The Portland Timbers got a pair of road goals but conceded two equalizers, settling for a 2-2 draw in Leg 1 of their Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 series with Honduran side CD Marathon on Tuesday.
Felipe Mora struck for the opener, with an own goal caused by a Diego Valeri free kick accounting for Portland's second and final goal of the match. But levelers from CD Marathon's Brayan Castillo and Marlon Ramirez ensured the sides will enter the second leg of the series at Providence Park in Portland on April 13 in a 2-2 deadlock.
The Timbers were on the front foot early, generating a flurry of chances in the opening half hour. Valeri had one golden early opportunity off a cross from Yimmi Chara that he nearly volleyed past Marathon goalkeeper Denovan Torres from a tough angle, but the shot went off the near post. Eryk Williamson also came within inches of opening the scoring with a highlight-reel finish, setting himself up for a close-range shot from inside the six-yard box that forced Torres into a diving save in the 27th minute.
Mora finally found the breakthrough in the 35th minute, cashing home a left-footed strike that deflected off the arm of a diving Torres and into the net, giving the Timbers a deserved 1-0 advantage. But Portland would relinquish the lead just four minutes later, as Marathon's Edwin Solano freed himself up down the left flank and found Brayan Castillo for an easy point-blank finish right in front of goal.
Valeri then found a moment of magic just shy of the hour-mark to restore the Timbers' lead. Portland's longtime star attacker forced an own goal with a laser free kick from distance that deflected off the crossbar and banked off the back of a diving Torres before settling into the net.
Marathon would strike back for another equalizer, however, as Kervin Arriaga got loose on a counterattack and set up Marlon Ramirez for a finish he slotted past Steve Clark, leveling the series ahead of Leg 2.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Portland controlled the majority of the match and generated some great chances at more goals, so Gio Savarese and Co. will be frustrated to twice relinquish the lead after putting themselves in the driver's seat. That said, the Timbers will head back to Leg 2 in Portland with a couple of all-important road goals and the friendly confines of Providence Park awaiting. Take care of business in that second leg and the unfortunate concessions in this one will be rendered a moot point.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It was ruled an own goal due to the deflection, but Valeri's second-half free kick was a vintage strike from the Argentine maestro. Heading into his age-34 season, he certainly doesn't look to be slowing down yet.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Portland could very well be trailing if not for the heroics of Steve Clark, who made two crucial reaction saves that preserved the deadlock.
- POR: Tuesday, April 13 vs. C.D. Marathón | 8 pm ET, FS1 | Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 Leg 2