The Houston Dynamo may not be in the playoff race, but they’re doing their best to influence it.
After earning four points against Real Salt Lake and Sporting KC in their prior two matches, the Dynamo robbed a contender of points yet again on Saturday in a 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers. With the tie, the Timbers sit just level with Sporting KC and six points ahead of the seventh-place Sounders, who have two games in hand.
The Dynamo opened the scoring in the 24th minute, as Mauro Manotas stepped up to bury a penalty kick. The spot kick was the result of a Liam Ridgewell handball, and the forward’s shot to the bottom right-hand corner proved unsaveable for Jake Gleason.
After entering halftime down a goal, the Timbers battled back just six minutes into the second stanza through Diego Valeri. The Timbers’ leader stepped up yet again with a big goal by tapping home a rebound following a Darren Mattocks shot that rifled off the post.
Manotas stepped up again the Dynamo’s lead and, by doing so, seal the win. Played in by Boniek Garcia, Manotas spashed in the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute with his third goal in as many games. The forward added one more for good measure 12 minutes later, sealing his first career hat-trick.
The Dynamo now face another clash with a contender as they take on New York City FC on Friday, while the Timbers look to bounce back with a visit to the Colorado Rapids one day later.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Mauro Manotas’ hat-trick led the way for the Dynamo, who continue to show well as the season winds down.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
The Timbers appeared to be well on their way to at least a point, but Manotas’ second finish sealed an improbable Dynamo win.
MATCH TO FORGET
Alvas Powell had a rough game down the right-hand side, as the fullback misplaced a third of his passes on what proved to be an off night.