Houston 1, Portland 1

5 kicks from Houston Dynamo's 1-1 draw with Timbers FC

Courtesy Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo were held to a 1-1 draw by the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mauro Manotas opened the scoring for Houston in the 40th minute. Portland tied it in the 77th thanks to Liga MX's second top scorer for the Clausura 2019 season, Brian Fernandez, in his MLS debut.

Here are five observations from the win:

1) A missed opportunity

The Dynamo will lament dropping two points at home to a club that has never left Houston with a win. Add on top of that the detail that Portland has played its entire schedule, up to this point, on the road.

The Timbers should've been ripe for the pickings against a Dynamo that has been strong at home and had won every league match except one coming into this game. That non-win was a draw in the home opener against Real Salt Lake, nothing to get too worked up about as both teams were in early season form.

This draw will sting, however, because the Dynamo took the lead and had an opportunity to jump up to second place in the Western Conference standings. Clubs like D.C. United and Sporting KC, with an away game to Minnesota United sandwiched in between, are what's next on the schedule and Portland's performance will give away teams confidence to leave BBVA Compass Stadium with a positive result.

2) Beasley returns as part of lineup rotation

Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera made three changes from the starting XI at Seattle on Sunday. The lineup rotation is due to the team's schedule of three matches in a week.

The most notable of the changes was the return of DaMarcus Beasley at left back. The U.S. Men's National Team Legend and team captain had yet to play in league matches and was sidelined during the team's Concacaf Champions League elimination at Tigres UANL in March.

Aljaz "Kiki" Struna, one of the team's biggest offseason acquisitions, also returned to the starting XI being left out of the team that traveled to Seattle. Boniek Garcia also returned as a starter after featuring as a sub in the 1-0 away loss over the weekend.

3) Manotas the Timberslayer

Mauro Manotas now has seven regular season goals against Timbers FC, his highest against an MLS club. He's also enjoyed his only MLS hat-trick as well as an important playoff performance against Portland.

More to the context of this season, Manotas picked up his fifth goal to ascend as the team's top scorer. The Colombian continues his way towards another high scoring season as he complements the playmaking of Alberth Elis.

He scored with his chest which only further emphasizes his knack to find the back of the net no matter the fashion. He will be needed again on Sunday as D.C. United visit with one of the world's famed goalscorers in Wayne Rooney.

4) Dependence on Elis

As much as Manotas deserves praise for his goals with the Dynamo, it is Alberth Elis who has been the team's most valuable player. Elis has banked four goals and five assists.

Manotas himself has five goals and four assists but Elis would be missed more on the field if the team were to lose one of the two. Elis has been a player teams absolutely have to account for and, when he is contained - as we've seen in the two Dynamo losses this year and the draw on Wednesday, the team struggles to yield wins.

Nobody should be surprised that Elis has been the focal point of opposing defenses, it was expected. What is surprising is that the Dynamo have yet to respond to that strategy and punish teams for being asked to win without him - not to mention prepare in case of the Honduran's departure in the summer transfer window.

5) Big Joe with big saves

During Cabrera's tenure as the Manager of the Dynamo, the goalkeeper spot has always been up for debate and rotations at that position are not rare. Not this season.

Joe Willis has absolutely taken command of the spot both in league action and earlier in the team's Concacaf Champions League run. There is no question between his level of play and his backups.

The Dynamo would've dropped all three points at home without Willis on Wednesday. For that reason, he is the man of the match and an unspoken hero on the team sheet.

Dynamo player of the game: Joe Willis

Next up:

Saturday, April 18 vs D.C. United (7:30 p.m. CT, KUBE57) [ESPN+ for U.S. non-Houston markets]

FC Bayern Munich picked up a 3-1 win over Real Madrid in front of 60,314 at NRG Stadium. Credit: Deporte Total USA

There were plenty of great goals scored over the weekend and plenty of sellouts too as European club friendlies continue. In MLS, the playoff race begins to take shape with urgency setting in on recent results.

African Cup of Nations

Senegal v Algeria Highlights - Total AFCON 2019 - FINAL www.youtube.com

The final international cup of the summer concluded as Algeria defeated Senegal 1-0 to crown themselves the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Champions. Nigeria defeated Tunisia by the same margin earlier in the week to take 3rd place.

International Champions Cup

Full Match | FC Bayern vs. Real Madrid 3-1 | International Champions Cup 2019 www.youtube.com

Houston was in worldwide spotlight as two European giants faced off in front of 60,314 attendees at NRG Stadium on Saturday night. FC Bayern Munich fans left with the bragging rights as their team picked up a 3-1 victory of Real Madrid. Madrid fans did leave with joy after seeing the debut of the club's major summer signing Eden Hazard.

