Sporting Kansas City shutout the Portland Timbers and Montreal Impact on Saturday as Manager Peter Vermes’ squad went unbeaten in a pre-season doubleheader at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Arizona.

Kansas City began the day with a scoreless draw against the expansion Timbers in the opening match, as physical play and limited chances highlighted the first ever meeting between both MLS teams. Sporting came closest to finding the back of the net on a corner kick from Milos Stojcev to Matt Besler at the backpost, but Besler’s header was cleared away on a goal-saving header by Portland defender Eric Brunner in the 35th minute.

Sporting strikers Kei Kamara and Omar Bravo were active on the attack and created several scoring chances throughout their 90-minute performances, but couldn’t beat Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins to break the deadlock. Meanwhile, the Kansas City defense made a light day for goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen as the backline held Portland to limited looks at net, forcing long-range shots from Kenny Cooper in the first half and holding the shutout despite increased pressure in the second half.

“Although the scoreline didn’t show it, it was probably one of the better games we’ve played so far in pre-season,” Vermes told reporters on a conference call after the games. “The way we built out of the back and pressured throughout the game, guys were pretty dangerous. Throughout the game, we had the better of the play and controlled the tempo pretty well.”

READ: Portland’s take on Saturday’s scrimmage

Kansas City then earned their first win of the pre-season, a 2-0 victory over the Montreal Impact, who will join MLS as the League’s 19th team in 2012, in game two of the doubleheader. 

After attacking forward from the opening whistle, the pressure paid off in the 17th minute as Sporting took a 1-0 lead on an own goal from an errant header by Impact defender Nevio Pizzolitto. Rookie forward C.J. Sapong, the team’s 2011 first round SuperDraft selection, later earned his first goal of the pre-season after being taken down in the penalty area and easily converting the penalty kick past Bill Gaudette in the 73rd minute. 

“I thought from the outset of the game, we really controlled the pace of the game and forced quite a few opportunities,” Vermes said. “We forced an own goal with our pressing game…In the second half, we came up with quite a few really good chances, one of which ended with a PK that Sapong created. Good for him to create the play and then score the goal.”

READ: Montreal’s match report and game photos

After seeing his roster play 180 minutes on Saturday, Vermes said he was satisfied with the progress of the team as the season opener on March 19th at Chivas USA approaches.

“I think we did a lot of the things we’ve been working on the last couple weeks since we’ve been down here. It’s starting to translate onto the field,” Vermes said. “I’m definitely happy with that.” 

Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers
February 26, 2011 – Grande Sports World, Casa Grande, AZ
Pre-Season Exhibition

Sporting Kansas City -- Jimmy Nielsen, Roger Espinoza, Matt Besler, Shavar Thomas, Luke Sassano (Michael Harrington, 63), Craig Rocastle, Milos Stojcev (Graham Zusi, 75), Davy Arnaud (Jack Jewsbury, 63), Omar Bravo , Birahim Diop (C.J. Sapong, 81), Kei Kamara

Portland Timbers -- Troy Perkins, Steve Purdy (Sal Zizzo, 46), Eric Brunner, Mamadou Danso, Rodney Wallace, Jeremy Hall, Peter Lowry (Adam Moffat, 46), James Marcelin (Tony McManus, 69), Darlington Nagbe, Kenny Cooper (Eddie Johnson, 69), Brian Umony (Jorge Perlaza, 69)

Sporting Kansas City vs. Montreal Impact
February 26, 2011 – Grande Sports World, Casa Grande, AZ
Pre-Season Exhibition

Scoring Summary:
KC: Own Goal (Nevio Pizzolitto) 17
KC: C.J. Sapong (penalty kick) 72

Sporting Kansas City --  Eric Kronberg (Jon Kempin 79), Scott Lorenz, Omar Colley, Mike Jones, Michael Harrington (Kevin Ellis 46), Stephane Auvray (Michal Mravec 46), Jack Jewsbury (Jesus Flores 46, Ronnie Ibara 68), Graham Zusi (Trialist 1 46), Adda Djeziri (Korede Aiyegbusi 46), C.J. Sapong (Adda Djeziri 72), Chance Myers

Montreal Impact -- Bill Gaudette (Evan Bush, 46), Philippe Billy, Nevio Pizzolitto (Hicham Aaboubou, 46), Kevin Hatchi, Richard Pelletier (Zurab Tsiskaridze, 58), Luke Kreamalmeyer, Hassoun Camara (Bonheur Aubey, 80), Simon Gatti (Antonio Ribeiro, 46, Kevin Cossette, 68), Leonardo Di Lorenzo (Pierre-Rudolph Mayard, 57), Idriss Ech Chergui (Kyle Porter, 51), Ali Gerba (Filipe Da Costa, 67)