Portland beats Sporting KC, 7-2

Sporting Kansas City suffered a 7-2 road loss at Portland Timbers FC on Saturday night at Providence Park in Oregon with eight of the game’s nine goals scored in a second half that saw both teams reduced to 10 players.

The Timbers opened the scoring 12 minutes into the match on a set piece delivered by Eryk Williamson and headed home by center back Bill Tuiloma at the top of the six-yard box.

Sporting Kansas City responded with the game’s next four shots, the first of which came in the 16th minute as club captain Johnny Russell beat his defender on the endline and found Khiry Shelton for a first-time shot that was saved by Aljaz Ivacic.

Veteran midfielder Roger Espinoza provided the next three attempts, smashing a shot from the edge of the penalty area just wide of the post in the 23rd minute on a pass cut back by Cam Duke before forcing a save from Ivacic three minutes later with a right-footed effort from distance.

Portland came close to doubling its lead on the cusp of halftime if not for a strong sliding save from Tim Melia in the 43rd minute to deny Nathan Fogaca. Nevertheless, the Timbers would explode for three goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half to open the floodgates.

Just 29 seconds after halftime, Sebastian Blanco buried a volley from close range on an assist from Cristhian Paredes. Less than six minutes later, Blanco would stretch the Portland lead to 3-0 on a counterattack as the 34-year-old Argentine playmaker cut inside and curled the eventual game-winning goal inside the far post.

The Timbers struck again in the 56th minute, this time with Blanco playing the part of provider, as Fogaca scored his first of two goals on the night in a memorable MLS debut.

Sporting pulled a goal back nearly immediately as just over a minute later Russell punched in a perfectly-placed cross from halftime substitute Felipe Hernandez for the 43rd regular season goal of his career, tying him for third on the club’s all-time goal scoring chart.

Fogaca bagged his brace with his final touch of the night in the 69th minute as Blanco combined with Williamson on a give-and-go inside the penalty area before putting the ball on a platter for the 22-year-old Brazilian forward to tap into the net.

Despite the 5-1 score, the second half continued to produce twists and turns as referee Victor Rivas sent off Timbers defender Josecarlos Van Rankin in the 74th minute and Sporting KC defender Robert Voloder in the 78th minute. Both players received their second cautions of the match.

In between the ejections, Marinos Tzionis – the hero in Sporting’s 4-2 comeback win over FC Dallas on Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup with a 98th minute equalizer — scored on a header for the second straight match as he re-directed Hernandez’s free kick in the 75th minute for his first MLS goal.

Portland put the exclamation point on the team’s historic performance with two goals in the game’s closing minutes as second-half substitutes Marvin Loria and Santiago Moreno added their names to the scoresheet with goals in the 88th and 92nd minutes.

By the time the dust settled, Saturday’s match will go into the record books as the sixth highest scoring match in MLS regular season history with Portland’s six second-half goals the most ever scored in the second half of an MLS regular season match and their seven total goals the second most ever scored by an MLS team in the regular season.

The seven combined goals in the second half are also second most in MLS regular season history – trailing only the eight second half goals scored in Kansas City’s 6-4 win over Columbus on May 2, 1996.

Sporting Kansas City will return home to play host to the Colorado Rapids at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Children’s Mercy Park. Tickets for the mid-week match are available online at SeatGeek.com.

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