Diego Rubio scored twice in the first half to set the tone, and Tim Melia posted his 10th shutout of the season while turning away just one shot as Sporting Kansas City did everything right in rolling to a 3-0 win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Sporting KC dominated the first half, squeezing off 11 shots to just one for the Timbers over the first 45 minutes. They kept up the pace in the second half, ending up with a 25-7 advantage in shots and a 10-1 edge in shots on target.
SKC (12-6-6, 42 points) won for the third straight match but remains three points behind first-place FC Dallas, who shut out Minnesota United later Saturday, atop the Western Conference standings. Portland (10-6-7, 37 points), which started the game just two points behind SKC for second place in the West standings, lost its season-high third consecutive game.
Rubio made the most of limited space for his first goal, working through the middle of the pitch just outside the box before taking a pass from Roger Espinoza and ripping a right-footed shot past diving Portland goalkeeper Jeff Attinella in the 28th minute.
Rubio garnered his second goal just nine minutes later. Matt Besler sent a pass forward toward the left flank, with Daniel Salloi corralling the ball and carrying it forward toward the corner.
Salloi then turned quickly and threaded a pass to the middle of the field where Rubio was running free and unmarked, and the Chilean national made short work of the opportunity, wrongfooting Attinella with a shot that found the lower-right corner of the net.
Johnny Russell added a third, back-breaking goal for SKC in the 89th minute off an assist from Krisztian Nemeth.
Despite the three goals allowed, Attinella’s work actually kept the Timbers in the game as he made seven saves on Sporting’s 10 shots on goal.
SKC will return to the pitch next Saturday when they host Minnesota United. Next up for the Timbers is a home Cascadia Cup rivalry matchup versus Seattle on Aug. 26.
—Field Level Media