Pamplin Media Group – Portland Timbers thrash Sporting KC with seven goals

Sebastian Blanco looks sharp, SKC’s defending doesn’t, as Portland scored six after halftime in cathartic home win.

A record-setting night at Providence Park Saturday had to be cathartic for the Portland Timbers and their fans, an announced gathering of 23,503 of whom witness the most goals in a match in club history.

With Sebastian Blanco back in the starting lineup and looking sharp, the Timbers made a struggling Sporting Kansas City club pay for every defensive lapse in a 7-2 win for Portland.

A match that the Timbers led 1-0 at halftime became flat-out wild starting with a wonderful Blanco goal — his first of the season — 28 seconds into the second half. New forward Nathan converted a pair of Blanco passes into goals and Marvin Loria and Santiago Moreno added classy finishes late in the match.

PMG PHOTO: DIEGO G. DIAZ - Ti.mbers players hold up six of their seven log slices for happy members of the Timbers Army after Saturday's 7-2 win over Sporting Kansas City at Providence Park.

Scoring plays

Timbers, 12th minute — Bill Tuiloma is wide open eight yards in front of goal and delivers a strong header. Eryk Williamson delivered the free kick from the right wing and Tuiloma was wide open in front. 1-0 Timbers. Timbers, 46th minute — Blanco scores with a perfect volley less than 30 seconds into the second half. Williamson dribbled to the end line then played a pass to Cristhian Paredes at the top of the 18. Paredes looped a pass into the 18 that Blanco struck first time. 2-0 Timbers. Timbers, 52nd minute — Blanco scored his second of the night (and this season) running in behind the defense, collecting a well-played forward pass from Yimmi Chara, driving into the penalty area and beating scrambling and frustrated goalkeeper Tim Melia. 3-0 Timbers. Timbers, 56th minute — Nathan Fogoca scores his first Timbers goal. Blanco found all kinds of room to dribble up the left side delivers a curling pass into the left side of the penalty area that Nathan clips past Melia, a classy finish for his first Timbers’ goal. 4-0 Timbers.

SKC , 57th minute — Johnny Russell found space at the far post to convert a Felipe Hernandez cross from the left wing. 4-1 Timbers.

Timbers, 69th minute — Nathan Fogaça scored his second, set up by a wall pass between Williamson and Blanco, who sent a cross into the center of the box for Nathanto convert from close range. 5-1 Timbers. SKC, 75th minute — Marinos Tzionis converted a Felipe Hernandez free kick from just outside the left aide of the 18-yard box. 5-2 Timbers. Timbers, 56th minute — Marvin Loria patiently turned on the ball in the box and drilled a shot into the top of the goal after Paredes intercepted a clearing attempt and found Loria with space on the right side of the box. 6-2 Timbers. Timbers, 90+2 minute — Santiago Moreno collected a forward ball into space from Diego Chara and dribbled around a defender and Melia to score. 7-2 Timbers.

PMG PHOTO: DIEGO G. DIAZ - Sebastian Blanco fires home the second of his two goals on Saturday.  Blanco's presence in the lineup helped the Portland Timbers to a record-setting 7k-2 MLS win over Sporting Kansas City at Providence Park.Big picture — The 100th MLS regular-season Timbers win at Providence Park was one for the ages. Yes, Sporting KC’s defending was, to put it nicely, sporting. But for a Portland team that has struggled to score goals and flubbed its share of decent chances this season, seeing so many technical finishes was refreshing.

Let’s start with how mush fun it is to watch a happy and healthy Seba Blanco perform. Everyone knows he’s a difference maker, but when he’s sidelined it’s easy to forget just how much of a difference he makes for this club.

Nathan Fogoca, who goes by Nathan, will certainly gain attention from opposing defenses after the newcomer demonstrated a knack for finding dangerous spots, and the quickness and determiningness to get to those spots. Suddenly, Portland might survive six more weeks without Felipe Mora and the current absence of Jaroslaw Niezgoda.

Eryk Williamson was a force in midfield. In addition to delivering the free kick for the opening goal, his skill and decision making with the ball at his feet was a significant factor in several goals.

And then, there’s what we’ve known for years: when Portland can find space on the counterattack, look out.

The one clear negative was another two yellow card night from right back Josecarlos Van Rankin, who will miss Wednesday’s match at San Jose. Outside back remains a dicey position for this team, with Van Rankin, Claudio Bravo (currently injured) and Pablo Bonilla all tending to attempt rash tackles. Justin Rasmussen is a rookie who has held up a reasonable well, but is not yet ready to be a permanent solution.

PMG PHOTO: DIEGO G. DIAZ - Santiago Moreno dribbles around Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia on his way to scoring the final goal in the Portland Timbers' 7-2 win on Saturday at Providence Park.Coach’s view — “All around, we spoke about how we wanted to have a little more character,” Giovanni Savarese said. “We wanted to make sure that the guys that step on the field brought a little bit more of that determined personality to make sure that we influenced the game the way we wanted, especially at home. I thought the guys did that.

“It’s great when you see (Blanco) creating what he created today. Guys finding each other, playing for each other, looking like a united group.”

Timbers next match — Portland at San Jose, 7:30 pm Wednesday, May 18 (FOX 12 Plus).


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