After 139 long days—and then an additional two more thanks to the record snowfall Portland endured—the Timbers were finally back in regular-season action as the 2023 MLS season kicked-off at a chilly and wet Providence Park. Western conference foes Sporting Kansas City were the guests of honor, playing for the first time in Portland for a season opener. A log blessing ceremony, raucous home crowd, and the ever-loved rain helped make Monday night a banger.
It wouldn’t take long for the green smoke to make its first presence. A Colombian connection between Yimmi Chara and Juan David Mosquera would provide the first crack of the season in the 6th minute. A carefully placed through ball from Yimmi found a waiting in onside position Mosquera, who with a quick turn slotted the ball past Kansas City goalkeeper John Pulskamp and into the bottom right corner.
The Timbers received an onslaught of attack from Sporting following the initial goal, however the Timbers Army goal remained intact, in part thanks to a point blank save from David Bingham in the 24th minute.
HIGHLIGHTS | Portland Timbers 1, Sporting Kansas City 0 | February 27, 2023
Some concerns were felt around the stadium when forward Yimmi Chara went down with an apparent non-contact injury in the 28th minute resulting in his substitution four minutes later. Santiago Moreno would come onto the field to see his first minutes of action in 2023 for his compatriot. No harm would be added to the scoreline for the remaining 10 minutes of action in the first half, and the Timbers returned to the locker room with the 1-0 advantage.
Second half began with both Portland and Kansas City looking to establish possession. It would be the Timbers to knock on the door of a second goal twice. Marvin Loría looked dangerous on a couple occasions. The clearest in the 72nd, finding himself in front of goal after a great Brazilian link-up play from Fogaça and Evander, however unable to convert after tapping it into the KC keeper.
The next opportunity to put the match away would not come until the first minute of added time. In a breakaway counter, Fogaça would dribble from midfield and into the 18-yard box but would have his low shot saved. With only four total minutes added at the end, Portland would hold on to their one-nil lead to secure all three points at home.
The Rose City partied tonight, but the boys in Green and Gold are only getting started. They prepare for their first road trip, against none other than the defending MLS Cup champs, LAFC. Catch them in pursuit of more points this Saturday, March 4th, kickoff set for 1:30pm PST.
The Record Book, Updated
With a win by the minimum of scorelines, the Portland Timbers have scored their 600th goal in MLS play (355 of them coming in the comfort of Providence Park), courtesy of Colombian defender Juan David Mosquera.
Mosquera netted his first regular season goal with Portland, and continues his fine form after having scored in preseason action.
Tonight’s win also makes head coach Giovanni Savarese the winningest coach in Timbers MLS history, notching 69 wins in his sixth season at the helm of the club. Nice.