TUCSON, Ariz. – A pair of goals in the final 10 minutes, scored by midfielder Will Johnson and forward Maximiliano Urruti, combined with the club’s shutout performance led the Portland Timbers to a 2-0 win against the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday in a preseason match played at Kino Sports Complex.
The Timbers (1-0-1 in preseason), playing in their second preseason game while in Tucson, and Dynamo (1-2-0 in preseason) divided the match into three, 30-minute periods.
Maintaining possession and consistent pressure during the final half-hour, the Timbers notched the go-ahead goal in the 80th minute when Urruti dispossessed a Dynamo player near midfield and started a counterattack. Building through a combination with forward Gastón Fernández, Urruti dribbled into the left side of the penalty box before laying the ball off for Johnson, who was making a run from midfield. Johnson took the pass and scored with a shot inside the far right post.
Just three minutes later, Fernández combined with Urruti again. Fernández took a pass with space to move in the middle of the field and threaded a pass to Urruti as he entered the penalty box. Urruti delivered a well-placed shot to the lower right corner for a two-goal lead in the 83rd minute.
Timbers goalkeepers Donovan Ricketts and Andrew Weber combined to record Portland’s first shutout of the preseason, neither facing much pressure from the Houston offense during the match. Houston saw a volley from forward Giles Barnes denied by Ricketts in the 74th minute and a second-half stoppage time threat cleared out of the box by defender Jack Jewsbury following an initial sliding stop from Ricketts.
Opening the match without allowing Houston a quality opportunity on goal, the Timbers developed a rhythm in the second 30-minute period as midfielder Kalif Alhassan saw two well-struck efforts saved by Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall. Alhassan connected with a pass from defender Jorge Villafaña inside the left side of the penalty box, forcing Hall to parry the shot out for a corner kick in the 37th minute. Alhassan was then turned away again in the 49th minute as Hall made a diving save on a low drive to the near post.
Urruti nearly put the Timbers ahead in the 71st minute when midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe lofted a pass into space for Urruti on the right flank. Urruti settled the pass with room to run at goal and saw his low shot hit off the left post and bounce right into the hands of Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
The Timbers play Seattle Sounders FC in their next preseason match Saturday, Feb. 8, at Kino Sports Complex at 5 p.m. (Pacific). The match will be streamed live at www.timbers.com.
Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS Preseason)
Feb. 5, 2014 – Kino Sports Complex (Tucson, Ariz.)
*Match composed of three, 30-minute periods
POR: Johnson (Urruti, Fernández), 80
POR: Urruti (Fernández), 83
POR: GK Andrew Weber (Donovan Ricketts, 60), D Jorge Villafaña (Michael Harrington, 60), D Futty Danso (Norberto Paparatto, 60), D Rauwshan McKenzie (Pa Modou Kah, 60), D Alvas Powell (Bryan Gallego, 45)(Jack Jewsbury, 60), M Aaron Long^ (George Fochive^, 45)(Diego Chara, 60), M Ben Zemanski (Gastón Fernández, 60), M Kalif Alhassan (Will Johnson, 60), F Michael Nanchoff (Darlington Nagbe, 60), F Frederic Piquionne (Maximiliano Urruti, 60), F Victor Chavez^ (Taylor Peay^, 30)(Schillo Tshuma^, 60)
HOU: GK Tally Hall (Tyler Deric, 60); D Mike Chabala, D David Horst (Eric Brunner, 45), D A.J. Cochran^ (Anthony Arena, 45)(A.J. Cochran^, 60), D Euan Holden* (Corey Ashe, 45); M Alex López (Boniek Garcia, 45), M Servando Carrasco (Ricardo Clark, 45), M Sito Seoane* (Giles Barnes, 45), F Brian Ownby (Tony Cascio, 45), F Mark Sherrod^ (Omar Cummings, 45), F Jason Johnson (Will Bruin, 45)
* Trialist/guest player; ^ 2014 MLS SuperDraft pick
Wednesday’s match marked the third preseason meeting all-time between the Timbers and Houston Dynamo. The two sides met previously in preseason on Feb. 19, 2011, and Feb. 12, 2012. Portland has earned a 2-0-1 record against Houston in preseason play and has not conceded a goal against the club in three preseason matches.
Timbers defender Michael Harrington made his preseason debut with the club, playing the final 30-minute period. Harrington was previously in an extended training camp with the U.S. Men’s National Team until Feb. 1.
- Timbers midfielder Diego Chara, defender Bryan Gallego and fourth-round MLS SuperDraft pick Victor Chavez each saw their first action of the preseason on Wednesday. In total, 25 players saw action against the Dynamo.