The Houston Dynamo and Portland Timbers played to a scoreless draw in the first leg of the Western Conference semifinal Monday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Dynamo had an apparent penalty kick opportunity overturned in the 31st minute when referee Robert Sibiga turned to Video Review to look at an apparent foul on Portland defender Larrys Mabiala on forward Alberth Elis inside the penalty area. Upon review, the penalty kick awarded to the Dynamo was overturned due to no foul having been committed. It marked the first usage of the Video Review system in a playoff game in Major League Soccer history.
Portland created the first dangerous chance of the night when midfielder Diego Valeri slipped a ball in to fellow midfielder Darlington Nagbe at the penalty spot in the sixth minute. The U.S. international attempted a right-footed shot under pressure, but put his effort wide of the goal.
Houston’s first threat came in the 21st minute from a counter attack that began off of a Portland corner kick. Elis picked up the loose ball after the corner and raced into the Portland end of the field before crossing for forward Mauro Manotas. Manotas laid off to midfielder Tomás Martínez, who whipped in a left-footed cross to forward Romell Quioto six yards from the goal. The Honduran international’s headed shot missed just wide of the far post.
Elis nearly had another look at goal in the 50th minute when Martínez slipped a pass to the Honduran international behind the Portland back line. Elis raced for the ball, but was just beaten to it by goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, who swept it away.
Martínez had his own dangerous chance in the 56th when he drew a foul just outside the penalty area on the right side. His left-footed free kick was on its way to the net when Portland defender Vytas headed it over the bar. The ensuing corner kick from Martínez found the head of defender Philippe Senderos and would have gone in but for a leaping save from Attinella.
Portland threatened in the 61st minute when midfielder Diego Valeri got free on the left side of Houston’s penalty area and played a square pass into the path of forward Darren Mattocks. The Jamaican’s shot forced a save from Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
Forwards Vicente Sánchez and Mauro Manotas combined for a dangerous shooting opportunity in the 72nd minute when Sánchez deftly controlled a long ball and dropped it into the path of Manotas, who blasted a low right-footed shot that was saved by Attinella.
Houston will resume its participation in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs this weekend when the club travels to the Pacific Northwest on Sunday for the second leg of the semifinal at Providence Park.
Houston Dynamo (13-10-11; 1-0-1) 0-0 Portland Timbers (15-11-8; 0-0-1)
Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Western Conference Semifinal Leg 1
Monday, Oct. 30, 2017 – BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, Texas
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric; Jalil Anibaba, Adolfo Machado, Philippe Senderos, DaMarcus Beasley ©; Juan David Cabezas, Eric Alexander, Tomás Martínez (Vicente Sánchez 60); Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas (Erick Torres 76), Romell Quioto (Alex 70)
Unused Substitutes: Joe Willis, Ricardo Clark, Kevin Garcia, Andrew Wenger
Total shots: 9 (Mauro Manotas 4); Shots on goal: 2 (Philippe Senderos and Mauro Manotas tied with 1); Fouls: 11 (Alberth Elis 3); Offside: 1 (Mauro Manotas 1); Corner kicks: 3 (Tomás Martínez 3); Saves: 2 (Tyler Deric)
Portland Timbers: Jeff Attinella; Alvas Powell, Larrys Mabiala (Roy Miller 45+1), Liam Ridgewell ©, Vytas Andriuskevicius; Lawrence Olum, Diego Chara (Amobi Okugo 46); Dairon Asprilla, Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe (Jeremy Ebobisse 60); Darren Mattocks
Unused Substitutes: Jake Gleeson, Victor Arboleda, Jack Barmby, Zarek Valentin
Total shots: 9 (Diego Valeri 2); Shots on goal: 2 (Vytautas Andriuskevicius and Jeremy Ebobisse tied with 1); Fouls: 15 (Dairon Asprilla 4); Offside: 5 (Darren Mattocks 4); Corner kicks: 5 (Diego Valeri 5); Saves: 2 (Jeff Attinella)
POR: Alvas Powell (caution; foul) 24
POR: Larrys Mabiala (caution; foul) 45
Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referee 1: Jeff Muschik
Assistant Referee 2: Jason White
4th Official: Sorin Stoica
VAR: Chris Penso