TUCSON, Ariz. – The Portland Timbers opened their 2014 preseason schedule on Saturday night with a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz. Forward Schillo Tshuma recorded the game-tying goal late in the second half for the Timbers.
In the first of four matches during a two-week stay in southern Arizona, Timbers head coach Caleb Porter utilized separate lineups in each half of the match, allowing 22 different players to see action in the team’s preseason opener against defending MLS Cup champions Sporting KC (1-0-1 preseason). Timbers goalkeeper Andrew Weber, defenders Norberto Paparatto and Jorge Villafaña and forward Gastón Fernández each saw their first game action with the club.
Tshuma provided the equalizer for Portland (0-0-1 preseason) in the 84th minute after settling a pass from midfielder Aaron Long and delivering a lofted shot over Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. Using high pressure, the Timbers forced a hurried pass from Sporting Kansas City in its own defensive third that was intercepted by Long, leading to the scoring chance.
Sporting Kansas City took the lead against the run of play in the first half when forward Claudio Bieler drew a foul on the right flank. Bieler delivered the ensuing free kick near the top of the penalty box and forward Sal Zizzo nodded a glancing header inside the far left post for a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute.
Sporting KC played the final 57 minutes with 10 men following a second yellow card issued to defender Aurelien Collin in the 33rd minute. The physical match saw each team issued three cautions.
Portland saw several chances in the first half even before Collin’s ejection. Fernández guided a header over the frame in the 12th minute during the run of play, Paparatto sent another header wide of the target off a free kick in the 21st minute and midfielder Will Johnson put a free kick high in the 29th minute after forward Maximiliano Urruti drew a foul near the top of the box.
The Timbers maintained the bulk of the possession during the second half while searching for the equalizer. Forward Frederic Piquionne just missed connecting on a Tshuma cross in front of the goal box in the 54th minute. Piquionne nearly scored again in the 67th minute, collecting a pass from midfielder Michael Nanchoff inside the box only to see his right-footed effort caught by Gruenebaum.
Following Tshuma’s equalizer, midfielder Nikita Kotlov had an opportunity at a late winner in the first minute of second-half stoppage time denied by a Gruenebaum kick save.
The Timbers play the Houston Dynamo in their next preseason match Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Kino Sports Complex at 4 p.m. (Pacific). The match will be streamed live at www.timbers.com.
Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City (MLS Preseason)
Feb. 1, 2014 – Kino Sports Complex (Tucson, Ariz.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Sporting Kansas City 1 0 1
Portland Timbers 0 1 1
SKC: Zizzo (Bieler), 31
POR: Tshuma (Long), 84
SKC: Collin (Caution), 13
SKC: Schmetz (Caution), 23
SKC: Collin (Ejection, second yellow), 33
POR: Fernández (Caution), 36
POR: Danso (Caution), 75
POR: Nanchoff (Caution), 88
POR: GK Andrew Weber; D Jack Jewsbury, D Pa Modou Kah, D Norberto Paparatto, D Jorge Villafaña; M Ben Zemanski, M Gastón Fernández, M Will Johnson; F Kalif Alhassan, F Maximiliano Urruti, F Darlington Nagbe
SKC: GK Eric Kronberg; D Chance Myers, D Peter Schmetz^, D Aurelien Collin, D Seth Sinovic; M Christian Duke, M Paulo Nagamura, M Claudio Bieler; F Sal Zizzo, F Dom Dwyer (Lawrence Olum, 36), F C.J. Sapong
POR: GK Jake Gleeson; D Alvas Powell, D Futty Danso, D Rauwshan McKenzie, D Taylor Peay^; M George Fochive^, M Michael Nanchoff, M Aaron Long^; F Schillo Tshuma, F Frederic Piquionne, F Nikita Kotlov^
SKC: GK Andy Gruenebaum; D Josh Gardner, D Lawrence Olum, D Mechack Jerome, D Kevin Ellis; M Pablo Punyed* (Alex Martinez^, 76), M Trialist 1* (Dante Marini*, 70); F Soony Saad, F Teal Bunbury (Adnan Gabeljic^, 81), F Jacob Peterson
* Trialist/guest player; ^ 2014 MLS SuperDraft pick
- Utilizing different lineups for each half, Timbers head coach Caleb Porter had 22 players see the field Saturday against Sporting Kansas City.
- Several players saw their first action with the Timbers on Saturday, including 2014 MLS SuperDraft picks Tshuma, Long, George Fochive, Taylor Peay and Nikita Kotlov.
- Portland opened its preseason slate on Saturday, while Sporting Kansas City had previously participated in a closed scrimmage against PDL club FC Tucson on Jan. 28. Saturday was the second time Portland and Sporting KC have met in preseason play.
- Defender Michael Harrington finished camp with the U.S. Men’s National Team on Saturday as the team played a friendly against Korea Republic in Carson, Calif.