Timbers Run Unbeaten String to Six, Remain Unbeaten on Road
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Forward Ryan Johnson recorded a goal and an assist and midfielder Rodney Wallace provided the game-winning goal as the Portland Timbers defeated Sporting Kansas City 3-2 on the road at Sporting Park on Saturday evening. The Timbers are unbeaten on the road this season and pushed their MLS club-record unbeaten string to six games overall.
Sporting KC defender Chance Myers scored twice in the first half, but Johnson also registered his goal and assist in the opening half to help the Timbers overcome deficits on two occasions as the Timbers and Sporting KC entered halftime locked at 2-2. Wallace tallied the decisive goal in the 58th minute - just the second second-half goal allowed by Sporting KC this season - and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made two crucial saves late as the Timbers earned their first comeback road win as an MLS side.
Portland (3-1-4, 14pts) also set its MLS club record for longest unbeaten streak on the road at five games, dating back to the 2012 season. The Timbers are the only club in MLS that is unbeaten away from home in 2013.
Johnson tallied his team-leading fourth goal of the season, midfielder Diego Chara recorded his third assist of the campaign, midfielder Darlington Nagbe notched his 10th career MLS goal, Wallace scored his second goal on the campaign and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made a season-high six saves for the Timbers. Portland moves into third place in the Western Conference with the win.
Meyers recorded the first two-goal performance of his MLS career, midfielder Benny Feilhaber logged his team-leading third assist, defenders Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler also recorded assists and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made four saves for Sporting KC (4-3-2, 14pts) in their first home loss of the season. The three goals conceded against the Timbers was the most allowed in a match this season by Sporting KC, who entered the weekend in first place in the Eastern Conference.
The scoring opened in the first minute of the match, as Myers got his head to a long throw-in by Besler from the right side. Myers nodded in his first goal of the season from the top of the six-yard box inside the right post just 43 seconds into the contest.
The Timbers pulled level in the 24th minute on their first goal scored off a corner kick this season. Midfielder Diego Valeri served in a ball from the right side into the penalty area. Johnson jumped in front of two Sporting KC players and headed a shot into the top left corner of the goal for his third goal in the last four games.
The corner kick that led to Johnson's goal was earned when Wallace's shot from just outside the top left corner of the box was batted wide by Nielsen.
Sporting KC regained the lead, 2-1, in the 29th minute. A Graham Zusi free kick started the play, and the ball was chipped into the box by Feilhaber. A short pass from Collin set up Myers for an open look from short range, and Myers slotted home his second of the night.
Pressure on Sporting KC at midfield caused a turnover, leading to the Timbers second goal of the first half. Valeri played a leading ball down the left channel for Johnson in a foot race with Collin. Johnson was the first to the ball and crossed the ball into the box for a wide open Nagbe. On his first touch, Nagbe delivered the game-tying goal from the top of the six-yard box.
The Timbers broke the deadlock in the 58th minute as a hard working effort from Chara led to Wallace's winning strike. Fighting off Sporting KC defenders, Chara worked the ball from the right touchline towards the center of the park before sending a perfectly weighted ball to Wallace running down the left side. Once inside the box, Wallace slotted a shot past an on-rushing Nielsen.
Ricketts made three saves in the second half, including two in second-half stoppage time on shots by Collin and substitute Mechack Jerome, highlighting another strong defensive performance by the Timbers in the second half. Portland, who held Sporting KC to just three shots on goal in the second half, has only allowed three second-half goals this season, the third-fewest in the league.
The Timbers return home to play host to the New England Revolution on Thursday, May 2, at JELD-WEN Field; kickoff is 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). The matchup against the Revolution will be televised on ROOT SPORTS, with radio broadcasts available on 750 The Game and in Spanish on La Pantera 940AM.
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