Jeremy Ebobisse and Diego Valeri scored goals to lead the Portland Timbers to a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo Saturday night in the MLS is Back tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.
The Timbers (3-1-0, 9 points) won their second match in as many played in the tournament and lead Group F with six points. The victory secured Portland’s place in the knockout round of the tournament with still one group stage game to play.
The Timbers have won three in a row overall, dating back to a March 8 victory over Nashville SC before the COVID-19 halt in play.
The Timbers and Ebobisse, as they did in Monday’s win over the LA Galaxy, opened the scoring Saturday. Ebobisse gathered in a long pass from Sebastian Blanco that split a pair of Dynamo defenders and fired a low volley past goalkeeper Marko Maric right on the 35-minute mark.
In the second half, Valeri took a cross from Eryk Williamson, cleared space with touches on each foot, and skittered a low shot past Maric in the 61st minute for a 2-0 Timbers lead.
Valeri is the Timbers’ all-time leading goal scorer with 78 career regular-season goals.
The Dynamo (0-2-2, 2 points) had numerous scoring chances with 24 shots for the match, but couldn’t put a ball past Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark until a handball in the box against Portland’s Jorge Villafana gave the Dynamo a penalty kick in the 86th minute. Alberth Elis converted, but after two quick yellow-card fouls moments later, was issued a red card and was lost for the game.
Houston had to play with 10 men the rest of the way, and is still looking to get Tab Ramos his first win as an MLS head coach.
With Portland up 1-0, Elis had the far post clear in the 38th minute, but missed netting an equalizer for the Dynamo when his shot went wide. Elis finished with a game-high eight shots