By MIKE DONOVAN
The Portland Timbers and Houston Dynamo both entered their match Sunday afternoon looking for a victory to put an end to long winless droughts. But after 90 minutes in the hot Texas sun, neither team was able to take the full three points.
Will Bruin gave the hosts an early lead, but Portland’s Gaston Ferandez answered with a first-half strike of his own as the two teams played to a 1-1 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium. The draw leaves the Timbers in last place in MLS and winless in their first eight matches to start the season, while Houston finds itself in the midst of a six-game winless streak after victories in their first two matches of the season.
Despite heading into the match without a goal in its last three matches, the Dynamo found the scoreboard just 16 minutes into the match when a Brad Davis cross was headed home by an unmarked Bruin. It was the fourth goal of the year for the Indiana product, but his first since the second week of the season.
The assist went to Davis, who returned to the lineup after missing three games with an ankle injury. Houston has just three goals in their last matches, with all three being assisted by Davis.
Portland found its answer later in the first half, when Gaston Fernandez took a deflected Kalif Alhassan pass and fired it past a helpless Tally Hall. Fernandez, who started at forward over Maxi Urruti, scored his team-leading third goal of the season.
While the Timbers easily won the possession battle (58 to 42 percent), they had few good scoring opportunities with Hall rarely challenged other than Fernandez’s out-of-nothing brilliance. In fact, the second half passed with very few opportunities in the final third for either club.
After playing in three matches in nine days, the Dynamo will next travel to California to take on Chivas USA on Saturday. The Timbers, who join the Chicago Fire as the only MLS teams yet to win this season, will head back to Portland for a three-match home stand that begins against D.C. United Saturday at Providence Park.