Poor Chance Myers.
Scoreless in 95 career games entering Saturday, Myers broke through not once but twice, staking Sporting Kansas City to leads in the first and 29th minutes against Portland Timbers FC at Sporting Park.
Unfortunately for Myers and his teammates, neither lead stood up in a 3-2 loss witnessed by 20,186 — the club’s 20th consecutive sellout.
“I got to enjoy it for about two minutes after each goal, but we didn’t do enough to come away with the victory, so that (stinks),” Myers said. “There’s no excuses. We’ve just got to be better. We got beat on a set-piece goal, which we usually don’t do, and we got beat on a counter at home, which we usually don’t do.”
Ahead 1-0, Sporting KC, 4-3-2, coughed up the equalizer on a corner kick by Diego Valeri, who picked out Ryan Johnson in the middle of Sporting KC’s penalty box.
Johnson shed defender Matt Besler and redirected Valeri’s low, out-swinging service into the upper left corner and over the head of a leaping Benny Feilhaber.
It was the first goal Sporting KC had allowed off a corner kick since May 21, 2011 — a stretch of 75 games, which predates Sporting Park.
Leading 2-1 mere minutes later, Valeri triggered a 33rd-minute jailbreak when he played a ball into the left channel for Johnson, who sprinted past two Sporting KC defenders and into the box.
Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen charged off his line, but Johnson coolly slid the ball across the face of the goal for Darlington Nagbe, who had two steps on left back Seth Sinovic and tied the game at 2-2 with a tap-in for his second goal of the season.
“The problem is we just gave the ball to the other team,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “You can’t give balls away to the other team, so they can counter.”
Portland, 3-1-4, scored the game-winner off another turnover-fueled counter in the 58th minute when forward C.J. Sapong and midfielder Paulo Nagamura couldn’t connect on a short pass near the sideline.
The misplay allowed midfielder Diego Chara to run at Sporting KC’s goal with midfielder Uri Rosell trailing the play.
Chara’s diagonal ball found Rodney Wallace, who had squeezed between Myers and Sporting KC’s goal. He then rolled a shot under Nielsen, who allowed only three goals in the first seven games but has allowed five in the last two.
“It wasn’t just wide guys,” Vermes said. “It was central midfield guys. We just gave away the ball way too easy, which put us under pressure too many times. That’s not the norm for us, but tonight we just gave the ball away.”
The three goals allowed are the most since a 3-2 loss against FC Dallas on Aug. 27, 2011 — a span of 27 games.
Still, Sporting KC believes that — even with a few moments of sloppy play — three-goal games shouldn’t happen, especially not at home.
“Obviously, we’re losing the ball in bad spots, but it’s also balance and spacing,” left back Sinovic said. “If we’re in the right spots when we lose the ball, we should be able to deal with it. Tonight, we weren’t and we got punished for it.”
Myers put Sporting KC, 4-3-2, in front only 40 seconds into play, when he headed home a long-throw-in by Besler.
Myers put Sporting KC back in front in the 29th minute later when Feilhaber lofted a cross into the box, which found Collin’s feet for a square ball to the right post for an easy putaway.