LIVESTRONG Sporting Park vs Portland Timbers

Recap: KC powers past Portland in 3-1 win

MLS Game #24
Wednesday, August 17, 2011, 7:30 p.m. CT

LIVESTRONG Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Weather: Sunny, 86 degrees
Attendance: 15,271
Video: Match Highlights

Score 1           2           F
Sporting Kansas City (8-7-9, 33 pts) 2         1         3
Portland Timbers (7-12-5, 26 pts) 0         1           1      

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen; Chance Myers, Matt Besler, Julio Cesar, Seth Sinovic (Michael Harrington 75); Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi, Milos Stojcev (Soony Saad 63); C.J. Sapong, Teal Bunbury (Korede Aiyegbusi 92+), Kei Kamara 

Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Birahim Diop, Kevin Ellis, Shavar Thomas 

Portland Timbers: Troy Perkins; Mike Chabala, Eric Brunner, David Horst, Rodney Wallace; Sal Zizzo (Kalif Alhassan 46), Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe (Brian Umony 60); Kenny Cooper (Bright Dike 66), Jorge Perlaza

Subs not used: Adin Brown, Mamadou Danso, Jeremy Hall, James Marcelin

Stats:                           KC      POR
Shots                           15        7
Shots on Goal               6          2         
Saves                             1          3         
Fouls                             16        15
Offside                         1          2
Corner Kicks                 3          1         

Misconduct Summary:
POR – Mike Chabala (Caution; Tactical Foul) 18
KC – Seth Sinovic (Caution; Reckless Foul) 43 

Scoring Summary:
KC – Graham Zusi 4 (unassisted) 25
KC – Graham Zusi 5 (unassisted) 40
KC – Soony Saad 1 (unassisted) 73
POR – Bright Dike 1 (Rodney Wallace 1, Jack Jewsbury 7) 81 

Sporting Kansas City moved into third place in the Eastern Conference on Wednesday with a 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Midfielder Graham Zusi struck twice in the first half and rookie striker Soony Saad scored nine minutes into his MLS debut as Sporting KC improved to 8-7-9 with 10 games remaining in the 2011 season.

Sporting Kansas City held the upper hand throughout the first half, holding Portland without a shot on goal while Zusi recorded his second multi-goal game of the year with strikes 15 minutes apart.

His first came in impressive fashion in the 25th minute, collecting a header from Timbers defender Rodney Wallace and firing a right-footed blast from more than 30 yards out that arched over Timbers goalkeeper Troy perkins and into the upper corner of the far post.

The third-year pro from Maryland, who had scored one goal entering 2011, recorded his fifth goal of the season in the 40th minute on an opportunistic finish. Sporting KC capitalized on a long throw-in from defender Matt Besler, as C.J. Sapong flicked on the service for fellow forward Teal Bunbury at the backpost. Bunbury’s volley was blocked by Perkins initially, but Zusi was in prime position to bury the rebound with a sliding shot from inside the six-yard box.

Sporting’s 2-0 lead could have been larger entering halftime, but midfielder Milos Stojcev’s shot from 25 yards out in the 19th minute was denied by the crossbar after deflecting off Timbers defender Eric Brunner.

Portland nearly pulled a goal back in the 50th minute on a long ball out of the back from Wallace that bounced over Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, but the Danish netminder recovered in time to smother the ball before it could cross the goalline.

The crossbar again kept Sporting KC at bay in the 53rd minute on a well-taken header from Kei Kamara off a cross from Myers. On the opposite end, Portland striker Kenny Cooper tried a header of his own, but directed it wide of goal in the 59th minute from 12 yards out.

Sporting Kansas City inserted Saad in the 63rd minute for his first MLS action and within nine minutes, the Michigan product who led the NCAA in scoring as a freshman forced his way onto the scoresheet. Brunner’s clearance from inside his own penalty area ricocheted off Saad, who celebrated his 19th birthday on Wednesday, and over the head of a helpless Perkins to give Sporting a 3-0 lead with under 20 minutes remaining.

Bunbury nearly found a fourth for Sporting KC after breaking free on the left side, but Perkins did well to come off his line and make the save in the 80th minute.

Portland got on the board in the 81st minute through forward Bright Dike. The rookie recorded the first goal of his professional career, re-directing a cross from Rodney Wallace. Former KC midfielder Jack Jewsbury, traded prior to the 2011 season, earned a secondary assist on the goal, his team-high seventh of the season.

