The Houston Dynamo dropped the first of a three-game road trip, falling 4-0 at Portland Timbers FC on Saturday night.
Portland opened the scoring on a length-of-the-field counterattack off of a Houston corner kick in the 39th minute. After clearing the corner, the Timbers raced down the field, eventually working the ball to their right flank to captain Diego Valeri. The midfielder chipped a cross to Jorge Moreira. Moreira nodded the ball down into the path of Marvin Loría, who pounded a sliding left-footed shot into the turf and past the diving effort of Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis.
The play that led to that corner kick was Houston’s most dangerous scoring opportunity of the first half. The Dynamo turned Portland over near midfield and midfielder Matías Vera found forward Marlon Hairston alone the right wing. Hairston took a touch into the penalty area and fired a shot on goal, but a Timbers defender got just enough of a touch on it to deflect it. Unfortunately for Houston, the redirected ball clipped the right post and bounced out across the end line.
Portland doubled their lead through a penalty kick by Valeri in the 61st minute. Referee Alan Kelly awarded the penalty after he judged that Houston captain DaMarcus Beasley brought down Loría with a sliding tackle inside the penalty area.
Forward Brian Fernández made it three-nil two minutes later on another counterattack. Once again the play started with a diagonal ball from Valeri, this time finding Fernández in space on the left flank. The Argentine striker collected the ball and cut in on his right foot before burying a low shot into the opposite corner.
Forward Jeremy Ebobisse capped off the scoring with a right-footed shot from the left side of the penalty area into the far corner of the net in the 75th minute, with Valeri once again delivering the assist.
Both teams came out in an attacking mindset, with Houston winning a pair of corner kicks inside the game’s first five minutes. Houston’s first corner, in just the second minute of play, found a Dynamo head and was on its way toward the target before a Timbers defender intervened to offer Houston another corner opportunity.
Portland responded with a flurry of chances of their own minutes later, with Fernández finding space for three shooting opportunities. He put two over the crossbar, and Willis came rose to the occasion with a big right-handed save in the 11th minute.
Vera had Houston’s first scoring threat of the second half when he turned and fired a low right-footed shot from the top of the penalty area to force a diving stop from Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark in the 50th minute. Two minutes later, midfielder Tomás Martínezcreated a dangerous chance when he whipped in a cross from the right flank. The curling ball just missed two Dynamo teammates, going inches over the head of forward Ronaldo Peña and just beyond the outstretched leg of midfielder Tommy McNamara before going out for a goal kick.
Willis, playing in his 100th career game in Major League Soccer, came up with a big double save in the 70th minute to deny Portland a fourth. The Timbers broke out on the counter and Fernández found midfielder Diego Chara at the six-yard box. Willis was quick off his line to parry away Chara’s shot, then got a foot to the follow-up attempt by Loría, sending it out for a corner kick.
Dynamo midfielder Boniek García went 90 minutes in his 150th start for the club, while Martínez made his 50th start for the team since moving to Houston midway through the 2017 season.
The Dynamo will continue their three-game road trip on Wednesday night at the San Jose Earthquakes (9:30 p.m. CDT | KUBE 57 | TeleXitos) before flying cross-country to play the New England Revolution on Saturday, June 29 (6:30 p.m. CDT | KUBE 57 | TeleXitos).