Sporting Kansas City II (6-4-6, 26 points) suffered their first defeat since May in a 3-1 loss at Timbers2 (7-10-0, 21 points) Sunday night at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. Ethan Bryant opened the scoring for his fourth goal of the season before the hosts roared back, scoring three unanswered.
MLS NEXT Pro's June Coach of the Month Benny Feilhaber rolled out a starting XI featuring four first-team loanees. Ethan Bandre was the goalkeeper and made six saves on the night. Kayden Pierre, Chris Rindov, Nassim Mekideche and Kayden Pierre played on the backline. Bryant was joined in the midfield by Felipe Hernandez and Vitor Dias. Alenis Vargas started on the right wing and picked up his team-best fifth assist with Keny Martinez and Ozzie Cisneros also in the front three.
A fast-paced match with 19 total shots on target between the two sides got started in the fifth minute when Bandre made his first save of the night. Noah Santos cracked a one-timer right into the well-positioned keeper's arms. Five minutes later a chaotic sequence yielded nothing for the hosts after a trio of near-makes.
The first attempt saw Bandre charge to deny a shot from close range. While the keeper slipped scurrying to his feet T2 got onto the ball and chipped one on target, which Mekideche cleared off the line. The third offering, which was hit immediately after the goalline clearance rattled off the post and was cleared away.
Timbers2 goalkeeper Carver Miller kicked off his eight-save performance in the 13th, snagging Rosa' long-range effort. Vargas and Miller would collide in the same minutes as both players tracked a bouncing ball on the right side of the box. Vargas would take the match's first yellow card for the foul.
Vargas etched his name into the match on a more positive note three minutes later, assisting on Bryant's goal. Martinez's high press turned Timbers2 over in the attacking third and kickstarted the attack. After being played by Hernandez, Vargas clipped a cross to Bryant at the pk spot where the Texas native rattled a shot off Miller's hand and into the back of the net.
The hosts responded just three minutes later when their captain, Josh Penn rose up to meet a cross inside the 18. The midfielder's redirected header crossed the goalline and the match was level. The contest continued to be open in the 24th when Vargas was denied on the endline with a Miller kick save. A quick counter produced another strike on target for Penn which Bandre blocked with two hands.
The match slowed until the 38th minute as both teams settled in. In the 38th Penn was on the assisting side of a Portland goal, setting up Blake Pope's first goal of the campaign. On the cusp of halftime, Mekideche did well to stimy a dangerous-looking attack from T2, blocking a cross at the top of the box. In stoppage time of the first SKC II had one more chance go wanting, a shot from distance sent off frame.
Coming out of the break SKC II made two swaps, bringing on Sebastian Cruz and Robert Voloder for Hernandez and Pierre. In the 52nd, Timbers2 doubled their lead when a Julian Bravo free kick bounced once in the box and skipped into the goal.
Miller, who would make six saves in the second half alone, made his third save of the night, somehow denying Martinez on the doorstep. Bandre dropped a dime to Rosa along the sideline as the right-back ran into the attacking third. He slipped Vargas in behind the defense and the Honduran found his fellow countryman after some nifty moves inside the 18. The forward hit a shot one time that Miller snagged out of the air while coming back across his line.
Enzo Mauriz entered for Cisneros in the 57th, one minute before an inswinging corner from Bryant was flicked on by Mekideche just out of range of anyone on the back post. In the 61st minute, a short corner was sent in by Dias and found Voloder. The defender's redirect floated inches past the far post and out for a T2 goalkick.
Pau Vidal, Sporting KC II's leading goal scorer, came on in the 63rd, taking off Martinez. Bandre denied Penn again in the 65th with his best save of the night, a diving, one-handed save on a set piece. Bandre would make an easier save seven minutes later, catching a headed attempt from inside the six. Josh Coan replaced Vargas in the 74th as the final SKC II sub.
A minute later Vidal got on the end of a terrific through-ball and hit a shot on target that Miller blocked away with his thigh, dropping low to make the save. The T2 keeper made a pair of saves in the 80th, first catching an acrobatic attempt from Vidal, then securing a Coan header against his chest.
Bandre and Miller traded saves in the 85th and 86th before Bryant sent a shot wide right before the final whistle. Timbers2 took the match 3-1 and earned their first win over SKC II in MLS NEXT Pro play. SKC II will return on Sunday, June 16, welcoming Earthquakes II to Rock Chalk Park. Tickets are on sale at SeatGeek.com and fans can stream the action for free at MLSNEXTPro.com.
Sporting KC II
Sporting Kansas City II: Ethan Bandre; Kayden Pierre (Robert Voloder 46'), Chris Rindov, Nassim Mekideche, Lucas Rosa; Vitor Dias, Felipe Hernandez (Sebastian Cruz 46'), Ethan Bryant; Alenis Vargas (Josh Coan 74'), Keny Martinez (Pau Vidal 63'), Ozzie Cisneros (Enzo Mauriz 57')
Subs Not Used: Carlito Saylon, Nati Clarke, Andrew Draper, Jahon Rad
Timbers2: Carver Miller; Jaden Jones-Riley, Keesean Ferdinand, Julian Bravo, Blake Pope; Alex Moreno (Dawson McCartney 77'), Victor Enriquez (Michael Dunne 82'), Adrian Ortellao, Ian Shaul (Tristan Weber 67'), Josh Penn; Noah Santos (Tega Ikoba 46')
Subs Not Used: Ryan Bilichuk, Cole Aman, Diego Elizalde, Sawyer Jura, Alexis Manzo
SKC – Ethan Bryant 4 (Alenis Vargas 5) 16'
POR –Josh Penn 3 (Keesean Ferdinand 3) 19'
POR – Blake Pope 1 (Josh Penn 2) 38'
POR – Julian Bravo 1 (unassisted) 52'
SKC – Alenis Vargas (yellow card; reckless offense) 14'
POR – Ian Shaul (yellow card; time wasting) 34'
POR – Carver Miller (yellow card; time wasting) 85'
POR – Adrian Ortellao (yellow card; reckless offense) 90+3'
Shots on Goal
Referee: Marcelo Soto
Assistant Referee: Ryan Jung
Assistant Referee: CJ Koll
Fourth Official: Eric Krueger