Portland Timbers 2, Houston Dynamo 1 | MLS is Back Tournament Match Recap
The Portland Timbers clinched a Round of 16 spot at the MLS is Back Tournament on Saturday night, holding on during a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo in Group F. Houston's hopes of advancing were damaged, though, as Alberth Elis was sent off in the 88th minute after receiving two yellow cards in as many minutes.
The Timbers opened a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute via forward Jeremy Ebobisse, as he collected a probing pass from Sebastian Blanco. Ebobisse had plenty of work to do, and rifled home a left-footed shot from a tight angle to land his second goal in two games.
Portland doubled their advantage in the 61st minute when Diego Valeri capped a smooth sequence with a left-footed shot that dinked off the post and in. Valeri collected a squared ball from Eryk Williamson, and then showed silky feet before beating Houston goalkeeper Marko Maric.
The Dynamo's persistence paid off in the 86th minute, as Alberth Elis made it 2-1 from the penalty-kick spot, beating a diving Steve Clark. The opportunity arose after Video Review deemed that Portland left back Jorge Villafaña handled the ball in his 18-yard box.
But Elis' dismissal squashed momentum, as the Honduran forward was shown yellow cards in back-to-back minutes. The first was for a challenge on Villafaña, and the second came after getting tangled up with Portland center back Bill Tuiloma.
- 35' – POR – Jeremy Ebobisse | WATCH
- 61' – POR – Diego Valeri | WATCH
- 86' – HOU – Alberth Elis (PK) | WATCH
Man of the Match presented by Heineken
Larrys Mabiala turned in one of his best performances in recent memory, leading the Timbers’ back line with Dario Zuparic serving a red-card suspension. The center back helped set up Diego Valeri’s goal, which stood as the game-winner, and otherwise shined with clearances and recoveries.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Timbers are one of four teams to log two wins through two games at the MLS is Back Tournament. They’re sailing, while the Dynamo are winless through four games under new head coach Tab Ramos. Houston aren’t out of the Knockout Round by any means, but face a tall task after Alberth Elis’ red card.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: We’re going with Diego Valeri’s goal, which places the Argentine on the cusp of joining the prestigious 80-80 club. Valeri, now in his eighth season with Portland, has 79 goals and 82 assists for his MLS career.
- YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: With Felipe Mora still out for the Timbers, Jeremy Ebobisse got another start at center forward. He's now scored in back-to-back games when handed that role by head coach Giovanni Savarese.