The Portland Timbers draw even against the Minnesota United FC in a wild 4-4 matinee matchup. Both teams entered the match with streaks potentially coming to a close. Minnesota had earned points in each of their last seven games. Portland was in a very similar boat, as they had earned points in their last eight consecutive games.
It was an action-packed day at Allianz Field in Minnesota. The Timbers came out swinging, taking the opening kickoff and scoring just 13 seconds into the match. Sebastián Blanco, Santiago Moreno, and Jaroslaw Niezgoda would all combine passes to then set up Blanco in close quarters to put Portland up 1-0.
Minnesota would respond quickly. At 8:04, Minnesota would tie the game off corner kick with two deflections. The corner kick would skip off the head of Luis Amarilla at the near post, only to find the head of Franco Fragapane at the far post.
Minnesota would keep their momentum going. At the 21st minute, Fragapane had a chance at a brace. Fragapane redirected a pass that was slightly behind him with his right heel, and got the ball to ricochet off the far post. Luckily for him, Bongokuhle Hlongwane would pounce on the rebound and drive home Minnesota’s second goal of the game.
Amarilla and Fragapane were taking over the show in the first half. Thanks to a turnover in the 41st minute, Fragapane would find Amarilla with space to make a run. Then, off a beautiful left to right move inside the box, Amarilla would strike the ball into the back of the net to extend Minnesota’s lead.
The pressure was on Portland to make plays in the second half, and make plays they did. In the 50th minute, Moreno would corral a deep pass inside the box from Yimmi Chara. Moreno would then use his left foot to kick out a pass to Blanco at the top of the box. Blanco’s bouncer would just beat the outstretched arms of Minnesota goaltender Dayne St. Clair, and the Timbers would cut the deficit to one.
The next goal came at the 53rd minute. A free kick for Portland gave Niezgoda a chance at a header. His redirect was enough to send the ball just inside the far post, and tie the game at 3-3. Niezgoda’s header marks his 9th goal of the season.
In the 65th minute, Portland would also receive a blessing. Blanco would find himself with space to work with on the outside of the box thanks to a clearing attempt by Minnesota. Blanco would then drive to the net, and his chance would be deflected off the shin of Minnesota defensemen Kemar Lawrence. The deflection would throw off St. Clair at the near post, and the ball would bounce in to give the Timbers the lead.
Minnesota, however, was not to be outdone. In the 69th minute, a deep pass from outside the box would find Hlongwane on a header attempt. His header would find Amarilla at the opposite post, who would be able to tie the game with his seventh goal of the season.
Neither team could break the tie in the next nearly 30 minutes of action, and both teams would walk away adding one point in their standings.
The Timbers next match is August 3rd against Nashville SC.