The Portland Timbers just became the latest team to book its spot in the Round of 16 of the MLS is Back Tournament.
Goals from Jeremy Ebobisse and Diego Valeri lifted the Portland Timbers past the Houston Dynamo, 2-1, on Saturday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Ebobisse scored late in the first half — his second consecutive game with a goal — before Valeri nettered early in the second half. Alberth Elis got the Dynamo on the scoresheet late in the game after scoring from the penalty spot, but the Honduran forward was sent off moments later after receiving a pair of yellow cards in quick succession.
The Timbers almost opened the scoring in the 34th minute when Ebosisse connected with Yimmi Chara, whose shot at goal was blocked by Houston goalkeeper Marko Maric.
Moments later, however, Ebobisse finally opened the scoring for Portland in the 35th minute when a long through-ball played from Sebastian Blanco found the forward unmarked. Ebobisse struck the ball past Maric, cliniically firing in a low shot from a tight angle .
The Timbers almost doubled the lead after a ball from Diego Valeri found Blanco making a run at goal, but the ball was hit wide of the post in the 59th minute.
Two minutes later, Valeri doubled the Timbers’ leader after beating Houston centerback Aljaz Struna to tuck the ball toward the bottom left corner.
The Dynamo were awarded a penalty kick in the 85th minute after VAR determined a handball from Jorge Villafaña inside the box. Elis converted the ensuing penalty, but it proved too little too late.
Group F action concludes on Wednesday with the Dynamo taking on the LA Galaxy. That game will be followed by the Timbers against LAFC.
Man of Match
Jeremy Ebobisse: Scored a well-taken opener to put the Timbers in front and pace them to victory.
Moment of the Match
Valeri doubles the lead: The 34-year-old playmaker was able to show off his skill and experience, netting Portland’s second goal of the night after receiving a ball from Eryk Williamson outside the 18 and beating defender Aljaz Struna to finish the play.
Match to Forget
Alberth Elis: Despite scoring late to give Houston a lifeline, the Honduran Designated Player missed a clean look earlier and was issued two yellow cards in quick succession in the dying moments to cap a forgettable shift.