Children’s Mercy Park saw it’s last match of 2019 and it was one wild ride. Ten cards were shown, including three reds, and a late PK goal for the Portland Timbers ended things at 2-2.
Roger Espinoza & Ilie Sanchez were both sent off and ended their seasons early but Daniel Salloi gave SKC fans something to hang their hat on as he scored his first goal of the season.
It was absolutely all Sporting Kansas City in the opening stages. They unleashed nine shots before the Timbers were able to get their first.
Gianluca Busio nearly knocked over the goal with a shot off the crossbar in just the sixth minute. Luis Martins was given space just outside the box and he fired a shot just over the bar. A very desperate Salloi was in on the action as well with a first-time volley on a long ball from Ilie Sanchez, but it was wide left. In the 22nd minute Graham Zusi connected nicely with a long range shot but it went safely into the hands of keeper Steve Clark.
However it was the Timbers who would open the scoring in the 29th minute with their first shot on target. Marvin Loria took it all the way to the end line with Botond Barath covering him. He was just able to squeeze in a cross that took a deflection and sat perfectly for Sebastian Blanco to slam it home.
That lead would last just one minute before Nemeth leveled things at 1-1. Sporting got down the field in a hurry after the restart and Johnny Russell curled in a beautiful ball that only needed the slightest of nudges off the head of Nemeth before settling in the back of the net.
Emotions were then running very high. Felipe Gutierrez and Brian Fernandez had a coming together in the 36th minute and all hell broke loose. A mob of players were shoving and grabbing at each other. When it was all said and done, a yellow and two red cards were produced. Fernandez was shown a yellow originally, but was then sent off after a review showed he kicked out at Gutierrez. Roger Espinoza also got a red card for hands to the throat, ending his 2019 season on an ugly note.
The breakthrough so many had been waiting for arrived just seconds into the 2nd half. Busio the hit the post - for the fourth time in two matches - but Salloi was there to follow it up and smash it into the net.
The monkey was off his back. Pandora came out of the box. Daniel Salloi finally got his first MLS goal in 2019. And Sporting KC were in front 2-1 in the 46th minute.
Down to ten men on both sides, the match began to slow down a bit. Tired legs were showing around the 65th minute. The Timbers, aware of SKC’s track record in closing out matches this season, were content with waiting for chances to counter attack.
The 80th minute has marked the danger zone for Sporting KC this year and right on cue in the 83rd minute, that danger arose.
Ilie was forced to take down Jeremy Ebobisse in the box after he snuck through the defense. The referee deemed he had denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity (without making a “soccer play”) and showed the Sporting KC midfielder the third red card of the match. Dairon Asprilla then stepped up and buried the PK to tie it at 2-2.
Sporting KC was unable to play spoiler as Portland stays in 6th place with the draw. But the final game of the season brings another opportunity to spoil things for FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Sunday night.