fourth time in five seasons, Kansas City bowed out of the US Open Cup at home, falling 3-1 to the Portland Timbers at Sporting Park. The Timbers jumped out to a 3-0 lead before a Soony Saad PK pulled Kansas City closer to make the final few minutes a little more interesting, but it ended up not being enough in the first of two matches this week.
KC came out early and was looking decent, keeping the Timbers pinned back in their own end. They almost grabbed the lead early on as Sal Zizzo flicked on a corner kick to the near post towards goal, but it was tipped over by Portland goalkeeper, Andrew Weber. Toni Dovale looked dangerous at the attacking midfield position almost springing KC twice with nice through balls through the middle that ended up getting cut out. Dom Dwyer forced another save from Weber off a free kick that the Timbers goalkeeper had to push away. Dovale and Dwyer almost combined to set up another goal off a quick restart, but Dwyer's cross into the box was cut out. KC continued to keep numbers forward, but then almost got got on the break as Kalif Alhassan countered after a KC set piece and ended up being fouled by Saad just outside the box setting up a dangerous set piece opportunity. It came to nothing, but from that point forward for the next five minutes or so, Portland kept KC pinned in their own end. A mistake by Erik Palmer-Brown almost gifted Portland a goal but the shot by Maximiliano Urriti went just wide of Andy Gruenebaum's post. Shortly after that though, in the 30th minute, Portland grabbed the lead. Alhassan created the chance getting space on KC's left before sending a cross into the box. The cross was cleared only as far as Gaston Fernandez, who slotted the ball into the corner to make it 1-0 Portland. Saad did a great job trying to create something out of nothing, collecting a long cross and beating a couple defenders into the box, but had his effort blocked by Weber. The rebound fell to Dovale who had his shot blocked by Dwyer. KC was unable to get much going the rest of the half to really test Weber in Portland's net and the two teams went into half time with the Timbers up the one goal.
Portland came out again in the second half and pressured KC in their own end. In the 57th minute the Timbers won a penalty kick as Aurelien Collin fouled Steve Zakuani just inside the box. Referee Ricardo Salazar pointed to the spot and Will Johnson put the PK away, as Gruenebaum guessed right but couldn't get his hands on it. The Timbers started to sit back a little bit, let KC come forward and try to hit on the counter. Portland did lead their own attacks though as well and in the 68th made it 3-0. Urriti collected a ball outside the box, cut inside and outside Collin, getting into the box and firing a shot that Gruenebaum saved but didn't hold. Fernandez was there at the back post to walk the ball home and put the game away. Five minutes later KC did get a bit of a life line though. Saad received a long ball and got into the box. He tried to cross the ball into the middle, but it was knocked away by Danny O'Rourke's hand. Salazar pointed to the spot and Saad stepped up, sent Weber the wrong way and made it 3-1. From there KC continued to pressure the Timbers and created a number of opportunities that with better finishing would have seen KC pull another goal back. CJ Sapong had a shot off a corner kick saved off the line, Paulo Nagamura had opportunities before being subbed out, Saad forced another save out of Weber with a curling effort. In stoppage time, Dovale even hit the cross bar on a free kick. Right after though Salazar blew the whistle and KC's Open Cup run came to an end after two rounds in the tournament.
Wizards Man of the Match - Soony Saad - Was the most impressive player on the night, he's improved his defensive abilities on the wing, which is a major thing that Vermes wants in his system. He was also the most consistently dangerous player offensively for KC.
Player Ratings - Gruenebaum 4, Sinovic 3, Palmer-Brown 4, Collin 4, Ellis 4, Olum 3, Nagamura 4, Dovale 5, Saad 6, Dwyer 4, Zizzo 3. Subs Peterson 5, Sapong 5, Martinez NR.