With his team losing 2-0 to the visiting Houston Dynamo in June, Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter surveyed his locker room at half time.
“We can't do anything about the first half; it wasn't good,” Porter told his players. “But what we can do is make up for it.”
In the second half, that's exactly what the Timbers did, outshooting the Dynamo 11-5 (with a 6-1 edge in shots on target).
After knocking on the door for the first 17 minutes of the second half, the Timbers finally broke through when forward Lucas Melano ran in behind the Dynamo defense and finished a perfectly-placed pass from teammate Diego Valeri past Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis.
It would take nearly 20 more minutes of almost constant pressure before the Timbers would equalize. This time, Valeri himself scored, stepping up to the penalty spot after a Dynamo player was whistled for handling the ball in the box.
Then, in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, Valeri scored his second from the spot. With the goal, Valeri became the first Timber in team history to score two penalty kick goals in a single match.
“The next goal was key,” Porter said after the match of Melano's opening goal. “We got the next goal at a good time, the 63rd minute or so, which gave us time to score the next two. I knew if we got the next goal we could do it. I told these guys that I believe if [Houston] scored two first half that we could score three second half.”
The Timbers had left it late, but they had done it, turning around a first-half two-goal deficit with three unanswered second-half goals. That result marked the first time in franchise history – across all eras – that the Timbers had overcome a two-goal deficit to win a match in regulation.