Major League Soccer

LA Galaxy vs. Los Angeles Football Club | HIGHLIGHTS - July 19, 2019 www.youtube.com

Zlatan Ibrahimovic took the spotlight and the glory this week in Major League Soccer with a hat-trick performance in LA Galaxy's 3-2 win over rivals, and league leaders, LAFC. Brian Fernandez, arguably the best signing of the year, also showcased himself with two goals in the 2-1 Portland Timbers win over rivals Seattle.

Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo | HIGHLIGHTS - July 20, 2019 www.youtube.com

The Houston Dynamo had a roller coaster week after losing 0-5 at Atlanta United on Wednesday before picking up a rare road win with a 3-1 result at Toronto FC. Forward Mauro Manotas was a topic of conversation after taking on five TFC defenders in the win.

Off the field, the Dynamo made noise with the announcement of James Harden as a 5% owner of the Dynamo, Dash organization. The Rockets star is an active soccer fan and was part of adidas uniform unveiling of Premier League side Arsenal just last week.

James Harden now an owner of Houston Dynamo and Dash www.youtube.com

East top seven: 1. Philadelphia (39), 2. Atlanta (36), 3. D.C. United (35), 4. NY Red Bulls (34), 5. NYCFC (32), 6. Montreal (30), 7. New England (30)

West top seven: 1. LAFC (46), 2. LA Galaxy (37), 3. Seattle (35), 4. Minnesota (34), 5. San Jose (34), 6. Dallas (32), 7. Real Salt Lake (30)

Scoring leader: 21 - Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Assists leader: 13 - Maxi Moralez (NYCFC)

Liga MX

Goles Jornada 1 | Liga BBVA MX www.youtube.com

The Apertura 2019 season kicked off in Mexico over the weekend with some of the usual suspects going straight to the top of the standings in week 1.

Top eight: 1. Santos Laguna (3), 2. Tigres UANL (3), 3. Club America (3), 4. Leon (3), 5. Tijuana (3), 6. Pumas UNAM (3), 7. Queretaro (3), 8. Atlas (3)

Scoring leader: 2 - Javier Aquino (Tigres UANL), Nicolas Castillo (Club America)

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National Women's Soccer League

The post FIFA Women's World Cup tour begins in the NWSL as many of the U.S. women return to their clubs. The Houston Dash picked up their first win since May with a road win at Washington.

Houston Dash 2-1 Washington Spirit | Highlights www.youtube.com

Standings: 1. Portland Thorns (23), 2. North Carolina Courage (22), 3. Chicago Red Stars (20), 4. Reign FC (20), 5. Washington Spirit (18), 6. Utah Royals (18), 7. Houston Dash (16), 8. Orlando Pride (11), 9. Sky Blue FC (8)

Scoring leader: 10 - Sam Kerr (Chicago)

Assists leader: 4 - 5 players tied

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, July 23

4:00 a.m. - [Friendly] - FC Barcelona vs. Chelsea (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)

5:15 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] River Plate vs. Cruzeiro (beIN SPORTS)

6:00 p.m. - [International Champions Cup] Real Madrid vs. Arsenal (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)

7:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Penarol vs. Fluminense (beIN SPORTS Connect)

7:30 p.m. - [Leagues Cup] Chicago Fire vs. Cruz Azul (ESPN+)

8:00 p.m. - [International Champions Cup] Chivas vs. Atletico Madrid (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)

8:00 p.m. - [International Champions Cup] FC Bayern Munich vs. AC Milan (ESPN+)

10:00 p.m. - [Leagues Cup] LA Galaxy vs. Tijuana (ESPN, TUDN)

Wednesday, July 24

6:30 a.m. - [International Champions Cup] - Juventus vs. Inter Milan (ESPN+)

7:00 p.m. - [International Champions Cup] - Fiorentina vs. Benfica (ESPN+)

7:00 p.m. - [Friendly] Liverpool vs. Sporting CP (TNT)

7:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Atletico PR vs. Boca Juniors (beIN SPORTS en Español)

7:30 p.m. - [Leagues Cup] Houston Dynamo vs. Club America (ESPN+, TUDN)

9:30 p.m. - [Leagues Cup] Real Salt Lake vs. Tigres UANL (ESPN+, TUDN)

Thursday, July 25

6:30 a.m. - [International Champions Cup] - Manchester United vs. Tottenham (ESPN+)

7:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Gremio vs. Libertad (beIN SPORTS)

Friday, July 26

6:30 p.m. - [MLS] NYCFC vs. Sporting KC (ESPN+)

7:30 p.m. - [International Champions Cup] Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)

9:00 p.m. - [MLS] LAFC vs. Atlanta United (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)

Saturday, July 27

7:00 p.m. - [MLS] Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders FC (KUBE57)

9:30 p.m. - [MLS] Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy (FS1)

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