By Jeffrey P. Wilson
The Portland Timbers defeated the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday, beating them 2-0 over the course of three 30-minute periods. Both goals came in the third period from Will Johnson and Maximiliano Urruti.
The first goal resulted from linking play between Gaston Fernandez and Urruti, who ultimately delivered a nicely weighted ball to a running Will Johnson. Urruti put in the second goal with a terrific right-footed shot that curled around the Houston keeper.
Over the course of the three periods Timbers’ coach Caleb Porter felt the final 30-minutes was, ‘tremendous, especially only being eleven days in [to preseason].’ The linking play of Urruti and Fernandez was particularly good with the chemistry between them developing nicely.
Yet Urruti’s defensive effort and pressure on the ball was arguably the most important and impressive aspect of his game. For the Timbers to have another incredible year, maintaining high pressure on the ball without getting exposed on the counter attack is paramount.
Another notable performance was the play of Michael Harrington, fresh off his first call up to the US Men’s National Team. Specifically superb of Harrington was the wide position he maintained on the field, which contributed to an opening up of the center of the pitch which resulted in some beautiful linking play and eventually two goals.
The play of both Alvin Powell and Aaron Long stood out in the first and second periods. Powell connected well from a defensive left back position with Kalif Alhassan producing a number of impressive runs. Long’s defensive midfield play was solid, rewarded with a long range effort from outside the box that threatened the Dynamo goal.
Despite this only being preseason, the Timbers are looking solid and their play is noticeably tighter with each game.