Professional Soccer

Timbers Overcome Two-Goal Deficit To Earn 2-2 Draw Against Houston Dynamo

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Behind second-half goals from midfielder DaLogo Portland Timbers 1250x1250rlington Nagbe and forward Lucas Melano, the Portland Timbers overcame a two-goal halftime deficit to earn a 2-2 draw against the Houston Dynamo in front of a sellout crowd of 21,144 fans at Providence Park on Friday night.

Melano, who registered his first goal as a member of the Timbers and also tallied an assist in the match, netted the game-tying goal with a well-placed, right-footed volley from near the penalty spot off a pinpoint assist from midfielder Diego Valeri in the 86th minute. The result helped the Timbers extend their home unbeaten streak at Providence Park to nine consecutive matches (6-0-3), dating back to a scoreless draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on May 2. Additionally, Portland moved into a tie for third place in the Western Conference standings with Sporting Kansas City and sits just three points shy of the LA Galaxy (43pts) in first place.

Trailing by two goals with 15 minutes remaining in the match, Nagbe engineered Portland’s opening goal in the 75th minute. Taking on several defenders, Nagbe maneuvered toward the top of the penalty box before laying the ball off to Melano. The forward took two touches before sending a short pass back into Nagbe’s path inside the penalty box as the midfielder delivered a left-footed effort between the legs of Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric and into the back of the net to trim Portland’s deficit to one goal.

Controlling the run of play, Portland (11-8-7, 40pts) saw an early free kick from Valeri miss just wide of the right post in the third minute and a point-blank shot from Melano saved by Deric in the 37th minute. Houston (8-9-8, 32pts) grabbed the lead against the run of play in the 40th minute as midfielder Boniek Garcia delivered a low shot that settled just inside the far left post following an assist from forward Will Bruin. Just minutes later, Houston found a second goal off a quick counterattack as midfielder Brad Davis played Bruin into the penalty box and the forward finished a well-placed, low shot inside the far left post in the 45th minute.

The Timbers finished with a 17-11 advantage in total shots, including a 12-6 edge in the second half. During the second-half comeback, Portland held the Dynamo without a shot for a stretch of 32 minutes and saw attempts on frame from defender Jorge Villafaña and Valeri saved by Deric before Nagbe’s breakthrough goal.

Portland saw its streak without conceding a goal end at 313 consecutive minutes with Houston’s goal in the first half. The 313-minute shutout streak from July 25-Aug. 21 ranks as the fourth-longest in MLS this season.

Next up, the Timbers travel to take on Cascadia-rival Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday, Aug. 30, at CenturyLink Field in Seattle; kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. (Pacific). The match against Sounders FC will be carried live nationally on ESPN with a local radio broadcast on 750/102.9 The Game and in Spanish on La GranD 93.5 FM.