Sporting KC lack spark in 1-1 draw with Timbers

Sporting KC

KANSAS CITY – Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Sporting Kansas City went down at home in the first half and ended up getting a result in the second half. Well, it happened again, as they played to a fair 1-1 draw with Portland on what is likely the last of these hot summer evenings in Kansas City.

Sporting KC lack spark in 1-1 draw with Timbers

The first 10 minutes of the match were all Sporting KC possession-wise. Portland did a good job of keeping the home team from anything penetrating down the wings or through the middle, a trend that carried the whole 90 minutes plus stoppage. Sporting ended the match with 69% possession, yet was only able to muster 13 shots on target and an xG for the match of a 1.8.

Felipe Mora got the party started in the 17th minute, entirely against the run of play. A good from Marvin Loria, and Mora beat Luis Martins to the ball in the air, after the cross just barely cleared the head of Andreu Fontás. Marvin Loria shortly added a fantastic finish from distance but he was correctly ruled offside to keep it 1-0.

Sporting KC closed out the first half without more than a whimper. They had four shots in the first half and just one on target. In the second half, it was a different story.

“In the first half, I think we were sluggish,” Vermes said. “I thought we were slow. We weren’t sharp. In the second half, we brought a lot more. The one thing you have to admit is it’s always difficult when a team has to break another team down all game long in a low block.”

Sporting looked quicker, more lively, but in the end, they didn’t have much left in the tank to “dig deep.” They sent in a total of 33 crosses to combat the low block that Portland rolled out, and even took off a midfielder for Khiry Shelton and went with a two-striker formation. Daniel Salloi eventually found acres of space, a minute into second-half stoppage time and was able to quickly release a shot to the bottom corner that beat Steve Clark to his near post for his 12th goal this season. Sporting nearly added the winner with the final seconds of stoppage time, but Andreu Fontás’ header was scooped just wide of the net.

“Sometimes you have to adapt and adjust from maybe not playing well or not being sharp on that day or being a little bit fatigued. Probably it was some of that. I would say that they probably had some of that as well. Our sharpness wasn’t there in the first half. The second half was better.”

Sporting KC relinquished it’s lead in the Western Conference to the Seattle Sounders, and sits three points ahead of third-place LA Galaxy headed into the weekend. They will travel to Minnesota on Saturday, taking on the struggling loons in a matinee matchup.

The Portland Timbers will travel to Austin to take on the struggling Austin FC side in the battle of the forest green clubs in MLS. At the moment they sit in 6th place in the west on a tiebreaker with Real Salt Lake.

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