Sporting Kansas City will continue the homestand on Sunday, August 21st when they host D.C. United at 7:30 p.m. CT at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Tickets are available at TicketMaster.com or at the LIVESTRONG Sporting Park box office.

Fast Facts:

Sporting Kansas City is now 8-7-9 and moved into third place in the Eastern Conference.

Sporting Kansas City is 5-1-4 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park since it’s opening on June 9th.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made one saves on Wednesday and now has 61 saves this season.

Nielsen, Sporting Kansas City’s captain on Wednesday, started his 50th regular season MLS match on Wednesday.

Sporting Kansas City has not been shutout in ten straight games dating back to a scoreless draw at the Philadelphia Union on June 22nd.

Sporting Kansas City has lost once in their past 16 games.

Sporting Kansas City held Portland without a shot on goal in the first half on Wednesday, marking the sixth time Sporting has held an opponent without a shot on goal in a half this season and the sixth time Portland had failed to put a shot on frame in a half in 2011.

It also marked the third straight match that Sporting KC has held an opponent without a shot on goal in the first half.

The Timbers’ two shots in the first half were the second fewest allowed in a half by Sporting KC this season and matched the fewest by Portland in a half in 2011.

Sporting Kansas City striker Soony Saad (19) and midfielder Craig Rocastle (30) celebrated birthdays on Wednesday. 

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi will turn 25 on Thursday.

Zusi recorded his second multi-goal game of the season on Wednesday and now has five goals in 2011, a personal career-high after scoring once in his previous two pro seasons. 

Zusi recorded five shots and three shots on goal on Wednesday, matching personal career single-game highs in both categories.

Zusi recorded the first game-winning goal of his career on Wednesday.

Zusi’s performance marked the seventh time a Sporting KC player has scored multiple goals in a game this season.

Sporting Kansas City is 2-0-1 when Zusi scores in 2011.

Saad made his MLS debut in the 63rd minute, entering for Milos Stojcev. He scored in the 72nd minute for the first professional goal of his career.

Sporting Kansas City has not allowed multiple goals in back-to-back MLS matches since April 2nd, a span of 21 consecutive games.

Wednesday’s match was Sporting Kansas City’s fifth in a nine-game homestand, which is tied for the longest in MLS history along with the Chicago Fire in 2006.

Sporting Kansas City began the season with their first 10 MLS matches on the road, a new MLS record.

Sporting Kansas City hosted the expansion Portland Timbers for the first time on Wednesday, completing the season series with a perfect 2-0-0 record.

Sporting Kansas City won 2-1 at Portland on July 2nd in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury, who played eight seasons for Sporting Kansas City to begin his professional career, returned to KC on Wednesday for the first time since being traded to Portland prior to the 2011 season.

Sporting KC midfielder Korede Aiyegbusi made his first appearance since April 30th, entering in the 92nd minute for Teal Bunbury.

Sporting Kansas City is 6-1-3 in matches that Seth Sinovic starts this season and 6-1-8 in the 15 matches Chance Myers has appeared in the starting lineup in 2011.

Sporting Kansas City is 7-2-1 when scoring the first goal in 2011.

Sporting Kansas City is 7-1-1 when leading at halftime in 2011.

Sporting Kansas City striker C.J. Sapong played 90 minutes on Wednesday and is the only Sporting Kansas City player to appear in all 24 MLS matches for the club this season.

Sapong leads all MLS rookies in games played (4) and points (10) in 2011.

Sporting Kansas City Designated Player Omar Bravo served a mandatory one-game suspension on Wednesday for the red card he received in Sporting Kansas City’s last match.

The first 10,000 fans at Wednesday’s match received a complimentary Teal Bunbury bobblehead.

Sporting KC teamed up with Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools for a book drive to collect new and gently used books prior to Wednesday’s match. The collection will also take place on Sunday for Sporting Kansas City’s match at 7:30 p.m. CT against D.C. United.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper coach John Pascarella served the first of a three-game suspension on Wednesday.

Sporting KC defender Chance Myers played in his 50th regular season MLS match on Wednesday.

KSMO-TV will air highlights and reaction from Saturday’s match on the station’s weekly 30-minute soccer show “Off the Pitch with Sporting Kansas City” on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. CT.