Timbers Play To Scoreless Draw With Houston In Sand-storm Conditions
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. — Conducting their third scrimmage of the preseason, the Portland Timbers played to a scoreless draw against the Houston Dynamo in gusting winds and a subsequent sand storm Saturday at Grande Sports World. The match was halted at the 80-minute mark due to the extreme weather conditions that created limited visibility on the field at times.
The draw was the Timbers’ third of the preseason, and the effort of the team was praised by head coach John Spencer, especially considering the conditions.
“The conditions were not ideal – far from it – but we worked hard, we closed down and we did all the things we asked the guys do to show a good attitude and compete,” Spencer said. “I have nothing but positives to say for the group; we took another step forward in a positive direction.”
Portland had the advantage of playing with the wind at its back in the first half and put pressure on the Dynamo early as a result. Midfielder Jeremy Hall found Kenny Cooper in the box in the 14th minute, and Cooper’s header forced a diving stop by goalkeeper Tally Hall. Three minutes later, defender Rodney Wallace got it in to forward Ryan Pore in the box from his attacking position, but Tally Hall again came up with the diving save.
Houston’s best chance of the half came in the 35th minute as Lovel Palmer squared up from just outside the box, but Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins laid out effectively to collect the ball.
Despite second-half headwinds limiting Portland’s opportunities, Darlington Nagbe slotted a pass through to Pore behind the Houston backline in the 52nd, but Pore’s low shot went wide at close range as goalkeeper Tyler Deric challenged.
Saturdays’ scrimmage was one of four originally scheduled during the team’s current 10-day training camp at Grande Sports World, but the Timbers’ match against the U.S. U-18 National Team scheduled to follow the Houston scrimmage was cancelled due to the weather conditions. Portland will resume training Sunday and is next scheduled to face the Montreal Impact on Wednesday at 11 a.m. (MT) at Grande Sports World.
POR: GK Perkins, D Purdy, D Brunner, D Goldthwaite, D Wallace, M J. Hall (Zizzo, 46), M Marcelin, M Lowry (McManus, 79), M Nagbe (Merino Ramirez, 71), F Cooper (Thompson, 71), F Pore
HOU: GK T. Hall (Deric, 46), D Freeman (Sarkodie, 46), D Hainault (Boswell, 46), D Taylor (Robinson, 46), D Chabala (Graye, 46), M Cobo (Cruz, 46), M Palmer (Edwards, 46), M Cameron (Dixon, 46), M Davis (Soto, 46), F Ching (Weaver, 46), F Bruin (Garey, 46)
HOU: Boswell (caution) 48
· The Timbers were split into two teams for Saturday games with the expected second match against the U.S. U-18 National Team. As such, Portland used limited subs, while the Dynamo went with two squads that played 45 minutes each during their final match of their Arizona camp.
· Twenty eight players are currently in camp with the Timbers in Casa Grande. Non-roster forward Jorge Perlaza is expected to rejoin the Timbers Saturday evening, upping the total to 29.
· Trialist Roberto Merino Ramirez, who joined the team Friday, came in for Nagbe in the 71st minute.
· Recently acquired midfielder Sal Zizzo made his first appearance in a scrimmage with the Timbers, coming on to start the second half.