Thanks to a late equalizer from Jeremy Ebobisse, the Portland Timbers managed to escape BBVA Stadium with a point, earning a 2-2 draw against the Houston Dynamo. Ebobisse and Dairon Asprilla were the goalscorers for Portland.
Portland rolled with a slightly different first team than their last match against Sporting Kansas City. In the goal, Aljaz Ivacic took over for Steve Clark, making him the fourth goalkeeper to play for the Timbers this year. Diego Valeri and Diego Chara also did not start.
The Timbers struggled in the first half to really generate chances for themselves. Even though Houston is last in the league in possession, the Timbers failed to consistently hold the ball and make smart, sustained runs at the goal. They only got off one shot in the first half.
The Dynamo, meanwhile, thrived offensively, creating opportunity after opportunity for themselves. For being the team with the lowest possession percentage in the league, they sure maintained possession a lot. They held the ball for almost 60% of the first half, pouncing on the Timbers defensively and playing controlled soccer with the ball offensively.
It paid off in the 15th minute for Houston. The Dynamo earned a corner kick, which Tyler Pasher took for Houston. He launched a ball to Maynour Figueroa , who’s initial hit was blocked by Ivacic. But Fafa Picault was there on the rebound and headed it back into the goal to make it 1-0 Portland.
Houston made it 2-0 thanks to a goal from Pasher. Matias Vera worked it to Pasher in the box, who took a small kick to set up his shot before launching a bouncing ball into the bottom right corner. All the sudden the Timbers found themselves in a hole just 33 minutes in.
Portland started to come alive as the first half progressed. The transition soccer was much better, with Eryk Williamson finally getting involved more. They put together three real opportunities in the final 10 minutes of the match, but nothing came of them, leaving the score 2-0 in Houston’s favor. The Timbers trailed big at halftime.
Five minutes into the second half, the Timbers finally struck. Dairon Asprilla and Claudio Bravo both got out in transition with only Joe Corona to beat. Asprilla worked it to Bravo, who quickly passed it back to Asprilla, who finally put the ball in the goal with a cheeky chip shot. That made it only 2-1 Dynamo.
As the second half progressed, Portland continued to look more and more dangerous, inching closer and closer to a goal. Valeri — who subbed in at the start of the half — helped the Timbers stay solid offensively, allowing them to create several chances in the attacking third. After only managing five shots in the first half (most of those coming towards the end of the match), the Timbers put together 10 shots in the second half.
The Dynamo remained dangerous, but not as much as in the first half. Claudio Bravo did an admirable job trying to slow down the attack on the wings from Houston. Although Portland struggled defensively as a team, Bravo was at least active along the back line.
Portland’s hard work paid off in extra time. With the ball in the final third in the 91st minute, Larrys Mabiala and Josecarlos Van Rankin played quick passes back and forth as Mabiala worked his way down the wing. He played a beautiful cross to Jeremy Ebobisse, who rose up and headed it in with ease, tying it up at two.
Houston threatened for a little while longer late, but were unable to break through. The Timbers would escape Houston with a 2-2 tie and one point to their name.
Next up, the Timbers will be back at Providence Park for their matchup against Minnesota United FC. The match will take place on Saturday at 8 p.m.