BREAKING NEWS: Someone actually scored in a Sporting KC-Portland match.
That someone was Krisztian Nemeth, who put in a legitimate Goal of the Year candidate in the 83rd minute to give Sporting KC a narrow 1-0 victory in Portland. The win put them third in the Western Conference and fifth in the Supporters Shield race going into the other matches around the league on Sunday.
The first half was mostly in favor of the Timbers, who were on the front foot leading the attack for the first 45 minutes. Tim Melia was once again a big player in keeping Sporting Kansas City tied with the Timbers. The starting lineup, with a front three of Connor Hallisey, Jacob Peterson, and Bernardo Anor, was not filled with world beaters and it looked like Sporting were aiming for a road draw. After winning a cup final three days prior, this was an acceptable strategy.
However the back line and keeper needed to be solid in order to keep Portland off the board in this match and they did. In addition to Melia, Matt Besler and Kevin Ellis had one of their best games as a centerback pairing. The combined efforts of those men made it 0-0 going into the half.
The second half was more of the same except that Sporting KC was able to retrieve a little bit of attack back to their side with the substitutions of Graham Zusi and Krisztian Nemeth into the match. Erik Palmer-Brown would be the third sub, coming on for Kevin Ellis who left with a minor injury.
It took until the 83rd minute for someone to end the scoring drought, but Nemeth did it in spectacular fashion. Receiving the ball at midfield, Nemeth took the ball all the way down to the Portland box, broke several ankles and was suddenly in the box alone with the Timbers' keeper. Nemeth slid the ball into the net at the far post and gave Sporting KC the lead. This was his tenth goal of the year, and really needs to be seen to be believed.
Graham Zusi was also given an assist on this play for some reason.
After surviving an onslaught in the closing minutes, Sporting KC finally held on for the victory and earned a surprising three points. They now have two weeks off for the international break and will play at San Jose on October 16.