Two teams looking to break frustrating winless droughts will have to wait for another day for relief.
Houston Dynamo forward Will Bruin and Portland Timbers striker Gaston Fernandez traded first-half goals before a sluggish final 45 minutes Sunday, as both teams continued to struggle to find early-season points in a 1-1 draw at steamy BBVA Compass Stadium.
The draw extends the current winless streak to six games for the Dynamo (2-3-2), while the Timbers (0-3-5) are one of just two winless teams left in Major League Soccer this season along with the Chicago Fire.
Bruin found his scoring stroke in the 16th minute, and it by no coincidence coincided with the return of Brad Davis. The US international came back from a three-game absence and played a perfect cross to Bruin in the box, and the wide-open Bruin headed the cross past Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts for his first goal in his past six games.
The goal also snapped a 334-minute scoreless streak for the Dynamo, who controlled the tempo in the first 30 minutes of the match also threatened with first-half chances from Davis, defender Corey Ashe, midfielder Boniek García and defender Kofi Sarkodie, back from a one-game suspension.
But the Timbers countered in the 33rd minute off the opportunistic foot of Fernandez. Midfielder Kalif Alhassan hit a pass into the Dynamo box that deflected off Davis and into the path of Fernandez, who wasted little movement hitting a first time effort into the upper-right corner to pull the Timbers level. The goal was the Argentine import’s third this season, but first since March 16.
Houston’s first scoring chance of the second half came right after the break, when striker Giles Barnes glanced a header wide of the post off a cross from Garcia. The hosts followed with a good look for Bruin in the 69th minute that was snuffed out by a charging Ricketts, and late sub Mark Sherrod scuffed a chance from six yards out in the 90th minute after midfielder Andrew Driver sliced into the Timbers penalty box and fed a pass in front of net.
The game also featured a bit of an oddity in the 66th minute, when Ricketts struggled with a Futty Danso back pass and handled the ball just inside the area. Referee David Ganter awarded the Dynamo an indirect free kick inside the box, but they were unable to capitalize, a fitting moment on a day when neither team appeared quite ready to break free from their current slumps.
Both teams are back in action on May 3, when the Dynamo take on Chivas USA at the StubHub Center, while the Timbers host suddenly surging D.C. United.
Houston Dynamo (2-4-2; 8 points) vs. Portland Timbers (0-3-5; 5 points)
MLS regular season
April 27, 2014 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
Houston: Will Bruin 4 (Brad Davis 3, Corey Ashe 2) 16
Portland: Gaston Fernandez 3 (unassisted) 33
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, Jermaine Taylor, Corey Ashe; Warren Creavalle (Servando Carrasco 64), Brad Davis (Brian Ownby 79), Giles Barnes; Boniek Garcia, Will Bruin (Mark Sherrod 89), Andrew Driver
Unused substitutes: Tyler Deric, Alexander Lopez, Ricardo Clark, AJ Cochran
Portland Timbers: Donovan Ricketts; Jack Jewsbury, Mamadou Danso, Pa Modou Kah, Michael Harrington; Will Johnson, Diego Chara, Diego Valeri (Maximiliano Urruti 69); Kalif Alhassan (Michael Nanchoff 76), Gaston Fernandez, Darlington Nagbe (Steve Zakuani 87)
Unused Substitutes: Andrew Weber, Norberto Paparatto, Alvas Powell, Ben Zemanski
HOU: Jermaine Taylor (caution) 40
Referee: David Gantar
Assistant Referees: Philippe Briere, Fabio Tovar
Fourth Official: Ismail Elfath