PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers lost 1-0 to visiting Sporting Kansas City in front of a sold-out crowd at Providence Park on Saturday night.
Krisztián Németh hit an 83rd-minute game-winning goal for a 1-0 win in league play Saturday night against the Portland Timbers. And Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia turned away a number of stellar Timbers chances and recorded six saves on the night.
The three points moved Sporting tentatively into third place with 48 points from 31 matches while he Timbers saw the San Jose Earthquakes, who at the same time Saturday night recorded a 1-1 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps, draw even with them on points for the sixth and final postseason berth in the West, both teams with 44 points but Portland holding a game in hand.
After some early runs from Portland, the Timbers turned up the heat to close out the first half. The Timbers’ first dangerous chance came in the 27th minute when Diego Valeri took a throw in at the top of the box, found a seam and fired off a right-footed blast that Melia turned away with a diving save.
Darlington Nagbe had the Timbers’ next chance, taking a lay-off from Fanendo Adi and slicing a side-footed attempt toward the far, right post that Melia again stymied with a diving effort.
And then in the 44th minute, Valeri picked up a blocked Nagbe shot in the middle of the box and fired another missile that Melia parried out.
Sporting still didn’t see much of the ball in the second half despite the introduction of winger Graham Zusi after the break. But Zusi did have an immediate affect, chipping across the face of the goal for Bernardo Anor in the 54th minute, whose header attempt looped over the bar.
Portland kept up the pressure. In the 65th minute, second-half substitute Lucas Melano was played in by Nagbe, but his point-blank shot was kick saved away from danger by Melia.
Portland cried foul in the 66th minute when Adi crossed to an onrushing Melano, who was taken down in the box as he ran onto the ball, but head referee Ismail Elfath didn’t blow his whistle.
Melia’s counterpart Adam Kwarasey was finally called into action by Sporting when a failed Portland clearance attempt fell to Mikey Lopez at the top of the box. The winger hit a stinging right-footer that the Timbers’ ‘keeper punched over the bar with a leaping effort.
Németh's goal saw the second-half substitute dribble the ball upfield before skirting around two defenders at the right corner of the box and firing past Kwarasey and inside the far post.
In all, Portland fired off 17 shots – six on goal – but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Portland don’t return to action until Oct. 14, on the road against Real Salt Lake. Sporting next play Oct. 16 at San Jose.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.
Portland Timbers (12-11-8, 44pts) vs. Sporting KC (13-9-9, 48pts)
Oct. 3, 2015 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Sporting Kansas City 0 1 0
Portland Timbers 0 0 0
SKC: Nemeth, 83
POR: Adi (Caution), 70
SKC: Feilhaber (Caution), 74
POR: Valeri (Caution), 80
SKC: Melia (Caution), 88
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Kwarasey, D Powell, D Borchers, D Ridgewell ©, D Villafaña (Urruti, 84), M Chara, M Jewsbury (Asprilla, 80), M Nagbe, M Valeri, M Wallace (Melano, 62), F Adi
Substitutes Not Used: GK Gleeson, D Paparatto, D Peay, M Fochive
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Valeri, Nagbe, Melano, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Nagbe, 3); FOULS: 15 (Chara, 3); OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 3
SKC: GK Melia, D Abdul-Salaam, D Ellis (Palmer-Brown, 80), D Besler ©, D Dia, M Feilhaber, M Lopez, M Quintilla, M Hallisey (Zusi, 46), M Añor, F Peterson (Nemeth, 73)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Kempin, D Anibaba, M Okugo, F Dwyer
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Añor, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Four players tied, 1); FOULS: 14 (Lopez, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 6
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Eric Boria, Adam Garner
4th Official: Baboucarr Jallow
Time of Game: n/a
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 64 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial