Gastón Fernández registered a first-half equalizer, goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts
made four saves and the Timbers controlled nearly 60 percent of the possession
to earn a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday afternoon at BBVA
Compass Stadium in Houston.
The Timbers (0-3-5, 5pts) conceded the opening goal against the run of play as Houston forward Will Bruin staked the Dynamo (2-4-2, 8pts) to an early lead with a header from close range in the 16th minute. Controlling nearly 70 percent of the possession in the first half, Portland found the game-tying goal through Fernández in the 33rd minute as the forward netted his team-leading third goal of the season, depositing a strong shot into the back of the net from just behind the penalty spot.
On the road for a second consecutive match, Portland dictated the pace for large portions against the Dynamo and extended their unbeaten streak against Houston to three consecutive matches (1-0-2), dating back to the 2012 season. Portland remains one of only three MLS teams that has not lost at BBVA Compass Stadium since it opened in 2012.
Portland held Houston to just one shot on goal in the second half. Midfielder Diego Valeri saw a low drive from the right side of the box saved by Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall in the 39th minute. During the buildup, the referee played the advantage for Portland after Fernández was fouled, but midfielder Diego Chara was there to continue the attack before sliding a pass to Valeri inside the box.
Chara had a quick effort saved inside the first minute of the match and forward Kalif Alhassan had a low shot toward the near post stopped in the 32nd minute before Fernández tallied the equalizer for the Timbers. The tally marked Fernández's third game-tying goal of the season. In second-half stoppage time, substitute midfielder Michael Nanchoff dribbled into the right side of the box and delivered a left-footed shot that was blocked by Houston defender Jermaine Taylor.
On the defensive end, Ricketts came up with a crucial save on Houston's only shot on target during the second half, quickly reacting to smother a point-blank effort from Bruin in the 71st minute.
The Timbers return home for three straight matches at Providence Park starting Saturday, May 3, against D.C. United; kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). Saturday's match against D.C. United will be carried live on ROOT SPORTS with local radio broadcasts on 750 The Game and in Spanish on La Pantera 940AM.
Release from Portland Timbers.