The hardest part of a long winning/unbeaten streak is that first loss. It hurts or stings or sucks or whatever negative verb you want to interject.
Also: It feels foreign. The last time Sporting Kansas City lost a regular season match was 218 days before against Real Salt Lake.
The good news: Sporting still holds a 9-point lead over D.C. United in the Eastern Conference and has a league best goal differential of +9.
More good news: Here are some other stats, notes and quotes from Saturday's 1-0 loss to Portland.
• The loss ended KC's seven-game winning streak. The only other MLS team to start a season with an undefeated streak that long was the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1996. The Galaxy won eight-straight.
• It was the 200th loss in club history.
• In case you were wondering, Peter Vermes hates losing.
“Look, I hate losing[editor's note: See, told you!], but I have to put into context. If we came in here and didn’t play well I think the guys would be feeling a bit different. Overall, I think our guys are happy with the way they played. From their perspective sometimes you have to chalk it up and move on – they don’t like to lose either [Editor's note: See, that's why they win so much, they all hate losing!]
– and this game will definitely sit in our minds."
• After receiving criticism for its style of play from Real Salt Lake's coach Jason Kreis, Portland coach John Spencer was more complimentary of Sporting's style.
"I think they have actually gotten a raw deal when it comes to reputation – it's a physical game. They play the game the way the game should be played. They play high-tempo, they pressure you all over the field, they have some tremendous athletes, they don't give you time on the ball, so if that's being over-physical then I'll take that every day. I wouldn't mind playing that team, because I'll tell you what, we got a lot of good players."
• KC is 3-1-0 on the road this season, just one win on the road away from equaling the total for all of 2011.
• Jimmy Nielsen has given up three goals in 720 minutes of soccer -- a well-taken free kick by Dallas' Ricardo Villar, a rebound header by Vancouver's Sebastien Le Toux and an own goal by Chance Myers.
• Only one of the goals has come from the opposition in the run of play.
• In 2011, KC allowed its third goal after just 124 minutes of soccer.
• Myers' own goal was the first own goal conceded by Sporting Kansas City since April 9, 2008, against the New England Revolution.
• That own goal was scored by Jack Jewsbury, who was on the field for Portland on Saturday.
• Sporting Kansas City is 35-27-11 all-time in the month of April.
• Portland is the first team to take a lead into halftime against KC.
• Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler earned yellow cards in the match. So far this year, Collin has as many yellow cards (3) as goals.
• The dream of a 102-point season has died. KC are now on pace for a still respectable 99 points.
• After 8 games, KC have allowed 0.375 goals per game while scoring 1.5 goals per game.
• KC is 5-1-0 against the Western Conference. Only three more games remain against the West -- at Colorado (5/19), vs. San Jose (5/27) and at Seattle (6/20).
• There are, however, 23 games remaining (69 points) against the Eastern Conference.
• This weekend will be KC's first bye week of the season. The next game is at home against the Montreal Impact on May 5.