In the first road game of the season, Houston Dynamo FC looked to build on their win after their season opener against the San Jose Earthquakes. Traveling to Providence Park to take on the Portland Timbers, Houston showed flashes of their potential, but they were unable to come away with any points.
The Timbers came out with a lot of energy in the opening minutes. They used a largely different starting XI than week 1 with a CONCACAF Champion’s league game on their schedule next week. Yimmi Chará got an early shot off inside the first minute and the Timbers used a high line and lots of balls over the top to keep Houston dug in on defense.
After controlling the tempo and chances early, the home side would get the opening goal. The Dynamo had struggled to keep possession moving up the field and Portland would win it back. Pablo Bonilla beat his defender Adam Lundkvist and sent a cross into the box. Dairon Asprilla one touched it passed Marko Marić to make it 1-0 Portland.
The Dynamo responded well by pushing higher up the field and getting a few chances to equalize. Some nice give and go’s between Memo Rodríguez and Joe Corona inside the Timbers’ 18 yard box ended up with a shot by Fafà Picault but they were unable to equalize 15 minutes into the fixture.
Tyler Pasher, who switched to the right side, got free and made a great run which resulted in a corner for the Dynamo. After a well designed short corner, Pasher whipped in a ball which came off the head of Christian Paredes and into the goal tying the game up in the 28th minute.
The momentum was with the visiting Dynamo for much of the remainder of the half, but the game had gotten more physical with the Timbers winning some free kicks in dangerous spots. However, they were unable to make the best of those chances. Pasher nearly got the go-ahead goal before halftime. He got free and wanted to cut into his favored left to shoot, but that route was well defended so instead of firing a shot with space with his right foot, he took a touch towards goal and his effort was kept out of the goal.
Portland made some halftime adjustments bringing on Diego Valeri and Dario Župarić and were able to increase some of their possession while taking Pasher out of the game in the opening minutes of the second half.
After a pretty long lull in the play, Fafà Picault sprang on a poor pass out of the back and took the ball towards the end line. His cross was a dangerous one across goal, but there wasn’t anyone there to get on the end of it. After bouncing around the 18 yard box, the Timbers were finally able to clear the ball.
The substitute Felipe Mora got himself involved to get the home side the lead back. A long ball to him saw Mora head the ball back to Christian Paredes who banged the ball into the net.
Marko Marić nearly gifted Portland the dagger in the 85th minute. He caught a long cross into the box and spilled it. Luckily Tim Parker was able to get in front of the shot and keep the Timbers’ lead at one.
The Dynamo looked drained physically and mentally down the stretch and gave up a lot of space in the midfield which allowed Portland to kill the game off. Overall, it wasn’t a bad effort with some positives and lessons to be learned, but the changes that Portland made at halftime and throughout the second half coupled with occasionally switching off allowed the home side to win. The team would’ve liked to come away with a road point, but this team still has some growing to do.
Up next for the Dynamo is an early afternoon game next Saturday on May 1st where they’ll return back to BBVA Stadium to take on LAFC at 2:30 PM CT.
6’ POR: Dairon Asprilla (assisted by Pablo Bonilla)
28’ HOU: Christian Paredes (own goal)
73’ POR: Christian Paredes (assisted by Felipe Paredes)
26’ POR: Dairon Asprilla (yellow card)
36’ HOU: Zarek Valentin (yellow card)
37’ HOU: Maxi Urruti (yellow card)
40’ POR: Claudio Bravo (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Marko Marić; Adam Lundkvist, Oscar Boniek García , Tim Parker, Zarek Valentin; Matías Vera, Memo Rodríguez (87’ Christian Ramirez), Joe Corona (76’ Derrick Jones); Tyler Pasher, Maxi Urruti (78’ Darwin Quintero), Fafà Picault (74’ Ariel Lassiter)
Portland Timbers (4-2-3-1): Jeff Attinella; Claudio Bravo, Bill Tuiloma, Larrys Mabiala (HT Dario Župarić), Pablo Bonilla (82’ Josecarlos Van Rankin); Diego Chará, Marvin Loría (74’ Eryk Williamson); Dairon Asprilla, Christian Paredes, Yimmi Chará (HT Diego Valeri); Blake Bodily (60’ Felipe Mora)