TUCSON, Ariz. – Playing their first preseason match since Feb. 3, the Portland Timbers battled the Houston Dynamo to a 1-1 draw at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz., as the Timbers completed their third match of the 2018 preseason. Midfielder Dairon Asprilla scored midway through the first half to bring the Timbers level, recording his first preseason goal in the new campaign.
The Timbers’ first group played 60 minutes for the first time this preseason, with the exception of midfielder Sebastián Blanco, who made way for midfielder Andy Polo in the 55th minute of play. Replacing Blanco 10 minutes into the second half, Polo played 35 minutes in Wednesday’s match, marking the most game minutes he’s played in the 2018 preseason. Polo previously played the final 20 minutes of the Timbers’ 2018 Mobile Mini Sun Cup match against Seattle Sounders FC on Feb. 3.
Midfielder Sebastián Blanco recorded his second assist in three preseason games played in the 1-1 draw against Houston, setting up Asprilla’s first-half finish in the 33rd minute of play. So far this preseason, Blanco has recorded an assist on both of the Timbers’ goals scored in three games played, previously tallying an assist on midfielder Diego Valeri’s goal against Sounders FC on Feb. 3.
Houston opened the scoring in the 12th minute of play when midfielder Arturo Alvarez received the ball on the right wing, cutting inside on his left foot to blast a driven effort into the far corner.
Three minutes later, the Timbers came close to equalizing once again when Valeri was released in behind for a close-range chance, with the midfielder hitting a well-placed effort that forced a strong save from goalkeeper Michael Nelson.
Moments after hitting the crossbar, Asprilla brought the Timbers level in the 33rd minute of play when he scored his first goal of the preseason. Asprilla’s goal occurred after Blanco made a strong run down the left side of the field, before driving a well-placed cross through the six-yard box, allowing Asprilla to convert from close range.
Late in the second half, the Timbers had a chance to take the lead when Polo drifted inside, running at the defense, before finding midfielder Jack Barmby in a pocket of space just inside the area. Cutting back onto his left foot, Barmby hit a low shot on target, forcing a save from goalkeeper Chris Seitz in the 77th minute of play.
Next up, the Timbers will resume play in the 2018 Mobile Mini Sun Cup when the team faces FC Dallas at Kino Sports Complex on Saturday, Feb. 17. Beginning at 11 a.m. (Pacific), Saturday’s match will be streamed live on www.timbers.com.
Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS Preseason)
Feb. 14, 2018 – Kino Sports Complex (Tucson, Ariz.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Houston Dynamo 1 0 1
Portland Timbers 1 0 1
HOU: Alvarez (Martinez), 12
POR: Asprilla (Blanco), 33
POR: Guzmán (Caution), 26
POR: Blanco (Caution), 30
HOU: Cabezas (Caution), 50
POR: Vytas (Ejection), 65
HOU: Elis (Caution), 85
POR: GK Gleeson, D Powell, D Mabiala, D Ridgewell, D Vytas, M Olum, M Guzmán, M Asprilla, M Valeri, M Blanco (Polo, 55), F Adi
POR: GK Gleeson, D Valentin, D Cascante, D Tuiloma, D Farfan, M Flores, M Paredes, M Polo, M Barmby, M Arboleda, F Ebobisse
HOU: GK Nelson (Chris Seitz 46), D Malki (Garcia, 46), D Fuenmayor (Machado, 46), D Leonardo (Senderos, 46), D Remick (Beasley, 46), M Ward (Alexander, 46), M Cerén (Cabezas, 46), M Alvarez (Elis, 46), F Martínez (García, 46), F Rodriguez (Wenger, 46), F Steeves (Manotas, 46)