The Portland Timbers managed to hold on to a 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium today, grabbing a valuable road point.
The match started with a halting quality as both sides showed well defensively but struggled to put together any serious chances. The Revolution held the majority of the possession in the early going pushing the ball repeatedly down the flanks, but finding no joy as they failed to connect with the final ball.
In the first half, the Revs came closest to breaking through in the 36th minute, when Kelyn Rowe brough down a long ball that dropped over the head of the otherwise solid Chris Klute. With his marker momentarily off balance, Rowe had a clear path to goal, only to see Jermaine Taylor step to him, breaking up the play -- a common sight in the early going.
The even scoreline would not hold, however, and it was the Timbers who managed to break through in the 64th minute. Breaking down the pitch, Darlington Nagbe got on the ball driving at the New England box from the right flank. Looking up, Nagbe sent an arching cross toward the New England back post where substitute Jack Barmby was waiting. Setting himself, Barmby hit a first-time volley on the dropping ball and sent an awkwardly bouncing ball on goal that keeper Bobby Shuttleworth could only stare at ruefully as it crossed the line.
From there on all the pressure was coming from the Revolution and, with the Timbers bunkering down, a goal looked inevitable from the home side. That goal would come in the 89th minute as the Revs pressed forward again and again. In a moment of weakness from the Timbers' back line, Rowe was given time to pick out his pass, sending a long cross toward the back post where Je-Vaughn Watson was arriving. With a simple touch, Watson sent the ball back across the face of goal and right into the path of Taylor, who was forced into putting the ball away for an own goal.
The final minutes of the match saw the Revolution continue to push forward, looking for the game winning goal, but it would not come as the Timbers scrambled their way to a point on the road, ending 1-1.
The Timbers return home to Providence Park on Sunday when they will host Eastern Conference powerhouse Toronto FC.