PORTLAND, Ore. – Not content with the drama of a very late winner last week, the Portland Timbers weathered a two-goal deficit at halftime to come back and tie the Houston Dynamo 2-2 at Providence Park on Friday night.
Goals from Boniek Garcia and Will Bruin put the visitors ahead, before Darlington Nagbe narrowed the scoreline for the Timbers in the final quarter-hour, and Lucas Melano scored his first goal in a Timbers jersey to bring the hosts level.
Portland (11-8-7) move up to 40 points, and remain in 4th place in the Western Conference, while the Dynamo (8-9-8) stay in 8th place in the West on 32 points.
Portland had the first legitimate chance in the 11th minute. Alvas Powell, dribbling through the midfield, sent a terrific entry pass to Melano in Houston's box, and the Argentine sent a low cross to his compatriot Diego Valeri. But Valeri could not get a clean shot off from point blank range, and Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric smothered the ball.
Deric stepped up in the 37th minute, as he saved Melano's close-range shot off a Valeri cross to keep the score level.
His team rewarded his effort three minutes later with the opening goal. Following a partially cleared Dynamo corner kick, Garcia made a run in the box, received a short pass from Bruin, and buried the chance past Kwarasey.
Bruin then got his chance just before halftime, as Houston recovered the ball in midfield and headed down the field on an attack. Brad Davis sent a throughball to Bruin, who finished in the same area in Portland's box as Garcia minutes earlier.
Just after the break, the Dynamo nearly scored again when Liam Ridgewell's headed back pass to goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey was intercepted by Bruin, but Kwarasey was able to recover and block the chip attempt.
Portland had two solid appeals for penalties in the game, though both went unheeded by referee Ricardo Salazar. In the first, Davis appeared to handle the ball in the box on a Timbers corner kick in the 22nd minute, and then second-half substitute Fanendo Adi was kicked in the back of the leg in Houston's box at the hour mark.
After putting increasing pressure on the visitors in the second half, the Timbers finally found a breakthrough in the 76th minute. Melano held up the ball at the top of the box, surrounded by Dynamo defenders, and sent a pass to Nagbe, making a run into the box, and the midfielder sent the one-timer past Deric to make it 2-1.
Melano then got in on the action, notching his equalizer in the 86th minute, as he received the ball from Valeri and sent a diagonal shot through a crowded penalty area that made its way into the net.
The door was opened for the Dynamo late, however, as Diego Chara was shown a straight red card for an arm to the neck of Dynamo substitute Erick "Cubo" Torres in second-half stoppage time. Despite having possession for the game's dying moments, Houston could not find another go-ahead goal and the teams ended with a point apiece.
Portland will have a break before gearing up for a Cascadia showdown against the Seattle Sounders on Aug. 30, while Houston will head to Colorado for a clash on Wednesday against the Rapids.
Portland Timbers (11-8-7, 40pts) vs. Houston Dynamo (8-9-8, 32pts)
Aug. 21, 2015 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Houston Dynamo 2 0 2
Portland Timbers 0 2 2
HOU: Garcia (Bruin), 40
HOU: Bruin (Davis), 45
POR: Nagbe (Melano), 76
POR: Melano (Valeri), 86
HOU: Garcia (Caution), 32
HOU: Garrido (Caution), 73
POR: Chara (Ejection), 90+1
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Kwarasey, D Powell, D Borchers, D Ridgewell, D Villafaña (Asprilla, 82), M Johnson ©, M Chara, M Nagbe, M Valeri, M Wallace (Adi, 57), F Melano
Substitutes Not Used: GK Gleeson, D Paparatto, D Peay, M Jewsbury, F Urruti
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Johnson, Valeri, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Johnson, Melano, 2); FOULS: 15 (Chara, 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 10; SAVES: 1
HOU: GK Deric, D Williams, D Horst, D Rodriguez, D Sarkodie, M Alex, M Garrido, M Garcia, M Olabiyi (Sturgis, 61), M Davis © (Miranda, 89), F Bruin (Torres, 72)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Willis, D Cochran, M Lopez, F Manotas
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Bruin, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Bruin, 2); FOULS: 20 (Garrido, 6); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 5
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Assistant Referees: Mike Kampmeinert, Eduardo Mariscal
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Time of Game: n/a
Weather: Clear, 79 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial