Match Recap

Recap: Rodriguez strikes in Sporting's 2-1 loss to Portland

Sporting Kansas City (2-7-5, 11 points) fell 2-1 to the Portland Timbers (4-7-4, 16 points) on Saturday at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon.

Midfielder Memo Rodriguez bagged his first goal for Sporting in the 63rd minute, pulling his side level shortly after Felipe Mora had vaulted Portland ahead, but Evander’s winning tally in the 79th minute gave the Timbers all three points and condemned Kansas City to its fifth straight league defeat by a single goal.

Four days removed from a 4-0 win over FC Tulsa in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16, Manager Peter Vermes fielded a retooled lineup featuring five changes from back to front. Goalkeeper Tim Melia supplanted John Pulskamp between the posts, Rodriguez replaced Felipe Hernandez in midfield, and wholesale attacking changes saw Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell and Daniel Salloi lead the frontline.

A tightly contested first half brought bitter misfortune for the visitors in the 18th minute as Erik Thommy was forced to leave the game with a hamstring injury, summoning the introduction of fellow midfielder Felipe Hernandez. Prior to Thommy’s exit, Timbers forward Jonathan Rodriguez raced onto a long ball over the top and rattled the post with a seething left-footed drive. Portland’s first-year Designated Player tried his luck twice more on the cusp of intermission, prompting a save from Melia before seeing an audacious volley near the top of the box lift over the crossbar.

Mora nodded Portland into the lead on 51 minutes. Timbers talisman Evander did well to create space on the right side of the box before clipping a teasing cross to the opposite post, where Mora planted a header past Melia for his team-leading seventh goal of the season.

Sporting responded admirably as the match sprang to life over the final half-hour. Vermes’ men drew level in the 63rd minute when a Portland turnover led to Pulido teeing up Rodriguez, whose 20-yard cracker nestled low into the left corner for his first goal as a member of Sporting and his first MLS tally since May 31, 2023, as a member of LA Galaxy. The excellent strike also gave Sporting a league-best seven goals from outside the box in 2024.

With newfound momentum, Sporting could have surged in front four minutes later, but Pulido’s admirable effort fizzed wide by a matter of inches.

With both sides seeking a late winner, Portland regained their one-goal cushion in the 79th minute. Evander went from provider to goal scorer, hammering a low shot into the left corner from near the penalty spot on a headed assist from Felipe Mora. The play was initially ruled offside, but VAR intervened and the goal was given.

Sporting survived a close scare in the 85th minute when Evander’s delivery into the box was nearly steered home by center back Miguel Araujo, but Melia produced a smart save to keep the score at 2-1.

At the opposite end, Russell had a glorious chance to equalize for Sporting in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time, latching onto a looping cross from substitute Willy Agada, but Portland goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau made a game-saving stop to preserve Portland’s narrow lead to the final whistle.

Sporting has an opportunity to bounce back quickly, hosting Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday at Children’s Mercy Park. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT with tickets available at and live coverage on MLS Season Pass via Apple TV.

2024 MLS Regular Season | Match 14
Providence Park | Portland, Oregon
Attendance: 22,848
Weather: 59 degrees and cloudy

Sporting Kansas City 1-2 Portland Timbers
Sporting Kansas City (2-7-5, 11 points)
Portland Timbers (4-7-4, 16 points)

Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Jake Davis (Stephen Afrifa 88'), Dany Rosero, Andreu Fontas, Tim Leibold (Zorhan Bassong 75'); Nemanja Radoja, Memo Rodriguez (Willy Agada 88'), Erik Thommy (Felipe Hernandez 18'); Johnny Russell (C), Alan Pulido, Daniel Salloi (Marinos Tzionis 75')

Subs Not Used: John Pulskamp, Robert Castellanos, Khiry Shelton, Alenis Vargas

Portland Timbers: Maxime Crepeau; Juan Mosquera (Eric Miller 88'), Miguel Araujo, Dario Zuparic, Kamal Miller; David Ayala (Cristhian Paredes 75'), Diego Chara (C); Antony, Evander (Claudio Bravo 90'), Jonathan Rodriguez; Felipe Mora (Dairon Asprilla 88')

Subs Not Used: James Pantemis, Larrys Mabiala, Zac McGraw, Eryk Williamson, Nathan Fogaca

Scoring Summary:
POR -- Felipe Mora 7 (Evander 6) 51'
SKC -- Memo Rodriguez 1 (Alan Pulido 2, Daniel Salloi 3) 63'
POR -- Evander 6 (Felipe Mora 2, Jonathan Rodriguez 3) 79'

Misconduct Summary:
SKC -- Memo Rodriguez (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 41'

Match Statistics
Shots on Goal
Corner Kicks

Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistant Referee: Micheal Barwegen
Assistant Referee: Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho
Fourth Official: Malik Badawi
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez
AVAR: Tom Supple