The Houston Dynamo and Portland Timbers came into Monday’s Western Conference semifinal first leg looking to avoid any mistakes knowing a second leg is right around the corner.
Both succeeded in that aspect, settling for a 0-0 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium in which the sides combined for four shots on goal.
Darlington Nagbe missed a clear-cut chance in front of goal in the sixth-minute, after Diego Valeri sprung the midfielder on a breakaway.
Vytautas Andriuskevicius’ left-footed blast in the 17th-minute was the only shot on goal in the opener half. Tyler Deric saved the defender’s effort in the bottom left corner.
Philippe Senderos’ header in the 56th-minute forced Jeff Attinella into his first save of the evening. The Swiss defender headed Tomas Martinez’s cross towards the center of the goal, but Attinella forced it out for a corner.
Jeremy Ebobisse made a quick impact for Caleb Porter’s side after coming on as a substitute for the injured Nagbe. The 20-year-old tried to beat Deric to the bottom-left corner, but the 29-year-old was up to the task and made the save.
Mauro Manotas was next to test Attinella, who kept the Colombian’s long-range effort out in the 73rd-minute.
However, following 94 minutes of action, neither side could find a goal having to deal for the scoreless draw. Both Attinella and Deric made two saves in the respective clean sheets, and will be expecting more offense in Sunday’s second leg.
Porter however may face some line-up changes with both Diego Chara and Nagbe leaving the game with injuries.
These two face off in the second leg of this Western Conference semifinal on Nov. 5th at Providence Park.
MAN OF THE MATCH
26-year-old Juan Cabezas was a huge influence for the Dynamo, totaling the most passes in the draw. His 48 successful passes were the most by a player on either team and he had a solid performance with several other starters on the bench.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Nagbe’s early breakaway for the Timbers had 1-0 written all over it, but the midfielder failed to hit the target. Overall, the visitors could not muster much inside the box and Nagbe’s early chance will be looked at as a golden opportunity that was missed.
MATCH TO FORGET
21-year-old Alberth Elis played the hero for the Dynamo in their knockout round win over Sporting KC. However, the Honduran forward was very quiet on Monday, failing to record a shot on target. Elis also lost possession 17 times, and will need to be better in Sunday’s second leg.