PORTLAND, Ore. – Ryan Johnson delivered the first win of the Portland Timbers’ 2013 campaign in style, breaking open a rough-and-tumble stalemate against the Houston Dynamo with a second-half brace in a 2-0 victory on a rain-drenched Saturday night at JELD-WEN Field.
Not only was it the first victory for first-year head coach Caleb Porter, it was also a feel-good win against the two-time defending MLS Cup runners-up after two key Timbers players were lost to nasty injuries in the first half.
It also marked the first time the Timbers – who jumped into seventh place in the Western Conference with six points – have taken three points from Houston.
The Dynamo walk away empty handed for the second time in two road games, dropping them to third place in the East with nine points from five games.
Portland didn’t miss on their next chance, however, when Johnson took a perfectly placed cross from Diego Chara in the 55th minute and nudged it by Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall with a lunging left-footed attempt.
Johnson added to his memorable night when he broke free down the left flank and buried his shot inside the far post after Nagbe had won the ball deep, then played him through following some combination play with Kalif Alhassan.
Houston did little to threaten the Portland lead as the Timbers continually pressed the issue. The Dynamo finished with just one shot on goal in the second half.
It was a different tale in the first half.
The bodies started falling in the 16th minute when Horst awkwardly contested a Giles Barnes run into the area, crumpling to the turf writhing in pain after his ankle rolled. He was stretchered off and replaced by second-year center back Andrew Jean-Baptiste.
Then Valeri was sent sprawling in the 25th minute when he took a Jermaine Taylor forearm to the face on a 50-50 ball. The playmaker was aided off by trainers and replaced with Alhassan.
In stoppage time, Timbers defender Mikael Silvestre was booked when he went in on Barnes, who had to be helped off the field. Barnes would return in the second half.
As for the soccer, Houston provided the most dangerous looks despite a lot of Portland possession, resulting in just one shot on goal for each team.
In the 32nd minute, Cam Weaver was too strong on a point-blank look at the goal, sending his attempt over the cross bar, off an Andrew Driver cross that came through the area untouched.
Then just two minutes later, a low left-footed screamer by Brad Davis required a diving save from Donovan Ricketts.
Portland remains at home for their next game Sunday against the San Jose Earthquakes. Houston returns home for a Sunday game against Chicago.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.
Portland Timbers (1-1-3, 6pts) vs. Houston Dynamo (3-2-0, 9pts)
April 6, 2013 – JELD-WEN Field (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 0 2 2
Houston Dynamo 0 0 0
POR: R. Johnson (Chara), 55
POR: R. Johnson (Nagbe), 73
HOU: Driver (Caution), 36
HOU: Silvestre (Caution), 45+2
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Ricketts, D Jewsbury, D Horst (Jean-Baptiste, 18), D Silvestre, D Harrington, M Chara, M Valeri (Alhassan, 29), M Johnson, W. ©, F Nagbe, F Johnson, R. (Piquionne, 88), F Wallace
Substitutes Not Used: GK Kocic, D Miller, M Zemanski, F Valencia
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Four players, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (R. Johnson, 2); FOULS: 10 (
Chara, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 2
HOU: GK Hall, D Ashe, D Taylor, D Boswell, D Sarkodie, M Davis ©, M Moffat (Creavalle, 64), M Driver, M Clark (Cummings, 81), F Weaver (Ching, 71), F Barnes
Substitutes Not Used: GK Deric, D Brunner, D Chabala, M Camargo
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Moffat, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Ching, Davis, 1); FOULS: 11 (Driver, Taylor, 3); OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 4
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Assistant Referees: Ian Anderson, Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Rain, 56 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial