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Timbers Fight Back and Claw out a Draw with Houston

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Timbers come back from a two goal deficit, Melano opens his account, but Chara's stoppage time red hurts.

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The game started out well for Portland but 40 minutes of "I can feel the goal coming" was undone by 5 minutes of "What are you doing?!" defending. Portland came out of the gate with everything except their shooting boots on. Houston ended the first half with 54.4% possession advantage but it didn't seem like it. Portland dominated Houston for the first 39 minutes and really seemed to have the match comfortably in their hands. But Houston had other ideas as they put two goals away in the final 5 minutes to go into the break leading 2-0.

Lucas Melano helped earn 4 of the first 5 corner kicks the Timbers had in the first 22 minutes of the match. And the Timbers really pressed Houston into their own half as Portland tried to convert their multitude of corners and opportunities. But the lack of finishing cost them as the defense lost track of time and ended the half 5 minutes before everyone else.

Boniek Garcia struck first in the 40th minute. Against the run of play he received the ball out wide and caught the Timbers defense napping. Kwarasey tried to close him down but Garcia was able to get his shot past Kwarasey from the tight angle and open the scoring for Houston. And then five minutes later nearly the same thing happened except it was Will Bruin who got past the defense, and sent his shot past Kwarasey in the 45th minute to put Houston up two over Portland.

When the second half started, neither side made any changes. Houston seemed content to sit back and absorb pressure and select their opportunities to go forward carefully. Ridgewell almost cost Portland a third goal as a headed back pass to Kwarasey was too short and Houston got to it first. Kwarasey was able to deflect it and prevent the chance from being converted though. On the other end, Deric had his own share of great saves to keep Houston in the match. His biggest one being an acrobatic side leap to deny Villafana.

But the Timbers broke through in the 76th minute via Darlington Nagbe and, believe it or not, his left foot. Lucas Melano got the assist as he passed out left to Nagbe. Nagbe had no one but Tyler Deric between him and the goal. And to the shock of pretty much everyone he used his left foot and shot the ball between Deric's legs where it deflected off Deric's left leg and into the net.

Melano wouldn't end with just an assist though as he opened his Timbers account with the game tying goal in the 86th minute. Diego Valeri sent in a cross that found Melano near the penalty spot. Lucas Melano then side flicked the ball on the volley into the back of the net and the Timbers Army blew the roof off Providence Park.

For four minutes Portland looked like they just might be able to nick that game winner but Ricardo Salazar reduced Portland to 10 men at the stroke of the 90th minute. Diego Chara came in on Cubo Torres and was given a straight red for an elbow to the neck of Torres. For the last three minutes of stoppage time, Houston tried to take advantage of their extra man but having only three minutes of stoppage time ended up being in Portland's favor. Houston weren't able to do anything but guarantee a share of the points at the end of the night.

With this result, Portland stay in 4th place and in the thick of the playoff spots. Tied with Sporting Kansas City on 40 points but 3 more games played over them. It also means Diego Chara will miss the Timbers' next match. And up next is a trip north to play Seattle on Sunday, August 30th.