The Portland Timbers defeated Sporting Kansas City two goals to one at an 80% capacity Providence Park on Saturday night.
Sporting right back Jaylin Lindsey struck first for the visitors before Timbers wingers Dairon Asprilla and Marvin Loría gave the Timbers a 2-1 lead right before halftime. Portland would pack it in defensively en route to a hard-fought 2-1 victory.
This was the first match since March 7th, 2020 in which Timbers fans could participate in a large crowd at Providence Park, and the Timbers Army & Co. had plenty to be happy about.
Portland had a host of injured would-be starters make their returns. Midfielder Diego Chará and goalkeeper Steve Clark were back in the starting XI, while Larrys Mabiala and Sebastián Blanco were subbed on in the second half.
Blanco in particular has had a long recovery, beginning with a torn ACL from last season and continuing through further complications this year. He received a warm welcome back to the pitch in the 80th minute as he replaced Diego Valeri.
In the 28th minute, a failed clearance by Loría deflected the ball into the path of Lindsey, who smashed the ball into the top right corner.
Kansas City’s lead wouldn’t last long, as Dairon Asprilla cleaned up his own blocked shot just eight minutes later to even the score at one goal apiece.
Marvin Loría would atone for his earlier miscue by capitalizing on a failed SKC clearance, this time by defender Andreu Fontas.
Kansas City—who totaled nine blocked shots, seven off target, and three on target—could not break into Clark’s net in the second half. Clark had a pair of saves and a late punch, and just a handful of nervous moments spared the Timbers of an equalizer.
An unconvincing performance to say the least, Portland held on for the full three points as their season ramps back up. The Timbers will take on Houston Dynamo FC in Texas this Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.