Resting a number of players who started in the US Open Cup final on Wednesday, Sporting KC was able to grab all three points on the road in Portland against the Timbers. With Peter Vermes making seven changes to the team that started against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday the expectation had to be that KC would sit back and attempt to deal with Portland's pressure and try to counter.
That's how the game started to play out with Portland keeping KC pinned back a lot holding the possession. Similar to last week against Seattle KC's front line of Jacob Peterson, Bernardo Anor, and Connor Hallisey really struggled to create chances when KC was able to get forward. This meant that Matt Besler, Kevin Ellis, and Tim Melia needed to step up for KC. And the trio did, all having a solid performance in back for KC. Melia picked up right where he left off on his last trip to Portland when he made seven saves. In the 27th after a good give and go Melia had to beat away a shot from Diego Valeri to keep Portland off the board. He was again called into action on Darlington Nagbe in the 37th after some good hold up play by Fanendo Adi. KC was able to hold off the pressure from the Timbers and the two teams had their fifth straight scoreless half this season.
KC made one change at half time bringing in Graham Zusi for Connor Hallisey who had a rough first half with his touch and control. Zusi's insertion gave KC a little bit more going forward, and KC started to look dangerous. In the 54th Zusi almost set up Anor. After some work down the right the ball got played in to Zusi who chipped a cross into the middle of the box but Anor got under the ball too much and headed it over the goal. While Zusi helped the offense, Portland still had the majority of the chances. In the 65th Nagbe almost create another chance. After picking off a pass in KC's half Nagbe dribbled at the KC defense before sliding a ball through to Lucas Melano. Melia though came up with a nice save to keep the game scoreless. Nagbe again was involved as the Timbers countered after a KC free kick was grabbed by Portland goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey. Kwarasey quickly got the ball forward and then got it to Nagbe. He dribbled at the KC defense before firing a shot just outside the box. Melia though was again in position, knocking the ball away. KC though came right back and Mikey Lopez forced a good save out of Kwarasey. Continuing to work through Zusi down their right a cross by the US national team player was knocked to Lopez at the top of the box. Lopez settled the ball on his chest turned and volleyed his shot on goal but Kwarasey knocked the ball over the goal. Finally in the 83rd minute, just went it looked like we'd get a third straight 0-0 draw between the two teams, Krisztian Nemeth pulled out a moment of magic. Receiving the ball in KC's half Nemeth dribbled forward, cut around Diego Chara and continued up the field. Chara recovered but Nemeth cut inside causing Chara to by pass him and fall over. That cut also caused Nat Borchers to slip and that slip allowed Nemeth to cut back outside leaving Borchers behind him. Nemeth got into the box and fired a shot that went through Liam Ridgewell's legs, past Kwarasey and into the net to give KC a 1-0 lead. KC was able to hold out the rest of the way and pick of a valuable three points and also move them up in the table to third place in the Western Conference.
Wizards Man of the Match - Tim Melia - It wasn't his seven save performance the last time that KC made the trip to Portland. But once again Melia kept Kansas City in the game. He made the big saves that KC needed him to make.
Honorable mention: Matt Besler, Krisztian Nemeth
Player Ratings - Melia 8, Dia 7, Besler 8, Ellis 7, Abdul-Salaam 7, Feilhaber 6, Lopez 6, Quintila 6, Anor 5, Peterson 5, Hallisey 5. Subs Zusi 6, Nemeth 7, Palmer-Brown 6.