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Bill Tuiloma scores in Timbers’ 1-0 victory over Austin

Updated: Mar. 12, 2022 at 8:19 PM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Bill Tuiloma scored on a diving header in the second half and the Portland Timbers handed Austin its first loss of the season with a 1-0 victory Saturday night.

Tuiloma’s goal came off Yimmi Chara’s free kick in the 62nd minute to keep Portland undefeated in its first three matches of the year.

Austin got off to a hot start, with 10 combined goals in its first two games. But those goals came in wins against FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami, so the road match against the Timbers — who went to the MLS Cup final last year — was the team’s first true test.

Portland got back-to-back draws in its first two matches, against New England and LAFC. Chara had bicycle-kick goals in each of those games, earning him consecutive MLS Team of the Week spots.

Sebastian Driussi, who leads Austin with three goals and two assists, appeared to score on a tap-in in the 32nd minute but he was offside.

Portland’s best first-half chance came in the 40th, but Tuiloma’s attempt caromed off the post and the game was scoreless at the break.

The second half started in a downpour at Providence Park before Tuiloma’s diving header.

Defender Justin Rasmussen, the 27th pick in the MLS SuperDraft out of Grand Canyon, made his first start for the Timbers. Left back Claudio Bravo was suspended for the game after a red card against LAFC last weekend.

The Timbers Army supporters’ group set off purple smoke bombs following Tuiloma’s goal to show support for victims of domestic violence. A former Portland player, Andy Polo, was accused by his estranged wife of abuse. Sheriff’s deputies were called to Polo’s home last May and he was cited but never charged with misdemeanor harassment.

The Timbers picked up the option on Polo’s contract last December, but he was terminated last month after his estranged wife came forward with the allegations. He has denied them.

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