Major League Soccer Play-Off - Providence Park
10/29/2015 7:00pm: Cloudy, 14C/55F
MLS end records: Portland Timbers (W15-D8-L11-53pts) vs. Sporting Kansas City (W14-D9-L11-51pts)
Portland Timbers – GLK Adam Larsen Kwarasey, DEF Alves Powell, DEF Liam Ridgewell, DEF Nat Borchers, DEF Jorge Villafana, MID Jack Jewsbury, MID Diego Valeri, MID Darlington Nagbe, FOR Lucas Melano, FOR Rodney Wallace, FWD Fanendo Adi. Formation: 4-3-3.
Sporting Kansas City: GLK, Tim Melia DEF Amadou Dia, DEF Matt Besler, DEF Kevin Ellis, DEF Saad Abdul-Salaam, MID Benny Feilhaber, MID Paulo Nagamura, MID Soni Mustivar, FWD Dominic Dwyer, FWD Graham Zusi, FWD Krisztian Nemeth. Formation: 4-3-3
Providence Park and the in-form Portland Timbers (3 seed) played host to, the always difficult to beat, Sporting Kansas City on a showery evening in the Rose City. Portland ended the regular season in style with 3 victories in a row against Real Salt Lake (1-0), and LA Galaxy (5-2) both away and then a stylish victory at home against the Colorado Rapids (4-1) to leap up the table to finish in 3rd place in the Western Conference. Sporting Kansas City beat the LA Galaxy 2-1 at home to book their spot in 6th place after 2 defeats to the Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes that threatened to derail their play-off hopes.
Portland Coach Caleb Porter had Argentine Diego Valeri back from suspension and a full strength squad to pick from with the recent return to the bench of Will Johnson as well. Sporting Kansas City have been very strong in attack this season and were unbeaten and unscored against by the Timbers this season going into the game with three players having score 10 or more goals in the regular season (Dominic Dwyer (12), Krisztian Nemeth (10), Benny Feilhaber (10)). The teams had met twice in the past 2 months at Providence Park with a scoreless draw and an away win for KC 1 to 0 after a Nemeth goal after 83 minutes. Many were predicting a close and low scoring encounter but the 1 game deciding play offs are very different to the regular season and the loser goes out. The fans packed Providence Park out once again and it was going to be a great night for one of these teams.
1 min: An early long ball up field from Nat Borchers and it was nodded down by Fanendo Adi to Diego Valeri who slipped the ball wide through for Rodney Wallace who cut inside and hit a low shot but Tim Melia was able to get down to it and force a corner kick in an attack straight from the kick off.
5 min: Early pressure from the home side and Liam Ridgewell firmly met a corner with his head but it was cleared off the line by the Sporting KC defense. Portland were really looking up for this and searching for an early goal.
14 mins: More opportunities for the home side as Diego Valeri spins on the half way line and puts Lucas Melano into a great position on the right hand side but he decided against the pass to Adi and his shot was blocked. One of these chances needed to go in while the Timbers were on top.
21 mins: Nagbe picked up a loose ball and surged at the Sporting defense but Adi drifted offside in waiting for the pass and the chance was gone. Portland were still on top and the more likely to score but Caleb Porter would have liked to have seen a goal from a dominant opening 20 minutes.
31 mins: 3 minutes after Sporting KC managed their first shot on target that was collected easily by Kwarasey it was time for another corner for the Portland Timbers and Valeri whipped in an out swinger that was met well by Nat Borchers but his header at pace went wide of the goal.
36 mins: 2 more chances in 2 minutes for the home side as first of all, Alves Powell makes an excellent 30 yard dribble on the ball and laid it off for Adi but Melia manage to get a touch on it as the striker was trying to go around him and then a deep cross from Melano found the head of Wallace but he couldn’t get the free header on target from 8 yards. Everything but a goal so far in the first half for the Portland Timbers who continued to dominate.
45 mins: Darlington Nagbe went on one of his runs at the heart of the Sporting defense and won a free kick from 25 yards out. Nagbe picked up the ball before Diego Valeri could get to it and took the set piece but it was rather weak and deflected wide of the post. Shortly afterwards the half time whistle blew and although Portland had much the better of the chances in the first half, they could not find the net.
Half Time Score: Portland Timbers 0-0 Sporting Kansas City
Shots: Portland Timbers 8 (2) – 2 (1) Sporting Kansas City
Possession: Portland Timbers 50%-50% Sporting Kansas City
48 mins: It was the first time that Sporting KC had found a way past Alves Powell at the by line and a low cross after good work from Nemeth was met by Dominic Dwyer but his shot from 10 yards shaved the upper part of the near post. Sporting KC seemed to feel that it was time to try to attack the home side and had the better opening to the 2nd half.
