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Portland Timbers Look Good in First Half, Disorganized in Second; Draw Houston Dynamo 1-1

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

With a different XI playing in each half of today's friendly against the Houston Dynamo, it is no surprise that the Timbers were not able to hang on to their early 1-0 lead, eventually tying the Dynamo 1-1 at the end of regulation. Following a strong first half from the Timbers' first-choice XI, the youngsters deployed in the second half struggled against a more experienced Dynamo.second XI.

First Half

Kwarasey; Valentin, Taylor, Borchers, Powell; Chara, Zemanski; Melano, Valeri, Asprilla; Adi

The Timbers may not have dominated the possession in the first half against the Dynamo, but they did dominate the chances, regularly turning the Dynamo over high up the pitch as they put the opposition under pressure in their own half.

If was from that high pressure that the Timbers managed to get their goal, with Dairon Asprilla capitalizing on a slip from Houston fullback DeMarcus Beasley and picking up the ball deep in the Houston half. After a handful of touches at goal and a quick cut to his right, Asprilla fired off a low, hard shot that hit the inside of the far post and bounced into the back of the net, putting the Timbers up 1-0.

Although the Dynamo would put on the pressure late in the half, the vast majority of the chances came for the Timbers in this one.

Second Half

Gleeson; Thoma, Manning, Morley, Peay; Besler, Idowu; Polk (Belmar), Avila, Brett (Seaton), McInerney

The second half, however, was all Dynamo.

The Timbers had a chance to extend their lead in the opening moments of the half as McInerney gobbled up a bad touch from the Dynamo keeper and dropped the ball back to Eric Avila in the Houston box. Avila hit a simple shot on net, beating the off balance keeper, but had what should have been a sure thing spoiled by a defender who cleared the ball off the goal line.

From there on out the Dynamo were pressing forward, forcing the Timbers onto their back foot. Shortly into the half, the Dynamo found themselves with a series of chances, mostly coming through rookie T.J. Casner, cutting side from his position on the right wing. Particularly dangerous was a swerving shot that Casner put on goal from just outside the box, dipping the ball over Jake Gleeson but just barely missing the goal.

The Dynamo break through would come later on, however, as the Timbers pushed up, looking to take advantage of a rare free kick in a dangerous area. With much of the Timbers' committed forward, new Dynamo signing Mauro Manotas got in behind the Timbers back line, running onto a long clearance, and was able to beat Gleeson with a worm-burner at the near post as the defenders choked on his dust.

The Timbers take to the pitch again on Saturday, taking on the Seattle Sounders in preseason play.