Behind Zuparic and Bravo goals, Portland earns point at home.
Led by goals from defenders Dario Zuparic and Claudio Bravo, the Portland Timbers continued collecting points earning a 2-2 draw against Austin FC at Providence Park on Saturday night.
Portland looked aggressive early on, making various approaches into Austin's box. They earned a couple of corner kicks with Franck Boli leading the attack, consistently putting Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver under pressure.
The deadlock would be broken in the 33rd minute, via some Brazilian-Croatian magic. After recovering an Austin clearance in the left sideline, Portland midfielder Evander collected the ball, and sent a pin-point cross into the box towards the far post. Towering over the defense was centerback Dario Zuparic, whose size was too much for defender Adam Lundqvist and put a strong header past Stuver. Zuparic's first goal of the 2023 campaign had the Timbers up 1-0 in the 33rd minute.
That score would be taken to the locker rooms for the halftime break.
In the second half, Austin found an equalizer just shy of the 60th minute of action with Jon Gallagher scoring for the visitors.
With their crowd behind them, Portland went on the attack looking to regain the lead. Over the next 10 minutes the Timbers looked dangerous, pushing Austin back into their final third and keeping their backline on alert. In the 71st minute, the pressure would fare too much for Austin.
Following a throw-in, midfielder Santiago Moreno dropped the ball to Evander at the edge of the box, his possession pulling four defenders. As Evander maintained control, he saw an open Claudio Bravo in the midfield, calling for the ball. With one touch forward after receiving it from Evander, Bravo unleashed a left-footed low bullet that grazed across the turf and past Stuver's lower right. It was the leftback's first ever goal with the Timbers, and it had them up 2-1 with just under 20 minutes to go.
Looking to salvage points on the road, Austin FC pushed forward. Two minutes into stoppage time, they found an equalizer via a Will Bruin header.
Portland made a final unsuccessful push with a couple of corner kicks, but the game was whistled to an end with a 2-2 result.
The draw keeps Portland in the playoff picture at 12 points. Portland stays at home for their next couple games with a U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 match midweek against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, May 10 (7:30pm PT, B/R Football YouTube) followed by a Cascadia clash with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, May 13 (7:30pm PT, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV).