Sporting Kansas City extended its MLS regular-season unbeaten streak to eight games with a 2-1 victory Saturday against the Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland.
Rookie C.J. Sapong helped the visitors grab control early when he burst past the Timbers defense and powered a low shot past goalkeeper Troy Perkins in the 15th minute.
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“This was an incredible environment here tonight, so that was especially important,” manager Peter Vermes said. “That goal took the edge off the second one really deflated them.”
Five minutes later, Aurelien Collin scored his second career goal bending back as he fell to the ground to meet a long throw-in from Blue Valley West graduate Matt Besler for a 2-0 lead. It was Besler's first career MLS assist.
Portland seized a measure of momentum back when Darlington Nagbe delivered a near-perfect strike into the upper-left corner of the goal a minute before halftime.
Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen came off his line to punch away a cross, but Nagbe settled the ball from the air just outside the penalty box, volleyed it to himself once and then feathered a shot over the traffic and expertly into goal.
The Timbers, 5-8-3, nearly netted the equalizer in the 57th minute when Jorge Perlaza got free in the box and blasted a shot inside the near post, but Nielsen deflected the ball clear of danger with a swat of his right hand.
Jack Jewsbury, who played eight seasons in Kansas City, nearly tied the game in the 89th minute with a 20-yard rocket that hooked inches wide of goal.
Sporting KC, 5-6-5, is 4-0-4 since May 21 and leapt into fourth place in the Eastern Conference with the result.