CASA GRANDE, Ariz. — The Portland Timbers today played to a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City, bringing to a close a successful 10-day preseason camp at Grande Sports World.
The Timbers (1-0-4) remain undefeated in preseason play, earning a victory and two draws during their stay in Casa Grande.
“We came here from Portland, and we leave here a more confident and strong group, physically and mentally,” head coach John Spencer said. “It was a good camp.”
On Saturday, Portland faced a 4-3-3 formation from Sporting Kansas City and saw limited first-half opportunities before a series of adjustments opened up more opportunities in the second half.
“[Sporting Kansas City] came out very powerful with a lot of pace – very aggressive – and I don’t think we were ready for that in the first half,” Spencer said. “We made a couple adjustments in the second half, and I felt we started to match them on the physical side of the game.
“I think a draw was a fair result, and I think we were unlucky to not hit the net a couple of times.”
Timbers trialist Brian Umony gained control of the ball and fought through into the attacking third at the 60-minute mark, but his low shot rolled through the box just past the left post as goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen challenged. In the 84th minute, Jorge Perlaza turned his defender and fired a shot just wide left of the goal from 10 yards out.
Sporting Kansas City had a solid opportunity in the 35th minute as a lofted corner kick made its way to the back post, but Portland defender Eric Brunner was in perfect position to head away a shot destined for the open net.
Portland has now posted three straight shutouts in preseason play and has not allowed a goal since the 47th minute against the LA Galaxy in its second preseason game on Feb. 8.
The Timbers depart Saturday evening for Portland, where they will resume training Monday in anticipation of a pair of preseason matches next weekend against Seattle Sounders FC (Friday) and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Saturday) in Tukwila, Wash.
POR: GK Perkins, D Purdy (Zizzo, 46), D Brunner, D Danso, D Wallace, M Hall, M Lowry (Moffat, 46), M Marcelin (McManus, 69), M Nagbe, F Cooper (Johnson, 69), F Umony (Perlaza, 69)
SKC: GK Nielsen, D Espinoza, D Besler, D Thomas, D Sassano (Harrington, 63), M Rocastle, M Stojcev (Zusi, 75), M Arnaud (Jewsbury, 63), F Bravo, F Diop (Sapong, 81), F Kamara
- Sporting Kansas City’s Roger Espinoza (11’) and Omar Bravo (88’) drew yellow cards for late tackles.
- Portland has allowed just two goals in its five preseason scrimmages.
- The Timbers did not allow an opponent to score in any of the three matches played in Casa Grande.
- Portland has three draws against its three MLS opponents thus far in preseason.
Timbers Preseason Results:
Friday, Feb. 4– Timbers draw Ventura County Fusion 1-1 at Ventura College in Ventura, Calif. (Nagbe)
Tuesday, Feb. 8 – Timbers draw LA Galaxy 1-1 at The Home Depot Center (track & field stadium) in Carson, Calif. (Umony)
Saturday, Feb. 19 – Timbers draw Houston Dynamo 0-0 at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Ariz.
Saturday, Feb. 19 – Timbers vs. U.S. U-18 National Team cancelled (weather)
Wednesday, Feb. 23 – Timbers defeat Montreal 1-0 at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Ariz. (Johnson)
Saturday, Feb. 26 – Timbers draw Sporting Kansas City 0-0 at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Ariz.