Desert Friendlies RECAP: Sporting KC earns 1-0 win against Timbers in preseason
TUCSON, Ariz. – A second-half goal by Jerome Mechack on a free kick lifted Sporting Kansas City to a 1-0 preseason victory over the Portland Timbers on Friday night at the Kino Sports Complex.
For a second straight preseason match, Timbers head coach Caleb Porter fielded separate lineups for each half and played 22 players against Sporting KC. Despite close scoring chances by Portland’s Sal Zizzo and Ryan Johnson in the first half, the Timbers (1-1-0 preseason) and Sporting KC entered halftime scoreless. Mechack scored in the 63rd minute and Sporting KC (1-0-2 preseason) was just able to hold off Portland’s second-half lineup to secure its first win of the preseason.
Following an extended break in play in the second half due to an injury to Soony Saad, Sporting KC was able to produce the game’s lone goal shortly after the hour mark. A foul by Timbers midfielder Kalif Alhassan set up a free kick for Sporting KC on the right side, 35 yards out from goal. Mechack struck a low ball through the penalty area that eventually got past Portland goalkeeper Milos Kocic and landed inside the left post.
After going down a goal, the Timbers created several scoring chances in the second half looking to find the equalizer. Forward Bright Dike had a pair of chances moments after Mechack’s goal. In the 69th minute, he forced Sporting KC goalkeeper Eric Kronberg, who played the second half, off his line and took a shot from a tight angle that deflected off the goalkeeper and toward an open net, but the ball was cleared off the goal line by defender Lawrence Olum.
Sporting KC endured a late surge by the Timbers in the final minutes, which included a looping header by defender Hanyer Mosquera just over the goal off a free kick in the 87th minute. The defender also had a shot from the left side of the box just miss the far side of the goal in second-half stoppage time.
Zizzo and Johnson had two of the Timbers’ better scoring chances in the first half. After a cut back on the right side of the box, Zizzo lifted a shot over the crossbar in the 25th minute. He then forced a turnover in the 31st minute and set up Johnson for a shot at the top of the box that was saved by first half Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
The Timbers face Seattle Sounders FC in their next preseason match on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at Kino Sports Complex. The match will be streamed live at www.portlandtimbers.com.
SKC: Mechack, 64
POR – First Half – GK Donovan Ricketts; D Ryan Miller, D Andrew Jean-Baptiste, D Mikael Silvestre*, D Michael Harrington, M Diego Chara, M Will Johnson, M Sal Zizzo, M Diego Valeri, M Darlington Nagbe, F Ryan Johnson
POR – Second Half – GK Milos Kocic, D Ryan Kawulok, D Futty Danso, D Hanyer Mosquera, D Chris Taylor, M Eric Alexander, M Kalif Alhassan, M Danny Mwanga, F Michael Nanchoff*, F Jose Valencia, F Bright Dike
SKC: GK Jimmy Nielsen (Eric Kronberg 46), D Seth Sinovic (Josh Gardner 60), D Ike Opara (Lawrence Olum 46), D Aurelien Collin (Yann Songo'o 60), D Chance Myers (Kevin Ellis 30), M Oriol Rosell (Michael Thomas 60), M Christian Duke (Peterson Joseph 46)(Brian Fekete 90), M Paulo Nagamura (Mikey Lopez 60), F Bobby Convey (Kyle Miller 60), F Claudio Bieler (Soony Saad 30)(Jerome Mechack 60), F C.J. Sapong (Mike Reidy** 60)
* Trialist/guest player
**Supplemental Draft pick
POR: Chara (Caution), 15
SKC: Opara (Caution), 37
SKC: Olum (Caution), 74
POR: Kawulok (Caution), 85
SKC: Joseph (Caution), 87
- Friday’s match marked the second preseason meeting all-time between the Timbers and Sporting KC. The two sides met previously in preseason on Feb. 26, 2011, in Casa Grande, Ariz., and played to a scoreless draw.
- The preseason loss to Sporting KC marked the Timbers first preseason loss as an MLS side. Portland entered the match with a 7-0-9 record through its first 16 preseason matches since joining the league in 2011.
- There was an extended delay of roughly 20 minutes in the second half due as a result of an injury sustained by Sporting KC midfielder Soony Saad around the 60th minute. Additionally, Sporting KC defender Chance Myers left the match in the 30th minute with an injury.
- Timbers defender Michael Harrington, in his first season with the club, was acquired from Sporting KC on Dec. 3, 2012. He played six seasons for Sporting KC from 2007-12.
- Timbers defender Hanyer Mosquera saw his first action of the preseason, playing the entire second half.
- Portland was held scoreless for just the fourth time in 17 preseason matches as an MLS club.