PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers scored three second-half goals to erase a two-goal deficit and defeat the Houston Dynamo 3-2 before a sold-out crowd of 21,144 fans at Providence Park on Sunday. Midfielder Diego Valeri recorded a brace and an assist, while midfielder Lucas Melano scored for a second consecutive game, as the Timbers extended their unbeaten streak to five games in league play and six games across all competitions.
The come-from-behind victory marked the first time the Timbers (6-6-5, 23pts) erased a two-goal deficit to win a match in regulation across all eras in club history (since 1975). With the win, the Timbers are unbeaten in four consecutive games against the Dynamo at Providence Park, dating back to Aug. 6, 2013, producing a 3-1-1 all-time home record against Houston since 2011.
Trailing 2-0 at halftime, the Timbers outshot Houston 11-5 in the second half – including a 6-1 edge in shots on target – and battled back with three goals in the final 27 minutes of the game. In the 63rd minute, the Timbers pulled a goal back when Melano made a well-timed diagonal run in behind the Dynamo defense, running on to a carefully placed pass from Valeri before tucking his effort past Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis and into the back of the net. The finish marked Melano’s second goal of the season and Valeri’s fifth assist in 2016, which is tied for sixth-most assists in the league, as Portland extended its goal-scoring streak to 20 consecutive regular-season games dating back to the 2015 season.
Less than 20 minutes later, the Timbers equalized after being awarded a penalty kick for handball inside the box in the 82nd minute of play. Valeri stepped up to the spot, blasting his attempt into the top left corner to record his sixth goal of the season. Eight minutes later, Valeri notched his second goal of the game from the penalty spot after Melano was brought down by Willis inside the area, with the midfielder chipping his effort down the middle from 12 yards away to give the Timbers a one-goal lead in the final moments of the match.
With the finish, Valeri’s seventh goal in 2016, the Timbers are the only team in MLS to have multiple players ranked in the top eight for goals scored in 2016, with forward Fanendo Adi ranked second in the league for goals (9). Additionally, Portland's nine shots on target were the most by the club this season.
Despite the Timbers creating several chances early in the first half, Houston (3-8-5, 14pts) managed to open the scoring in the 28th minute, finishing against the run of play when forward Andrew Wenger slotted his shot into the back of the net from the right side of the box. Two minutes later, Houston doubled its lead when forward Will Bruin latched on to forward Boniek Garcia’s pass into the area, tucking his effort inside the near post.
Next up, the Timbers return to U.S. Open Cup play on Wednesday, June 29, taking on the LA Galaxy in the Round of 16 at Providence Park, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). The Timbers will return to MLS play on Monday, July 4, when they travel to face the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The match against the Rapids will feature a live broadcast on ROOT SPORTS with local radio broadcasts on 750 AM/102.9 FM The Game (English) and La GranD 1150 AM/93.5 FM (Spanish).
Portland Timbers (6-6-5, 23pts) vs. Houston Dynamo (3-8-5, 14pts)
June 26, 2016 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Houston Dynamo 2 0 2
Portland Timbers 0 3 3
HOU: Wenger (Garcia), 28
HOU: Bruin (Garcia), 30
POR: Melano (Valeri), 63
POR: Valeri (penalty kick), 82’
POR: Valeri (penalty kick) 90+1
HOU: Horst (Caution), 42
HOU: Alex (Caution), 90+2
POR: Adi (Caution), 90+4
Lineups & Stats:
POR: GK Gleeson, D Powell (Valentin, 66), D Borchers, D Ridgewell ©, D Taylor, M Chara, M Zemanski, M Melano, M Valeri, M Mattocks (McInerney, 70), F Adi
Substitutes Not Used: GK Hamilton, M Jewsbury, M Grabavoy, M Barmby, M Asprilla
TOTAL SHOTS: 18 (Valeri, 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Valeri, 4); FOULS: 16 (Chara, 5); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 4
HOU: GK Deric (Willis, 46), D Jalil Anibaba, D David Horst, D DaMarcus Beasley ©, D Rodriguez, M Clark, M Warner, M Alex, F Garcia, F Bruin (Manotas, 83), F Wenger (Maidana, 76)
Substitutes Not Used: D Agus, D Williams, M Rocha, M Miranda
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Bruin, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Bruin, 2); FOULS: 11 (Rodriguez, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 6
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Assistant Referees: James Conlee, Anthony Vasoli
4th Official: Baboucarr Jallow
Weather: Clear, 87 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial