|Fanendo Adi gets his final log slice as a Portland Timber.|
Emotions on the club have been heightened after an emotionally draining 2 match series with LAFC down in Southern California 2 weeks ago followed by a home draw with the Montreal Impact, but things compounded three days ago when Adi, who has been supplanted in the starting lineup by the emergence of Armenteros, asked to be traded from the Timbers. Adi had made a similar request years ago, but Portland indicated that Adi was under contract and wasn't going to move, but this time, the Timbers issued a statement to indicate they were exploring options for Adi. With Armenteros scoring goals in rapid succession, Adi's playing time had been limited to a start versus Sporting Kansas City on June 9 and substitute appearances against Los Angeles on June 2 and San Jose on July 7 at home. With Fanendo being a designated player with a large contract and the summer transfer window open, Portland had a chance to upgrade their roster while also finding a solid landing spot for Adi, who has been with the Timbers since joining them midseason in 2014 on loan, and he impressed them enough at the time that they purchased his contract as the team's primary scorer. Adi has been one of the most accomplished scorers in his tenure with Portland, but with the emergence of Armenteros and potential of Ebobisse and Langsdorf, the Timbers have been looking at short term and long term options for their club. The team acquired Cristhian Paredes and Andy Polo as building blocks for the now and future, and most recently, midfielder Tomas Conechny was added to the roster, showing the Timbers' resolve to constantly trying to improve their roster.
|With Armenteros out due to injury, it was Dairon Asprilla up top at forward.|
Houston, meanwhile, was dealing with their own lineup issues after their own schedule compression. The Dynamo had played one of the legs of the Texas Derby in hosting FC Dallas on July 21, and followed it up with hosting the Philadelphia Union midweek at home. The Union pulled off a huge upset by a 3 to 1 tally as they have started to find their way, but in the process during the match, the Dynamo lost 2 players for the Timbers match due to accumulation penalties, midfielder Darwin Ceren and defender Alejandro Fuenmayor, due to cautions. They nearly lost another midfielder, Tomas Martinez who was another key offseason acquisition, due to a red card in the 59th minute in the Union match for a hard foul, but Houston appealed the ruling and the red card was rescinded by the MLS disciplinary committee. The Timbers got another break when Dynamo Coach Wilmer Cabrera held the team's leading scorer, Mauro Manotas, out of the match to keep him fit, but with Martinez now available, Houston was still very dangerous with Alberth Elis, Romell Quioto, and Andrew Wenger all in the lineup. While Ceren wasn't available, Cabrera still had Oscar Boniek Garcia and former MLS Timber Eric Alexander patrolling the middle. Houston has traditionally been very good at home playing in familiar conditions, but they've been consistently inconsistent playing away from home in their history.
|Alvas Powell & DaMarcus Beasley battled all night, but Powell held up well.|
Houston was playing a very physical style of play, and Center Official Nima Saghafi was very busy in calling fouls with 20 infractions total between the two teams, charging 13 fouls to the visitors. Saghafi also issued 5 cautions in the first 45, giving Powell and Blanco cards for fouls while Asprilla earned a card for dissent. Houston was only cautioned twice for infractions on defender Jared Watts for a foul and Elis for dissent, but the whistles and constant fouls were playing havoc on the match tempo. Savarese didn't make any adjustments to his team at the break, especially considering Portland had the more consistent chances on frame, but with Houston still hanging about on the scoreboard, it was important for the Timbers to come out firing in the second half to earn a goal. To his credit, Cabrera didn't have much firepower off the bench scoring wise, but the Dynamo appeared to be satisfied with drawing the points at the break. Houston tried to sneak in a goal as the second half started when Elis received the kickoff, slipped by the defense and challenged Attinella with a low angle shot that the Timbers keepers pushed away from the goal.
|Sebastian Blanco tallied his 6th goal of 2018 off an Alvas Powell cross.|
Diego bumped the ball to the middle where Polo tried to take a shot, but it was scuffed into the middle where Adi was standing without a mark, and he quickly chipped it past Willis to tally his 54th career goal in MLS play, and his 3rd goal for 2018. The celebration went over to the corner near the Timbers Army, and every Timbers player went to Adi to help him celebrate the goal. It was revealed after the match that the Timbers' players knew a trade involving Adi was imminent, and so everyone, including Savarese, were indicating that Adi would score in his final Providence Park appearance as a Timber. While Polo just missed a few minutes later on a shot, the time finally wound down and the Timbers could embrace the victory. The result extended their unbeaten streak to 14 matches, but that accomplishment paled in comparison to giving Adi a proper sendoff. Fanendo received his final log slab after the kickoff, and then he proceeded to head to the capo stand to celebrate and hug several Timbers fans after the result. It was a touching and emotional farewell for a player who was a key component of the 2015 MLS Cup side, and has been one of the more accomplished scorers in MLS over the past few years. It was days later when the team finally revealed Adi's destination, as Fanendo was traded to FC Cincinnati, who is joining MLS in 2019, for general allocation money, and targeted allocation money for 2018 and 2019. Portland will also receive a share of funds should Adi be traded outside MLS before the end of the 2020 season, while the move frees up a roster spot and Designated Player slot. Rumors persist that if Portland wants to keep Armenteros, they will likely need to use the designated player rule to do it, so this move opens up that possibility.
|The midfield was much more composed with this guy about.|