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Timbers fall 3-1 to Austin FC

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An uninspired first half sunk Portland early, with Austin earning a 3-1 win over the Timbers.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Austin FC Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers were sunk by an unimpressive first half where they conceded three goals, leading to a 3-1 loss to Austin FC. Dairon Asprilla scored the lone goal for Portland.

The most notable thing about the Starting XI was the inclusion of Eryk Williamson. The midfielder and U.S. National Team member had been absent from the lineup for the past few weeks after having to sit out because of Major League Soccer’s health and safety protocols. Claudio Bravo also did not start this match after suffering a minor knee injury.

Austin FC looked very comfortable right from the start, which was a bad sign for the Timbers. They forced Portland into some costly turnovers and spent a whole lot of time hanging out at the Timbers goal. Austin looked like the aggressor to start this one.

Being the aggressor paid off quickly for Austin. Cecilio Dominguez dribbled into the box and drew contact from Josecarlos Van Rankin in the 10th minute. After a video review, the foul was confirmed and Austin had earned the penalty. Dominguez then stepped up in the box to take the shot and put it right past Clark to make it 1-0 Austin.

Just three minutes later, Austin scored again. The ball found its way to the feet of Nick Lima, who took the ball down the right side. Lima launched a quality cross to an on-rushing Diego Fagundez. The midfielder headed the ball right past Clark and make it 2-0 Austin.

Things were unraveling quickly for Portland, and it didn’t get better. In the 29th minute, things went from bad to worse. The ball seemingly moved on a string for Austin as it found its way to Jon Gallagher. Gallagher’s shot was blocked thanks to a fantastic save from Bill Tuiloma, but it didn’t much matter. Fagundez got the ball and immediately worked it to Sebastian Driussi, who opened his account with a goal. 3-0 Austin FC.

The first half continued with much of the same happening. The Timbers struggled to contain Austin — who had only five goals in their past eight matches before this — and continued to put immense pressure on Portland. It was an uninspired first half for the Timbers, and the result was a lackluster score line. The Timbers trailed 3-0 after one.

The Timbers started the second half with significantly more energy. That was mostly because of the immediate infusion of steady offense that came from the team subbing in Sebastian Blanco. Blanco immediately provided a boost to Portland’s offense, orchestrating a coordinated attack from all over the pitch.

The signs of life shown had tangible results not long after the start of the half. Dairon Asprilla found himself with the ball at the top of the box in the 55th minute. With Dairon being Dairon, he launched it with reckless abandon and scored a goal that was pure class on his part. Asprilla’s fifth goal of the year made it only 3-1 Austin.

The energy carried on for most of the half. Portland looked drastically different in the second half compared to the first. After looking like a lethargic team that was far from a playoff team in the first half, they finally started to make competent runs towards the goal. It was a significant change.

But ultimately it did not make a difference. Portland had dug themselves into to great of a hole. They would fall 3-1 to Austin.

Next Sunday, Aug. 29, the Timbers will head to Seattle for a matchup against the Sounders. The last time the two teams met, things...did not go great. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Pacific.