Sporting KC downs Timbers 3-0

Diego Rubio watched his shot slide past the Portland goalkeeper and inside the left post to take a 1-0 lead. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

Sporting Kansas City looks like they have regained their early-season form, posting a dominant 3-0 victory over the Portland Timbers at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday. Head coach Peter Vermes called it “a total game.” They have posted three consecutive shut-out victories after sliding to fifth place in the conference standings.

After the game, forward Diego Rubio, who scored two goals in the first half, talked about the confidence that the team had coming into the game after consecutive road victories.

“After a few games that we didn’t win, we had two wins in a row, obviously away, so it’s very important for the confidence. I think it’s very important for us to think that — to know that — we are a very good team, that we have a possession team, that we can possess the ball in every field in MLS.”

Sporting controlled the ball for 63 percent of the game, and they used possession to push for shot opportunities, racking up a 25-to-7 shot advantage over the Timbers. As Vermes put it, “We were patient but aggressive to go forward at the right times, and when we did I thought we were very definitive in our decisions.”

Rubio scored the first goal in the 28th minute, when he found an opening about 20 yards out and got a short delivery from Roger Espinoza that he placed just inside the left post.

Rubio followed with a goal in the 37th minute when Daniel Salloi received a long pass down the left side from Matt Besler. Salloi timed the ball nicely, crossing it in just as Rubio arrived at the penalty spot to drive it past Portland goalkeeper Jeff Attinelli.

Johnny Russell scored the game’s final goal as the clock ticked down in regulation. In the 89th minute, recently signed forward Kristian Nemeth crossed the ball in from the right side and found Russell about 8 yards out on the right side.

The win briefly moved Sporting KC into a first place tie in the MLS Western Conference. FC Dallas regained the top spot with a late win against Minnesota United, who will visit Children’s Mercy Park on Aug. 25.

Forward Johnny Russell beat Portland goalkeeper Jeff Attinelli in the 89th minute. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Sporting KC had some fun with the traditional “Starting 11” picture. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Diego Rubio got a hug from his daughter after the game. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
In between his two goals, Diego Rubio had another shot turned away by Portland’s goalkeeper. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Daniel Salloi spotted Diego Rubio making a run into the penalty area and set him up for his second goal. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Rubio and forward Gerso Fernandes celebrated after Rubio’s second goal. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Portland defender Bill Tuiloma challenged Gerso Fernandes on an attacking run. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Kristian Nemeth, recently signed again with Sporting KC from the New England Revolution, had two shots in the second half. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Yohan Croizet was just off target with a shot in the 87th minute. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
Kristian Nemeth signed an autograph for Victory Project participant Will after the game. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
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