Portland Timbers beat Sporting KC 3-2 to advance to MLS Cup Final

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KANSAS CITY, KANSAS - NOVEMBER 29: Sebastian Blanco #10 of Portland Timbers celebrates with teammates after scoring during leg 2 of the Conference Championship against the Sporting Kansas City at Children's Mercy Park on November 29, 2018 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS (November 29, 2018) – The atmosphere was electric from before first kick at Children’s Mercy Park. 20,000 Sporting KC fans filled the stadium to watch their team do what it had done all year—win at home.

Portland Timbers beat Sporting KC 3-2 to advance to MLS Cup Final

All Sporting KC had to do was defeat a Portland Timbers team that it held scoreless in 270 minutes of play in three games this year. Unfortunately for Kansas City, Portland saved their best game for last, earning a 3-2 victory and advancing to the MLS Cup Final.

Portland Timbers beat Sporting KC 3-2 to advance to MLS Cup Final

Sporting KC knew they had to start off the game pressing hard in the attack. For the first 20 minutes of the game, it was SKC who were clearly on the front foot. Portland was able to hold off the intense Kansas City barrage until the 20th minute, when Daniel Salloi found the net for the home side.

A poor clearance from a Portland defender left the ball for Diego Rubio just to the right of the net. Rubio looked up and saw Salloi on the far post and sent the ball across goal for the easy tap in.

Sporting KC’s dream start almost doubled in score four minutes later when Daniel Salloi headed a corner kick into the back of the net, but the offside flag raised on Ike Opara saved Portland from a detrimental second first-half goal allowed.

Portland tried to muster an attack throughout the remainder of the half, but outside of one real chance on goal the Timbers weren’t able to do much in Sporting KC’s half.

Things quickly turned around in the 2nd half, though. Sebastian Blanco fired a golazo from nearly 35 yards out straight into the back of the net, clearly catching Tim Melia and the rest of the Sporting KC defense off guard, to level the score at 1-1.

Not ten minutes more passed until Portland struck again. Andy Polo got through with a one-on-one chance against Tim Melia. The Sporting KC keeper punched the shot away, but a trailing Diego Valeri was there to head the ball into the empty net to put Portland up 2-1.

Sporting KC looked to be dead in the water, but an 81st minute goal by Gerso near the penalty spot gave Kansas City a bit of hope.

Nine minutes of stoppage time seemed to re-energize the Sporting KC crowd as much as the goal, but despite SKC’s hard press, the game ended in a 2-2 draw, sending Portland through.

But despite Sporting KC’s best efforts, they couldn’t find the net, and a last minute goal from Diego Valeri put the game away for the Timbers.

The Portland Timbers will travel to face Atlanta United in the MLS Cup Final on Saturday, December 8.

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