Sporting Kansas City 3, Portland Timbers 0 | 2018 MLS Match Recap
A rejuvenated Sporting Kansas City dominated a tired Portland Timbers side in a 3-0 victory thanks to striker Diego Rubio's brace. Sporting is now on a three-game winning streak while the Timbers failed to collect a single point in the the last three games this week after going unbeaten for 15 straight games.
The Timbers looked dangerous in the first 10 minutes of the match, but then fell complacent as Sporting found its stride. Rubio, who continues to make his case to be a consistent starter, opened scoring in the 28th minute with a clean first touch inside the penalty box and a strike into the lower corner of the net.
Sporting pulled together a total team performance for the second goal just before halftime. Defender Matt Besler forced a turnover in the defensive zone. Quickly moving up the field, Besler sent a long ball up to Daniel Salloi who slotted the ball in to Rubio for the finish.
Sporting outshot the Timbers in a loop-sided 25-to-7. In the second half, coach Peter Vermes added a trio of fresh legs in a twelve minute span to maintain the offensive pressure. Midfielder Yohan Croizet, striker Krisztian Nemeth and forward Johnny Russell all made contributions in the final thirty minutes. Russell added Sporting's final goal in the final minute of the match assisted by Nemeth.
With the win, Sporting extended its winning-streak to three with three clean sheets and even points next to FC Dallas at the top of the Western Conference momentarily.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Soccer is a game of streaks. MLS seasons are made and broken in both the luck and cruelty of going on streaks. Right now Sporting is basking in the upswing of three games won while the Timbers are left collecting the pieces after a tough week of three winless matches. Kansas City, who has hung around the top of the table all season, could be hitting a hot streak at an ideal time for the club. With Saturday's win, Sporting tied Dallas at the top of the West. Possibly even more impressive is the clean sheet streak. Meanwhile, Timbers tough week isn't a playoff death sentence, but it is a bit of a wake up call for the Timbers.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The build up to Rubio's second goal was a perfect example of how good this Sporting side is when it is firing on all cylinders. Vermes' men are finally at full strength and this goal shows how versatile and talented the squad is.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Rubio's brace earns him Man of the Match and possibly a more permanent starting spot on the roster.