Recap: Sporting KC splits points in scoreless draw against Portland Timbers at Sporting Park

Luis Marin made three saves for the first shutout of his MLS career as Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers played to a scoreless draw on Saturday at Sporting Park. 

VOTE: BurgerFi Man of the Match

Captain Matt Besler returned from his one-game suspension and anchored a backline that welcomed  Jalil Anibaba into the starting lineup for his Sporting KC debut. Portland was held to seven shots - their fewest since August 2014 - as the Timbers tied their third straight match to open the 2015 season.

Sporting Kansas City, meanwhile, attempted 16 shots with the first coming in the ninth minute when Marcel de Jong's corner kick found Anibaba at the back post. His diving header deflected off Alvas Powell and carried just beyond the reach of Dom Dwyer in the goalmouth but set up a second chance from the ensuing corner kick. This time it was Ike Opara on the end of the Canadian's left-footed service, however his header whistled wide of the post from eight yards out.

The home side continued to press forward and came close to opening the scoring in the 15th minute. Anibaba won the ball back at midfield and a patient buildup resulted in 21-year-old Jimmy Medranda - making his second career MLS start - finding Dwyer inside the penalty area. The 2014 MLS All-Star took two touches before unleashing a shot from 15 yards out that was partially blocked and precariously floated inches over the crossbar.

Portland's best scoring opportunity of the first half came in the 31st minute. Former KC midfielder Jack Jewsbury delivered a free kick from the left flank that connected with Nat Borchers, whose acrobatic header was on target but into the arms of Marin.

The Chilean goalkeeper kept the Timbers off the scoreboard with his final save of the night in the 61st minute to deny Fanendo Adi. The Nigerian was coming off a two-goal performance a week ago and worked his way past Opara along the right touchline only to be turned away by Marin after a 50-yard run.

Opara scored Sporting Kansas City's lone goal in the team's 2015 home opener, a 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls on March 8, and was nearly on the scoresheet again on Saturday. De Jong curled in a cross in the 77th minute that was perfectly placed for the run of Opara, but the 6'2" center back's header carried just above the crossbar.

Sporting Kansas City will next travel to Yankee Stadium to take on Eastern Conference leaders New York City FC (1-0-2) at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday, March 28. The teams first-ever meeting will air live locally on KMCI-TV 38 the Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV.

Major League Soccer
Regular Season: Game 3
Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Attendance: 20,848 (55th straight sell out)
Weather: 68 degrees and partly cloudy

Score

1

2

F

Sporting KC (0-1-2, 2 pts)

0

0

0

Portland Timbers (0-0-3, 3 pts)

0

0

0

Sporting Kansas City: Luis Marin; Jalil Anibaba, Ike Opara, Matt Besler (c), Marcel de Jong; Benny Feilhaber (Servando Carrasco 84), Paulo Nagamura, Roger Espinoza (Soni Mustivar 93+); Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer, Jimmy Medranda (Bernardo Anor 56)

Subs Not Used: Tim Melia, Amadou Dia, Seth Sinovic, Jacob Peterson

Portland Timbers: Adam Kwarasey; Alvas Powell, Nat Borchers, Liam Ridgewell (c), Jorge Villafana; Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, Dairon Asprilla (Gaston Fernandez 76), Darlington Nagbe, Rodney Wallace (Jeanderson 92+); Fanendo Adi (Maximiliano Urruti 76)

Subs Not Used: Andrew Weber, Norberto Paparatto, Taylor Peay, George Fochive

Stats

SKC

POR

Shots

16

7

Shots on Goal

2

3

Saves

3

2

Fouls

13

11

Offside

0

4

Corner Kicks

6

4

Misconduct Summary:

POR -- Diego Chara (caution; reckless foul) 72
SKC -- Benny Feilhaber (caution; reckless foul) 82

Scoring Summary:

None

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