The Portland Timbers played a back and forth match against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night, bidding a fitting farewell to forward Fanendo Adi in the 2-1 win. The big man netted his 54th goal as a Timber after coming on late in the match for one final appearance with the side.
The Timbers got on the board early, opening the scoring in just the 7th minute of play. After collecting the ball in the midfield, the Maestro, Diego Valeri, played a through ball down the flank and into the path of Alvas Powell. In isolation with DeMarcus Beasley, Powell stepped over the ball, created space for himself, and sent in a floating cross that flew over the box and found the far-post run of Sebastian Blanco. As the ball fell to him, Blanco struck it low, first time, beating Dynamo keeper Joe Willis and giving the Timbers a 1-0 lead.
In the 12th minute, the Dynamo answered thanks to the high pressure of Alberth Elis. As Julio Cascante held up the ball in the Timbers’ end, Elis pounced, stripping the ball away from the Timbers’ center back and tripping him up in the process. As the Timbers scrambled to recover, Elis was able to send a dribbling cross through the box that rolled just out of reach of a series of Timbers before finding Romell Quioto at the back post for the easy tap across the goal line.
In the 20th minute, after a foul-heavy stretch of play that saw yellow cards issued to both teams, the Timbers almost found their second. After pinging the ball around the Dynamo half, Blanco slid a well-weighted through ball in behind the Dynamo line for Dairon Asprilla. Beating his man to the ball, Asprilla looked to tuck a shot past Willis, but the Dynamo keeper rushed off his line and, at the last possible moment, stuck out a glove and stopped the shot dead.
Asprilla had another chance just two minutes later off a Timbers free kick. On the restart, Valeri dropped a curling ball into the Dynamo box, finding Larrys Mabiala. Mabiala’s header floated in the Dynamo box, falling directly to Asprilla who lined up a bicycle kick and made strong contact, only for his shot to go right at Willis, who parried it away.
The Dynamo found a chance of their own in the 33rd minute and again it was Elis making things happen for the visitors. After Andrew Wenger cut inside from the flank and floated a cross to the Timbers’ back post, Elis rose up, bowling over Powell and putting a skipping header toward goal that fell barely wide of the post.
After the halftime break, the Timbers came out looking to keep the Dynamo under pressure and largely succeeded, sending repeated balls into the Dynamo box but failing to connect with any of them.
With the Timbers continuing to keep up the pressure, the side made a notable change in the 75th minute, bringing on Adi for what we learned before the match would be his final game in a Timbers uniform.
Five minutes into his final match with the Timbers, Fanendo Adi scored. In the 80th minute, the Timbers worked the ball once again in to the Dynamo end and some fancy footwork from Blanco was paid off with a short pass into a scrum of players that bounced, ricocheted, and eventually fell to Adi just outside the goal to bundle the ball home and give the Timbers the 2-1 lead.
Although the Dynamo pressed forward in search of an equalizer, the Timbers were able to weather their late push and ran out the match to keep all three points in Portland and move into third place in the Western Conference.
The Timbers continue their home run next weekend when they will host Eastern Conference side the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, August 4th.