KANSAS CITY, Kas. - The Portland Timbers earned a hardfought point on the road as they battled Sporting Kansas City to a 0-0 draw Saturday night in Sporting Park.
Portland's Adam Kwarasey and Sporting's Luis Marin were able to pick up clean sheets for their respective clubs.
The Timbers managed to stay unbeaten with their third draw in as many outings, while Sporting failed to score for the first time this year and saw their winless streak – dating back to October 2014 – reach seven matches across all competitions.
It didn't shape up like a scoreless draw in the early going, though, especially with speedy Colombian winger Jimmy Medranda making his first start of the year for Sporting while Krisztian Nemeth was out with a knee sprain sustained in training this week.
With Medranda active in ball-winning and pushing hard down the flanks, Sporting came out pressing hard and high. They were nearly rewarded for it in the ninth minute, only to see center back Ike Opara's powerful header off a corner kick sent inches wide of Kwarasey's left post.
Paulo Nagamura smashed a left-footed shot just wide in the 24th minute, as the hosts continued to create opportunities in and around the Portland 18. Nagamura had a second shot in the 39th minute saved and then cleared out of danger by Kwarasey.
That was the only shot on goal for the hosts in the first half, despite a 9-4 advantage on overall attempts before the break.
It was the same story in the second half as well, with promising possessions for Sporting coming to nothing – such as Graham Zusi's twisting, weaving run through the defense in the 61st minute, followed by a block of Bernardo Anor's shot from distance. In all, the Timbers blocked eight shots in the match.
Portland showed flashes of danger themselves, as when Fanendo Adi forced a save from Marin in the 62nd minute. Rodney Wallace had two shots and also smashed a point blank shot from near the top of the six in the 26th minute but was ruled offside.
Adi also knocked a ball into the back of the net following a Jack Jewsbury corner but the goal was waved off due to a hand ball ruling on the forward.
Both teams are away next Saturday as Sporting visit expansion side New York City FC and the Timbers meet their Cascadia Cup rivals in Vancouver.
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.
Portland Timbers (0-0-3, 3pts) at Sporting Kansas City (0-1-2, 2pts)
March 21, 2015 – Sporting Park (Kansas City, Kan.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 0 0 0
Sporting Kansas City 0 0 0
POR: Chara (Caution), 72
SKC: Feilhaber (Caution), 82
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Kwarasey, D Powell, D Borchers, D Ridgewell ©, D Villafaña, M Jewsbury, M Chara, M Asprilla (Fernández, 76), M Nagbe, M Wallace (Jeanderson, 90+2), F Adi (Urruti, 76)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Weber, D Paparatto, D Peay, M Fochive
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Borchers, Wallace, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Adi, Borchers, Wallace, 1); FOULS: 11 (Borchers, 3); OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 2
SKC: GK Marin, D Anibaba, D Opara, D Besler ©, D De Jong, M Nagamura, M Feilhaber (Carrasco, 84), M Espinoza (Mustivar, 90+3), F Zusi, F Dwyer, F Medranda (Añor, 56)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Melia, D Dia, D Sinovic, F Peterson
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Anibaba, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Espinoza, Nagamura, 1); FOULS: 13 (Espinoza, 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 3
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Assistant Referees: Daniel Belleau, Andrew Bigelow
4th Official: Fotis Bazakos
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 69 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial