Match Recap & Highlights: Portland Timbers 2 - 2 Austin FC
The Timbers suffer second half setbacks, drop two points from multiple winning positions against an out-of-form Austin FC.
The Portland Timbers (3-5-3) drew 2-2 against Austin FC (2-4-4) at Providence Park thanks to goals on either side of the break from Dario Zuparic and Claudio Bravo, dropping two points to a less-than-great Western Conference opponent.
The Timbers made three changes to the starting XI that beat St. Louis City SC 2-1 on the road last weekend - Claudio Bravo replaced a COVID-stricken Eric Miller at left back, Larrys Mabiala stepped in at center back for the suspended Zac McGraw, and Cristhian Paredes partnered Diego Chara at the base of midfield in the wake of David Ayala’s season-ending knee injury.
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Austin FC were also without their talisman Sebastian Driussi, whose 22 goals in 2022 were the second-most in MLS.
Zuparic would strike -er, head- first for the Timbers in the 33rd minute of the match off excellent service from Evander, before Austin FC equalized through Gallagher in the 59th minute.
Claudio Bravo regained the lead for the hosts in the 71st minute with his first goal for the club, but Austin once again came from behind to peg the Timbers back with a goal from Will Bruin in stoppage time to siphon two points from the Timbers.
9’ The first quality chance of the match for the Timbers came through Juan Mosquera, who latched onto a ball inside the box following a deflection, but snatched at the strike and sent it well wide of goal.
16’ Paredes set Franck Boli up with an excellent chip-pass inside the box, but the Ivorian Forward couldn’t get a clean first touch, which allowed the Austin backline to get back in position and cut out the chance.
33’ GOAL TIMBERS, 1-0 Dario Zuparic would be the Timber to open the scoring at Providence Park, rising up to dunk over poor Lundqvist at the back post. The ball recycled back to Evander after a cleared free kick, and the Brazilian designated player sent a delicious cross to a leaping Zuparic.
Watch the goal here.
40’ YELLOW CARD Boli and Cascante had a coming together away from the ball after the whistle had gone for a foul, and the Timbers’ striker was cautioned for his actions.
41’ The visitors nearly found an equalizer through Rigoni, whose unmarked header from the penalty spot thankfully went straight into the arms of Ivacic. Both Mabiala and Mosquera were caught ball watching on the play.
HALFTIME: The Timbers led 1-0 at the break thanks to Zuparic’s powerful header.
53’ Evander continued to pull the strings for the Timbers, pinging an absolute dime of a ball cross-field to Moreno. Santi laid the ball into the path of Mosquera, who moved the ball along to Paredes, but the Paraguayan’s curling strike from the edge of the box didn’t have enough power to beat Stuver in net.
56’ YELLOW CARD Claudio Bravo was shown a card for a late challenge on Gallagher.
59’ GOAL AUSTIN FC, 1-1 A bad giveaway in midfield saw Austin drive at the Timbers’ backline down the left wing, before Rigoni sent a cross to an unmarked Gallagher at the back-post to tuck home from close range. Bravo was dragged out of position by a Gyasi Zardes run, and Marvin Loria didn’t track the runner.
60’ SUBSTITUTION Marvin Loria was hooked after the goal, replaced by Yimmi Chara.
71’ GOAL TIMBERS, 2-1 Claudio Bravo scored his first goal for the Timbers with a daisy-cutting stripe from distance off the service from Evander, driving the ball into the bottom corner from about 22 yards out.
Watch the goal here.
74’ Boli had a chance to extend the lead for the Timbers just three minutes later, but blazed a shot well-over the bar after some great work to get the ball out from under his feet.
78’ SUBSTITUTIONS Jaroslaw Niezgoda and Dairon Asprilla entered the match for Franck Boli and Cristhian Paredes.
87’ YELLOW CARD Dario Zuparic was shown yellow for a foul.
90+2’ GOAL AUSTIN FC, 2-2 A gut-punch for the Timbers, who conceded a goal deep into stoppage time from former Sounder Will Bruin. A really deflating goal for the Timbers, who looked to have their fourth win of the season all but wrapped up.
FULL TIME Portland Timbers 2 - 2 Austin FC
Another really good performance from the Timbers that was marred by two entirely avoidable lapses in concentration at the back: one from Marvin Loria, and the other from Mabiala in the dying embers of the match. It’s impossible to look at the match as anything other than two points dropped from the Timbers, who conceded twice from winning positions in the second half.
Missed chances from Boli and Niezgoda in the second half stick out like sore thumbs when looking at the result.
That’s not to say the game was devoid of positives: Evander was very good against Austin, notching his first two assists for the club in an all-around impressive display. Dario Zuparic was also excellent for the Timbers, scoring a goal on top of a solid defensive performance.
In the end that was a match the Timbers easily could, and probably should, have won.
The Timbers are back in action for another midweek US Open Cup fixture against Real Salt Lake, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday, May 10.
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