PORTLAND, Ore. – Behind three second-half goals, the Portland Timbers recorded their third win of the season with a 4-2 win against the Houston Dynamo before a sold-out crowd of 21,144 fans at Providence Park on Saturday night. With the win, the Timbers are unbeaten in their first three league games, continuing the team’s strongest start to a season in the club’s MLS era.
Midfielder Diego Valeri recorded his second brace in three games played in the win against Houston, while forward Fanendo Adi and midfielder David Guzmán each added a goal and an assist in the second half. With the four-goal production against the Dynamo, Portland has scored 10 goals so far this season, marking the most goals scored through the first three games to start a season across all eras in club history (since 1975).
Opening the first half on the front foot, the Timbers (3-0-0, 9pts) scored just 11 minutes into the match when Valeri converted from the penalty spot, blasting his effort down the middle after defender DeMarcus Beasley was called for a handball in the box.
Following the Timbers opening finish, Houston (2-1-0, 6pts) managed to score a pair of goals late in the first half, with forward Erick Torres scoring a penalty kick in the 38th minute, before forward Romell Quioto scored two minutes into stoppage time.
Attacking early in the second half, Portland found the equalizing goal when Valeri scored his second goal of the game in the 58th minute, tallying his fourth finish of the season. The goal took place after defender Zarek Valentin’s cross into the area found Valeri on the edge of the six-yard box, with the midfielder whipping a header into the far corner to bring the home side level. With the finish, Valeri has scored the second-most goals in the league to start the season.
After putting Houston under pressure for the majority of the second half, Portland took the lead in the 66th minute when a clever pass from midfielder Darlington Nagbe resulted in Guzmán’s first goal for the Timbers. After receiving Nagbe’s pass in the box, Guzmán took a quick touch over goalkeeper Tyler Deric, before calmly slotting the ball into the back of the net.
With two minutes remaining in the game, Portland extended its lead when a crafty through ball from Guzmán released Adi in behind the Dynamo defense. Taking a touch past Deric, Adi turned and fired a shot off the far post and into the bottom corner, propelling the Timbers to a two-goal lead in the 88th minute. With the finish, Adi has scored in seven consecutive home games for Portland, dating back to the 2016 season, with the Timbers winning all seven of those matches. Additionally, Adi currently ranks third in MLS for goals scored.
Outshooting Houston 13-1 in the second half, Portland created a number of chances to score in the final 45 minutes of play, including midfielder Diego Chara’s curling effort from the top of the box in the 54th minute of the play, with the midfielder just skimming the crossbar. In the 67th minute, just one minute after taking the lead, Portland came close to extending its advantage when Adi chested the ball down inside the box, before firing a strong shot on target that was blocked by a last-ditch tackle.
In the 79th minute, Adi came close to scoring another chance when Nagbe and Valeri combined to find the striker in the box, creating a close-range shot on target, but Deric managed to charge off his line and make a strong save on the striker’s effort.
Next up, the Timbers will travel to MAPFRE Stadium to face Columbus Crew SC on Saturday, March 25. Beginning at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific), the March 25 match will be broadcast live on ROOT SPORTS with local radio broadcasts on 750 AM/102.9 FM The Game (English) and La GranD 1150 AM/93.5 FM (Spanish).
Portland Timbers (3-0-0, 9pts) vs. Houston Dynamo (2-1-0, 6pts)
March 18, 2017 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Houston Dynamo 2 0 2
Portland Timbers 1 3 4
POR: Valeri (Penalty kick), 11
HOU: Torres (Penalty kick), 38
HOU: Quioto (Elis), 45+2
POR: Valeri (Valentin, Adi), 58
POR: Guzmán (Nagbe), 66
POR: Adi (Guzmán), 88
POR: Guzmán (Caution), 20
POR: Miller (Caution), 34
POR: Blanco (Caution), 37
POR: Chara (Caution), 39
HOU: Torres (Caution), 39
POR: Nagbe (Caution), 76
Lineups & Stats:
POR: GK Gleeson, D Powell, D Olum, D Miller, D Valentin, M Guzmán, M Chara, M Blanco, M Valeri ©, M Nagbe, F Adi
Substitutes Not Used: GK Attinella, D Myers, D Okugo, M Zemanski, M Barmby, M Asprilla, F Mattocks
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Adi, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Adi, 4); FOULS: 8 (Guzmán, 2); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 4
HOU: GK Deric, D DeLaGarza, Dis, F Machado, D Leonardo, D Juan Cabezas, M Alex, M Clark © (Garcia, 72(, F Elis (Wenger, 72), F Quioto, F Torres (Manotas, 83)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Brown, D Anibaba, M Holland, M Sanchez
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Alex, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Quioto, Torres, 2); FOULS: 8 (Beasley, Clark, 2); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 2
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Peter Manikowski, Jeffrey Hosking
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Weather: Clear, 42 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial