The Portland Timbers went to Massachusetts and brought home a point thanks to their 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution. The draw guarantees that the Timbers will be above the red line at the end of the weekend, and extends the Revolution to nine straight games without a win.
From the opening whistle, the Revolution were on the front foot, keeping the Timbers from working the ball into the attack. With the Timbers featuring a lineup drastically changed from their mid-week win over Toronto FC, it took some time for the visitors to get comfortable with each other.
The Revolution nearly struck in the first time after turning over the Timbers and launching an immediate attack up the pitch. A flicked ball from Kelyn Rowe into the path of Teal Bunbury put the Revs striker in on goal, but Jeff Attinella was quick off his line and able to block the ball away.
The Timbers’ first good chance came in the 29th minute after David Guzman was tripped up while carrying the ball toward the top of the New England box. Guzman stepped up to the free kick and fired a hard shot around the wall that had Revs keeper Matt Turner frozen in place, but put it just wide of the post.
With the Timbers putting defense first and the Revolution doing the same, looking to create with their high press, neither team was able to put together much in the way of attacking momentum.
In the 44th minute, the Timbers found a half chance off a corner kick. Guzman dropped his high, arching ball to the top of the box where Sebastian Blanco was able to line it up on the volley, hitting a hard shot into traffic, only for a series of deflections to take the zip off of it before arriving at the chest of Turner for the straightforward save.
Just after the half, the Timbers found an actual chance from the run of play. Working the ball down the field with a series of quick, one and two touch passes down the center of the pitch, the Timbers got the ball to Dairon Asprilla well into the New England half. Turning on his man, Asprilla took a step forward and shot from just outside the box, but put his shot wide of the post.
In the 52nd minute, the Revolution found a chance of their own as they broke down the wing and got a cross into the Timbers box that found Teal Bunbury facing away from goal. Bunbury spun on the ball and got off a quick shot, but was off balance and sent his attempt up and over the bar.
The Revolution would not have to wait much longer to find the opener as the home side streamed forward after picking off an errant pass from Lawrence Olum in the midfield. The Revs sent the ball out wide to Bunbury, where the striker drove to the end line before sending a looping cross to Rowe at the top of the box. As the ball fell to him, Rowe hit it with a falling side volley that forced Steve Clark — brought on as an injury sub for Attinella in the second half — to knock the ball away. Clark could not get the ball clear of the box, however, and it fell to the feet of midfielder Scott Caldwell for the simple finish.
The Timbers took only three minutes to pull a goal back, striking off a corner kick in the 70th minute. Guzman sent a curling ball into the box that found the head of Asprilla and skipped off, headed wide of goal. With the ball looking likely to roll out for a goal kick, Olum managed to stick out a boot and make contact, redirecting the ball on goal where it crossed over the line to draw the sides even at 1-1.
Desperately in need of points, the Revolution threw players forward, keeping the Timbers under pressure as the match ground down. While breaks down the pitch through Blanco and Lucas Melano came regularly for the Timbers, they struggled to connect with the final ball.
In the 91st minute, Blanco got on the ball streaking down the left flank, bounced off a defender, and played a low ball to the back post. Melano was making the run but seemed to get his feet tangled underneath him and could not make contact with the ball, sending himself tumbling into the net instead.
The Timbers are back at home on Saturday, September 8th, when they will host the Colorado Rapids at Providence Park.