The Houston Dynamo earned its fourth straight shutout, but it couldn't score, putting itself in a difficult situation for its second leg of the Western Conference semifinal series on Sunday at
Portland. 1. Video Review denies Dynamo penalty kick.
The Dynamo appeared to have a chance to go ahead in the 31st
minute when Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala
brought down Houston forward Alberth Elis
. Referee Robert Sibiga
signaled for a penalty kick but called it off after Video Review.
Replays showed it was a close call -- the 6-foot-2 Mabiala got the ball but also nicked the Dynamo's Honduran speedster. It was the first use of Video Review in the 2017 MLS playoffs. It had
been introduced in the league in August. 2. Choppy field creates problems for both teams.
Neither team could a sustained attack on the choppy BBVA Compass Stadium field. The condition of the field has been a problem, and it has been made worse as Southern University, which shares the
stadium with the Dynamo, plays college football in the fall.
"I’m not here to jam Houston and their field," Portland coach Caleb Porter
. "I know they have challenges with
regards to football playing on it, but it’s not great in a showcase game like this with two attacking teams to have to play on. It’s just really difficult and unfortunate, but it is what
it is." 3. Chara out with fracture of the fifth metatarsal.
The Timbers went into the game without two of their
key midfielders, Argentine Sebastian Blanco
(a late scratch after suffering second-degree burns on top of right foot from boiling water) and Costa Rican David Guzman
By the start of the second half, they had lost Mabiala and Diego Chara
with injuries. Darlington Nagbe
then went off in the 60th minute. The most serious injury was Chara's
fracture of the fifth metatarsal.
"We’re where we’re at in the playoffs," said Porter, "because of our depth dealing with a crazy amount of injuries. We’ve got guys like
coming in to the game and Lawrence Olum
and Amobi Okugo
coming into the game and Dairon Asprilla
and Jeremy Ebobisse
. So that’s what this team is
about. This team is not about 11 players. It’s about 20 guys that want to win and want to do something special.” Oct. 30 in
Houston 0 Portland 0
. Houston --
Deric; Anibaba, Machado, Senderos, Beasley; Cabezas, Alexander, Martinez (Sanchez 60); Elis, Manotas (Torres 76),
Quioto (Alex 70). Portland --
Attinella; Powell, Mabiala (Miller 45+1), Ridgewell, Vytas Andriuskevicius; Olum, Chara (Okugo 46); Asprilla, Valeri, Nagbe (Ebobisse 60); Mattocks.