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Sporting KCSKC

Portland Timbers 0, Sporting Kansas City 0 | MLS Match Recap

PORTLAND, Ore. – Separation between the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City proved an insurmountable task Wednesday night at Providence Park as the two teams jockeying for playoff position in the Western Conference played to a scoreless draw.

The share left both sides precariously above the red line tied on 41 points.

Sporting did see their three-game losing streak come to an end and do own the tiebreaker on Portland with two games in hand. They both move into a three-way tie with the Seattle Sounders for the fourth-through-sixth playoff spots in the West.

Despite the heady implications, the two teams spent a good portion of the first half feeling each other out.

The best chance for a goal from either side came in the 29th minute when Portland’s Diego Valeri freed Fanendo Adi on goal, but Tim Melia sprang into action nicely to turn away the attempt with a kick save. That would be just the first of what would be a night full of stunning saves from Sporting’s goalkeeper.

The second-half action picked up considerably – with most of the traffic headed Kansas City’s way.

In the 49th minute Adi got on the end of a Jorge Villafana cross in front of goal, but Melia was there again with a superb reaction save.

Valeri, who was a part of nearly all the Timbers’ best offensive moves on the night, created another golden opportunity for Portland in the 58th minute when he played in Lucas Melano. Once again, Melia was there to lunge off his line for the save.

Sporting got into the mix in the 64th minute when Graham Zusi pinged a side-footed shot with his left off the goalpost from a long throw in across the penalty area.

On the ensuing counter it was Portland testing Melia again – who once again was up to the task. Valeri played a perfectly weighted through ball to Melano on the break, but Melia was there in time to break up the chance.

Sporting’s Dom Dwyer nearly nicked a goal against the run of play in the 70th minute, but his spinning left-footed attempt from the top of the penalty area rolled just wide.

Melia proved Sporting’s savior once again at the outset of stoppage time, going to ground to stop a header from Maximiliano Urruti in front of goal for his career-high seventh and final save of the night. In the end, Portland finished with 18 shots (10 in the first half) – to Sporting’s eight – but lacked the finishing touch.

Sporting will fly cross-country for their next matchup, Sunday at Orlando City SC. Portland return to action two next Sunday when they play host to the New York Red Bulls.

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