PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Timbers had plenty of opportunities to score on Thursday night. They just had a tough time taking advantage of the chances.
Jeremy Ebobisse scored on a header in the 83rd minute soon after subbing in to give the Timbers a 1-1 tie with Orlando City on a night both teams were tested for defensive depth.
“We’re on the front foot for most of that 90 minutes,” Ebobisse said. “Unfortunately, one moment on the defensive side gave them a little bit more belief than we need a lot of teams to have when they’re playing us at home.”
Jorge Moreira crossed from the right wing to Brian Fernandez, who lowered to flick a header behind him to the open Ebobisse for the lone goal for the Timbers, who outshot Orlando (7-9-6) 26-2.
“Having two forwards in the box in Brian and I gave their center backs a lot more issues,” Ebobisse, who entered in the 61st minute, said. “That’s how it manifested itself with the goal.”
The Timbers (7-8-5) are unbeaten in their last four regular season games.
Santiago Patino scored for Orlando off of a deflection in the box from Moreira in the 44th minute. Moreira intended to clear a cross out of the box, but it went right to Patino’s feet in the middle of the box.
It was Patino’s second goal and third start of the season.
The Timbers played short-handed in the back. Marco Farfan was injured in a 2-2 draw with Colorado on Saturday, a game in which center back Julio Cascante was given a one-game suspension for a red card. Outside back Jorge Villafana also is working his way back from injury.
Orlando City goalkeeper Brian Rowe finished with three saves. In a crowded box, Blanco got off a left-footed shot on the ground in the 17th minute, but missed wide right. In the 37th minute, Blanco headed Diego Valeri’s cross from the left wing, and though it got past Rowe’s outstretched arms, it hit the crossbar and bounced close enough for Rowe to corral. Rowe blocked another shot in the 43rd, a near-post low line drive by Fernandez.
Orlando City coach James O’Connor credited his back line — which played without center back Alex De John, who left the game after being kicked in the face in the 12th minute — for forcing Portland into shots from longer distances.
“I thought we defended really well,” O’Connor said. “I thought there was a togetherness to the team. Look, they’re a very good team, the Timbers, and put us in a lot of pressure, but I thought by-in-large, we coped pretty well and defended excellently.”
Less than 10 of Portland’s 26 shots came inside the box.
“As a team we agreed our decision-making in the final third wasn’t as clinical as we would have liked, maybe rushing a few decisions and not picking the right pass at the right moment,” Ebobisse said.
Orlando City is tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference; Portland currently sits in ninth place in the west.