Major League Soccer - Providence Park
06/20/2015: Sunny, 26C/79F
Pre-game records: Portland Timbers (W6-D4-L5-22pts) vs. Houston Dynamo (W5-D5-L5-20pts)
Portland Timbers – GLK Adam Larsen Kwarasey, DEF Alvas Powell, DEF Liam Ridgewell, DEF Norberto Paparatto, DEF Jorge Villafana, MID Rodney Wallace, MID Diego Chara, MID Will Johnson, MID Darlington Nagbe, MID Gaston Fernandez, FWD Maximiliano Urruti. Formation: 4-2-3-1.
New England Revolution: GLK Tyler Deric, DEF DaMarcus Beasley, DEF Raul Rodriguez, DEF David Horst, DEF Kofi Sarkodie, MID Alexander Lopez, MID Ricardo Clark, MID Luis Garrido, MID Nathan Sturgis, MID Leonel Miranda, FWD Will Bruin. Formation: 4-5-1.
Game 16 of the MLS season:
It was another glorious day in the Rose City of Portland as the Timbers took on the Houston Dynamo at Providence Park. The home side had hit a real run of form with 3 league wins (and 1 U.S. Open Cup victory at Seattle) on the spin and were looking to continue their rise up the MLS standings. Caleb Porter almost had a full deck to choose from and there is little doubt that the returns of Diego Valeri and Will Johnson from long injury lay-offs had inspired the team in recent weeks. The away side were hoping to grab something to help improve their indifferent season thus far with recent form beginning to shows signs of improvement and Will Bruin on 7 goals and Giles Barnes on 6 for the season thus far, the latter was not available for selection as he was with the Jamaica squad in Chile for the Copa America.
10 mins: The Timbers attacked from the outset and dominated the first 10 minutes without really creating too many chances as the Houston Dynamo sat back and from the outset looked to soak up pressure and hope to break on the counter attack. Even Will Bruin was finding himself going deep as the away side found it difficult to get their foot on the ball.
12 mins: As Portland looked to create on the offensive, Gaston Fernandez fired the first real attempt on goal of the evening from just outside the penalty area centrally but his shot went wide of the right hand post. All Portland in the early stages.
16 mins: Goal disallowed for the Houston Dynamo for a foul on Villafana from the corner. The ball nestles in the back of the net but it was a foul by Raul Rodriguez according to referee Toledo.
30 mins: Still no score but the Houston Dynamo were beginning to get into the game and match the home side in possession much to the frustration of Caleb Porter who had some stern words for Gaston Fernandez and Darlington Nagbe while DaMarcus Beasley was receiving treatment. Liam Ridgewell to a ball to the face shortly afterwards that might knock many down but he got up and battled on. The referee checked that he was okay and Liam adjusted his socks for proof as he likes to do almost 60 times in any single game.
35 mins: Darlington Nagbe won a free kick on the left hand side about 40 yards from goal and Jorge Villafana swung over a beauty for Urruti to head into the net from 12 yards past Deric. Portland Timbers 1-0 Houston Dynamo.
38 mins: Alves Powell tried a cheeky chip-cross at goal and Deric was almost caught out as he just got a hand to it to tip it over the crossbar. The Portland Timbers were really beginning to dominate again winning plenty of corners. As the half time whistle blew, the home side will have been happy to have broken the deadlock but feel that they could have been up by 2 with the pressure that they applied at the end of the half particularly.
Half Time Score: Portland Timbers 1-0 Houston Dynamo
Shots: Portland Timbers 3-4 Houston Dynamo
Possession: Portland Timbers 56%-44% Houston Dynamo
52 mins: Quite a strange game for taking the ball straight to the face as Liam Ridgewell accidentally smacks it right to the head of Will Bruin. Ridgewell took one to the head in the first half himself. Bruin looked a little dazed but was okay to continue thankfully.
60 mins: Penalty! David Horst fouled Jorge Villafana in the penalty area while a corner was floated in and receives a booking, more importantly, it was a penalty kick to the home side. Gaston Fernandez fires home into the bottom right hand corner. Portland Timbers 2-0 Houston Dynamo.
70 mins: Another booking for the away side as Garrido commits a foul. The Portland Timbers take the free kick and it’s another beauty from the excellent Villafana, Wallace got a touch on it and it almost fell for Liam Ridgewell but it was just inches too far in front of him. The home side were looking supremely comfortable at this point.
75 mins: Valeri made a pretty swift impact as he cut inside from the left after excellent work from Urruti to win the ball on the half way line. Valeri’s shot is deflected and it almost scrambles to Will Johnson who was just itching to hit it but it was cleared by the last defender.
84 mins: As the Timbers took their foot of the gas and allowed the away side to come on to them, Garrido found himself inside the box and although stumbling to control the ball, he somehow managed an athletic shot that looped over Kwarasey and onto the crossbar. Houston did fight right to the very end.
The Portland Timbers another well-deserved victory as they made it 4 straight league victories in a row (5 wins in a row if you include the MLS Open Cup win at Seattle). Urruti and Fernandez are gelling well and when you have Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi to bring on, Caleb Porter must be really enjoying the way that the Timbers are playing. High possession and a sound defensive pack are making for a good recipe right now and as this team faces 5 games in 15 days (this being the first), they have a decent looking squad that has plenty of players that can come in and rotate with the first XI.
For the Houston Dynamo, disappointment for coach Owen Coyle but his team are certainly strong enough to still mount a challenge and make the play offs and it was never going to be easy without Giles Barnes who was on international duty with Jamaica and having to face a team in such good form. Caleb Porter will be delighted with the result and if his team can keep this going, they might find themselves in with a shout of the Supporters Shield come the end of the season.
Full Time Score: Portland Timbers 2-0 Houston Dynamo
Shots: Portland Timbers 6 (2)–9 (1) Houston Dynamo
Possession: Portland Timbers 52% – 48% Houston Dynamo
MOTM: Jorge Villafana