GOAL! 57 mins: From a corner kick and clearance the ball was looping around the edge of the penalty area and Nat Borchers was able to nod the ball down. Rodney Wallace touched it on and Valeri then touched it back to Wallace who poked the ball into the far corner from around 15 yards. Portland Timbers 1-0 Sporting Kansas City.
68 mins: Excellent hold up play from Fanendo Adi followed by a nice touch from Valeri and then Rodney Wallace and Adi exchanged passes which almost put Wallace through but Melia came out to grab the ball and a graze on the left cheek for his troubles. Rodney Wallace was booked perhaps a little unfairly for supposedly scraping the goalkeepers face with his boot as he ran by him.
76 mins: A flash point in the match as Lucas Melano is brought to the ground and Nemeth kicks the ball at him while he is down, the teams then squared up a little to each other and Amadou Dia threw the ball at Melano while he was down too. Both Sporting players received a yellow card and with Nemeth perhaps lucky not to get booked in the first half for a cynical challenge, one could argue that he was lucky to still be on the pitch.
GOAL! 87 mins: Just when it looked like the game was dead and buried, a poorly cleared corner by Sporting KC went back out wide to Graham Suzi and he whipped in a cross that Kevin Ellis got in front of Liam Ridgewell for to head the away side level past Kwarasey to level the score. 7 minutes of added time was thrown in at the end due to an injury to KC keeper Melia and it was Sporting KC that smelled blood as the Timbers looked tired and lost the ball on many occasions. Portland Timbers 1-1 Sporting Kansas City.
Full Time Score: Portland Timbers 1-1 Sporting Kansas City
Shots: Portland Timbers 12 (4)–5 (2) Sporting Kansas City
Possession: Portland Timbers 47% – 53% Sporting Kansas City
GOAL! 96 mins: Nemeth managed to spin around a tired looking Alves Powell on the left wing by the by line and from an acute angle at the left edge of the penalty area he curled a beauty into the top corner past Kwarasey who was rooted to the spot. Portland had started brightly in extra time and the smash and grab was well and truly on once again for Sporting KC. Portland Timbers 1-2 Sporting Kansas City.
104 mins: Another corner kick from the Portland Timbers and Diego Valeri sent in an inswinger that was met by the head of Jack Jewsbury but his flying header clears the crossbar by a matter of a couple of inches as the home side push to get back into the game that was in their control for so long.
GOAL! 118 mins: The Portland substitutes combine to raise the roof off Providence Park as Asprilla fired in a low cross and Urruti fired it home from 7 yards. Portland Timbers 2-2 Sporting Kansas City.
Full Time Score: Portland Timbers 2-2 Sporting Kansas City
Shots: Portland Timbers 15 (5)–9 (3) Sporting Kansas City
Possession: Portland Timbers 49% – 51% Sporting Kansas City
MOTM: Adam Kwarasey (Portland Timbers)
Portland: Valeri – Saved 0-0
Sporting: Feilhaber – Scored 0-1
Portland: Borchers – Scored 1-1
Sporting: Dwyer – Saved 1-1
Portland: Ridgewell – Scored 2-1
Sporting: Zusi – Scored 2-2
Portland: Jewsbury – Missed 2-2
Sporting: Besler – Missed 2-2
Portland: Urruti – Scored 3-2
Sporting: Nagamura – Scored 3-3
Portland: Villafana – Missed 3-3
Sporting: Ellis – Missed 3-3
Portland: Asprilla – Scored 4-3
Sporting: Mustivar – Scored 4-4
Portland: Nagbe – Scored 5-4
Sporting: Peterson – Scored 5-5
Portland: Powell – Saved 5-5
Sporting: Abdul-Salaam Missed 5-5
Portland: Fochive – Scored 6-5
Sporting: Dia – Scored 6-6
Portland: Kwarasey – Scored 7-6
Sporting: Kemplin – Saved 7-6
Match Result: Portland Timbers 2 (7) – 2 (6) Sporting Kansas City AET/Penalties
One the most exciting finales to a match in MLS history with drama being the operative word for this game. Portland were mostly in control of the game and had the better of the chances and must have felt that they had won the game when Coach Porter brought on George Fochive for Lucas Melano with only 5 minutes remaining but Sporting KC struck to take the game into extra time and then once again in extra time. The away side were just 2 minutes from the ultimate smash and grab when substitutes Asprilla and Urruti combined to take the game to penalties and what a shoot-out that was.
The stadium went from nervousness to elation with every penalty that was missed or scored and Sporting KC had 2 opportunities to win the game with a penalty but couldn’t put the winning one away. Credit to Portland who hung in there and in the end it was Adam Kwarasey that was the hero of the hour as he score his penalty and saved that of Sporting KC keeper Jon Kempin.
Portland march on through to the Western Conference semi-final where they will face the Vancouver Whitecaps. They have 3 days to gather back some energy but do get to play at home once again. What an incredible night here at Providence Park.