Sporting Kansas City 2, Timbers 1

C.J. Sapong and Aurelien Collin scored first-half goals and

Sporting Kansas City extended its unbeaten streak to eight MLS

games Saturday night in a 2-1 win over Portland.

It was a predictable result of two teams heading in opposite

directions. Kansas City hasn’t lost a in eight MLS games and two

U.S. Open Cup ones since May 21, while the Timbers are winless in

their past six.

”We knew were going to have to come out aggressive. We had to

match their competitiveness,” Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said.

”This is the best atmosphere we’ve played on the road, so we knew

this was going to be a difficult place to play.”

Sporting won onw of its first 10 games, all of which were on the

road.

”It’s confidence,” Kansas City defender Matt Besler said.

”During that 10-game stretch on the road, there were a few games

we didn’t play well, but for the most part, we were playing well,

but not getting the results. Now, we’re confident.”

Portland coach John Spencer promoted forward Eddie Johnson and

defender Steve Purdy into the starting lineup. They replaced

forward Kenny Cooper – the team’s second highest-paid player – and

defender Jeremy Hall. Cooper and Hall had started the Timbers’

previous 15 games.

”We dug ourselves a deep hole,” Spencer said. ”In the second

half, I thought we were pressing and just couldn’t put the quality

on the final pass that would have give us a chance to score a

goal.”

Portland’s offense was stagnant for the game’s first 40 minutes,

but perked up just before halftime. The Timbers produced a couple

of chances, one resulting in a goal seconds before halftime, when

Darlington Nagbe ripped a 20-yard shot past Kansas City goalie

Jimmy Nielsen to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Kansas City, which played a road-heavy MLS schedule early in the

season, will play 11 of its next 12 matches at home.

The Timbers won their first five home games this season, but are

winless in their past four at Jeld-Wen Field.

”I think guys got the feeling that we could go unbeaten at home

all season,” Spencer said. ”Experience wise, we’ve got a lot to

learn.”