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Houston Dynamo FC fell behind in the first half after conceding a pair of goals in a two-minute span, then staged a furious late rally but came up just short in a 2-1 defeat at the Portland Timbers tonight at Providence Park in Portland. 

Houston controlled the run of play for much of the first half hour, creating several dangerous chances including a rocket off the foot of midfielder Coco Carrasquilla in the 21st minute that shook the woodwork. 

Portland opened the scoring through a penalty kick from Santiago Moreno in the 34th minute. The penalty was given when referee Lukasz Szpala judged that a Dynamo defender fouled Yimmi Chara inside the penalty area. Moreno doubled the lead two minutes later with a left-footed shot from the top of the penalty area. 

The Dynamo got on the board in the 65th minute following a spectacular switch of play by rookie forward Thor Ulfarsson. The Icelandic native found Darwin Quintero outside the penalty box and he brought the ball down for a long-range effort and his seventh goal of the season.

Houston went up a man for the final quarter hour when Portland defender Bill Tuiloma was sent off with his second yellow of the night for a foul on forward Sebastián Ferreira.  

Ferreira broke free inside the penalty area in the 81st minute and uncorked a right-footed shot from 16 yards that rippled the side netting. The Dynamo continued to apply pressure, sending wave after wave of runners into the penalty area, but Portland defenders found a way to get in front of each shot or get a head to every cross as they desperately clung to their lead. 

In all, Houston outshot Portland 24-11 and possessed the ball for more than 60 percent of the contest. The Dynamo led in expected goals 2.19-1.38, but Portland defenders blocked nine Dynamo shots and Timbers goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic made five saves on the night. 

Prior to Quintero’s goal, Houston’s most dangerous chance of the second half came in the 60th minute off a free kick from Quintero. The Colombian playmaker’s initial shot was saved by Ivacic but the rebound fell to Ulfarsson outside the six yard box. His effort was blocked by a defender and then bounced off defender Daniel Steres and into the hands of the Portland goalkeeper.  

Portland forced a save from Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark in the 64th minute following a breakaway run from Chara. The Timbers veteran found Moreno inside the box, but Clark dove low to his near post to push Moreno’s shot wide. This was Clark’s first game at Providence Park since he joined the Dynamo in the offseason and his 200th career appearance in league play. The veteran goalkeeper played for Portland from 2018-2021. 

Houston returns to PNC Stadium on Sunday, June 3 to host Charlotte FC at 7:30 p.m. CT. This is the first meeting between both teams and the evening will include postgame fireworks as part of the American Weekend festivities. For tickets and additional information, visit HoustonDynamoFC.com.